Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Reserve Judgement

How many times have I said or heard that phrase? How often do we toss phrases around with cavalier abandonment, yet never understand how that same phrase could be deeply meaningful to another?

Reserve Judgement. Words that have lost their cavalier meaning for me. As now I wait to hear someone else weigh in on my family. My children. 

Despite knowing that I did a good job, today I was tormented by all the things I missed. The phrasing I should have/could have/may have used instead. The "why didn't I's" are followed by "what if I's" who are being best friends with the "damn it, I really should have's"

Reserve Judgement. Does this mean that I didn't do as well as I thought? Did I in some way fatally err? Or was I so very good that the Judge was impressed so profoundly that he felt it most fair to not publicly demolish the other side in front of me? Especially since I was wearing great shoes and had effectively used my label maker to create such amazing documentation and research journals? I like to think this, as it makes me giggle. And after 7 months of soul searching, researching, writing, editing, rewriting, and freaking out, frankly I deserve a giggle!

The truth is that I spoke from my heart. I missed details, I left out pieces that would have dramatically painted the other side's character poorly. But I told the truth. We are two parents who should not have been in court. We are two parents who deeply love our children and that is the singular reason we were there, before a mere man who is now charged with attempting to find the balance that we, as parents, could not. A man who is forced to dig deeper, look deeper, into the motivations of each of us and rule. 

Rule for. Rule against. Play King Solomon. He doesn't know either of us. He didn't stay up nights rocking them as babies. Or holding them when broken or scraped. He hasn't had moments of hair pulling frustration as they've tested HIS limits and patience. He hasn't felt the bone deep love of holding any of these four children in his arms. 

I don't know if he has children. I don't know if he is married. But I do know that I do not envy him. Being charged with deciding what is best for a family who's life has been reduced to a few pages of paper and a half hour of standing in his court room trying to persuade him of what is best for them. For us. 

Reserve Judgement. Words that speak of a wisdom that I both envy and fear. Yet in a simple phrase he removed so much fear when he looked at me, and said "go wish your son Happy Birthday." 

There is no win or lose in the emotional forum of Family Court. But there appears to be good people who have terribly difficult jobs. For that they have my respect. 

Until then I hold my babies close and reassure them, and myself, that things are going to get easier.

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