I've always hated family court days.
The emotional weight over my own children's cases that those days hold are heavy for me, but it's also the atmosphere, the penetrating functionality of lives that hang in the balance, cluttered by consequences, paperwork, and waiting, sprinkled with the influence of social workers, lawyers, and judges - everyone attempting to do their jobs well.
Almost exactly a year ago was my first day in family court. We were scheduled to send Baby M home, but waiting turned into four hours. Parents walking in and out, and children rolling in the floor, whining because they've been still for so long for something they don't understand. And, then I heard it. From one of the meeting rooms, a woman wailed. As I watched through the window, her lawyer slipped through the door as she pulled herself to the fetal position in her chair, and she bellowed the groan of grief.
Since that moment, I've dreaded family court days.
My children look forward to them. It's an extra visit with Momma or Daddy, Ipad time on the benches, and fun snacks from Momma Catie. They know everyone is tense, but it really doesn't seem to phase them, because their definition of heaven is simply being with Mommy or Daddy, no matter what the circumstances.
We are emotionally charged. There's the day they gave Jamie and I are own room because we were heartily discussing our children's future, and thoroughly disagreeing.
We're passionate people.
Baby J's family court day was last Thursday. I woke early, hit my knees, and asked God to give me His eyes as I walked into court. I asked that He would set my steps and hope secure, my conversations purposeful.
Then, I packed a bag full of bubbles, playdough, coloring books, and toys and headed to court.
I missed seeing the judge. I missed seeing the lawyer. I missed seeing my boy's Daddy until the end.
Instead, I talked with Grandmom for an hour. I shared pictures and stories of her grandchild. I told her of my sin, my sorrow, the Hope that does not disappoint us.
Then together, we went to the waiting children, the ones who don't understand as they sit for hours waiting. That day, they said Momma was with the big people, or Daddy was in trouble, or they were waiting to see Mommy for just a minute.
Grandmom and I gave away the playdough, and the bubbles, and the colors, and we played, and we told them they were special.
This morning Grandmom called. She cried, as she talked of how she hasn't been able to get our day at family court out of her mind.
She told of how for the first time she's been wondering, if she was made for more than just surviving.
I used to hate family court days. I'll probably always dread them. But perspective changes everything, because I, you, they - we were all made for more. We were made for Jesus.