Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Peace and Order in the Court

I don't think conserving your child (or 18 year old, as it were) is a milestone anyone spends time anticipating.  Little girls playing house don't set up mock courthouses with pretend swinging bars to pass through.  Or rehearse stating their name as petitioner for their babydolls.  New brides don't fantasize about raising towhead kids and then limiting their rights when they reach the age of majority.

Nonetheless, love protects.  And that is what we did today--by both definitions: 1. Protect from harm or destruction 2. Prevent wasteful or harmful overuse of in our case, a person, our precious red head.  I took comfort in knowing that even if I never expected it, God had so ordered this day before Reid or I were even conceived in our mother's wombs. If the Lord willed it then I could submit to it as His good and loving plan.  

Not unlike organizing everyone for a family photo shoot, there were nerves, a few hasty words in the last minute rush, scrambling for quarters to plug the meter, and a quick text to a friend for prayer coverage. Reid's court appointed attorney had prepped me for an expensive downtown parking lot, airport security, stern bailiffs, and all the drudgery of the DMV.  I think we were her first case of this kind.  Turns out it was quite pleasant. 

the scripture bangle took on new meaning
We found curbside parking right in front of the building. I did set off the metal detector but, one glance at my silver bangles and the friendly guard waved us through.  

"Do we take this elevator sir?" Reid was en pointe reaching his personal pinnacle of politeness. A helpful woman who seemed to know her way around surmised our objective and likely heard my pep talk on the street.  Sharing the elevator, she clarified any confusion, "you want the 5th floor, Judge Koleti's court is the one on the left."  Perfect.  

The doors opened and there was a familiar face, Leanne our Regional Center case worker. "Hi Reid.  Are you ready?"  This woman is a crackerjack. She gives comfort to many families at many points in time. She knows the ropes. I instructed Reid, "Follow Leanne...she's done this before." I was close on his heels, and hers.

We entered a hushed courtroom that looked like a stage set for a television show.  Pristine carpet, new furnishings, everyone in position.  Reid scurried into the back row and read aloud a sign posted in several places, "No talking when court is in session.' Those are the rules, Mom."  Right.  Shhhh.  "Take pictures," I quipped to Jim.

Our fortuitous timing meant as soon as we caught our collective breath, the bailiff was announcing the entrance of the judge. "Everyone be seated, please." It was quite dramatic. "Mom, what do I say...I want mom and dad to...what is it again?" Reid whispered to me. The pressure was on to remember his lines.  "Don't worry bud, just answer her questions," I was relaxed now.  "Watch how they do it," I suggested as a Hispanic couple stepped forward pushing their daughter in a wheelchair.  

Pretty straightforward. The kind judge, silent stenographer and hidden clerk were certainly human.  Reid stood up wanting to switch seats with me and be next to Leanne.  No biggie, but the bailiff noticed the movement.  And smiled;)  Ought oh. He came through the gate approaching us.  "What number are you?" Leanne must've held up 3 fingers. "We'll take you next," he said cooly. Score! Now we're #2!!

Into the swinging bar we slipped.  Reid and I took the two cushy swivel chairs. He sat criss cross applesauce in his but didn't spin it. Jim squatted behind us. Reid positioned his mouth right near the state of the art, desktop microphone poised to answer appropriately...then waited.

Eventually the judge who must surely be a mom, addressed him. "Reid, we are proposing that mom and dad continue to take care of you and be the ones to handle your money and talk to the school and the doctor."  His head nodded along.  "Is that okay with you?" 

He delivered his line clearly, on cue and right into the mic. "Yes, that is okay with me." Everyone grinned. I don't think he tries to be cute.  He can't help it.  We beamed with pride. And the blessing of more time to learn from his childlikeness.

We processed out through the bar that Reid held open for us just as the bailiff had on the way in. At ease once in the hallway, amidst the accolades of good job and attaboy out popped, "Reid, I thought you were gonna sing her 'Shine!" Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

...for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”  James 4:14-15

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:6-8


  1. Very touching story. Will be facing this with my son soon enough and appreciate knowing what to expect.