This last Monday was my second trip to court for our beloved dog. It was eye opening. Actually, I'd say terrifying. At least this time someone was watching the girls. For anyone who has not had the pleasure of gracing a courtroom, all of the offenders had to sit and wait for the judge to show up. Then the clerk read lists of names (you'd go up in groups), she'd read all of the charges against you, then the judge would tell you the sentence and/or fine. Nothing was private - financial status, numbers of previous offenses, and so on - it was quite a change from health care where your own family can't know a thing without you signing a stack of paper.
The judge was merciless. I understand you have to be firm and stern (you could see how much crap went on), but he was more like condescending and ruthless. He mocked people, kicked people out, and seemed to enjoy making everyone there feel like idiots. He remembered me enough to point out that things were obviously a lot calmer for me without my kids and still increased the fine from what the prosecutor had asked for. At least it wasn't the thousand he'd originally threatened.
I left there feeling sad for society. Homeless, jobless, kids there for drug and alcohol charges with no parents in the room, young parents there for shoplifting, domestic abuse cases, all kinds of drug charges, and I left before they were even half-way done. Granted, I wasn't looking at a murder trial, but the reality of what I was seeing really hit me. No one aspires to be homeless, go to jail, or be an addict. And growing up with the doctrine of Christ being taught, justice was always taught with the principle of mercy. There is no mercy in the courtroom. How can there be? I know you feel bad about breaking the law, let's work on your change of heart, we'll help you get a better job, get you some counseling, you can apologize, work back the damage, and things will be OK. That will not work in this earthly life. There has to be justice. I just had my eyes open to how final it is.
How do you get a job after you've gone to jail? Who hires you? How do you get into a college to get a better job? Who pays your bills while you're in the slammer and have no income? These people we send away for punishment more often come out much worse off than they were before. I don't know that I have answers, but it was frightening to contemplate all of this as I watched this judge make everyone tremble.
I was glad to be done with the whole affair. I hope to never be back there again. So to any of you potential law breakers out there - DON'T DO IT! It's not worth it. And be careful if you live somewhere that even minor violations - a dog off a leash - sends you to court.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Where to begin? Hopefully the computer won't slow me down or we will get no where very fast. I will try to play catch up really quick. Just after our trip to DC, Jeremy and I went to Las Vegas as my mom was out with our girls. Jeremy had an anesthesia conference and I spent some quality time in the mountains. I found some beautiful views and even several waterfalls. Who knew Las Vegas had such amazing wilderness nearby? The trip was quick, Jeremy's parents met us there and we spent some time with them, and we enjoyed spending time together. It was so nice to reconnect with the wilderness. But we did learn to never rent a car from a rental company you've never heard of. It was a sketchy deal and I think our car used to be a gangster car. Las Vegas itself was something different for me. It was a good reminder that Jeremy and I aren't much for the big city life, but especially there. We felt pretty dirty just from walking around the streets. Maybe we'll find a conference in Hawaii one of these years.
I don't know if I can tell you much of what happened between then and this last week, but we have had an adventure this last week. It was Pele's court hearing this last Monday. I should have remembered enough to find a babysitter for the girls, but I did not remember until I was in the shower that morning. Not knowing how to find a sitter at 6:30 in the morning for 7:50, I just decided to take them with me. I just needed to plead guilty and pay the fine, right? Oh, not so. Court is a scary place, apparently. We had to go through metal detectors, they turned away anyone with shorts, then we all (every person in trouble with the law), had to sit in the court room. Me with all three girls. The judge was not there, but they played a video recording of him saying something for 20 minutes or so that I could not hear because I was wrestling the girls. It was nuts, and to make a long story short, an hour and a half after we were there the judge finally came in. After we stood up for him and then sat down the girls, who had done so well until then, began to cry. All three of them. So the judge asked me to come up in front of everyone and for about 10 minutes proceeded to tell me I was disrespectful, couldn't think, couldn't hear him with the kids crying, and that I was more or less stupid for taking the kids, he was going to fine me $1000 for the violation, and I needed to get out of his courtroom. I've never felt humiliated before. But I did then. I couldn't stop crying almost the entire day. Thing after thing I tried to do that day just kept falling apart and I felt so overwhelmed and incompetent.
I talked to the police station a couple of days later and found out I had to talk to the prosecutor. I left him a message and he called me back. All city violations (the dog off the leash) have to be settled through the court. But he was there and saw everything that happened, felt pretty sympathetic since he had kids as well, and was only going to press for $50. Such a relief from the $1000. It still has me a little shaken when I remember him just berating me with no mercy as Kate was climbing on the chair in front of me and the twins were crying on each hip.
It started off the week a little rough. Jeremy asked me later this week if I find joy in being a mother. My answer was in moments. This is full of heartbreaks and joys all in moments.
Saturday was a day of beautiful moments. It rained all day so we just spent time doing almost nothing as a family, but I loved it. All three of them were so sweet. I love that Katie loves to give us both loves, gives the girls loves, and even gives Pele loves. During one of the major thunderstorms Katie knew that Pele would be scared so she would sit next to her, give her loves and told her, "It's OK, I'm here, you're alright." The twins are so much trouble right now because they climb up ANYTHING, but their smiles just melt your heart. They love to dance, clap their hands, and run. When we're not all in tears, we are all laughing and playing. Especially when it's hot enough to get in the pool.
This was from the neighbors. They drew on our driveway a couple of months ago and I finally got the picture up.
This was the huge fountain we dug up to make our garden a little bigger. Other than my cell phone having a watery death, this was a successful venture.
You're looking at Katie, Cora, and Sydney. They can play in this pool for hours and it's a lifesaver when it's so hot and muggy.
There's Cora in the front, then Sydney, and Katie.
Different day, I switched their suites, so this is Sydney.
When all is said and done, I am still learning a lot. I think I also have a lot more to learn. It has astounded me how little the world thinks of parents at times. Particularly mothers who stay home with their children. I don't think life is easy for anyone, challenges continue to come from every direction no matter who you are or what you're doing. But I'm grateful for the teachings of the Atonement, the faith and hope it gives me that all things work for our good if we let them. I always have more to say, but by the time I write it down I either can't remember or I need to go to bed. So here's to the end of the post, but what I wanted to get out was that this life is made of many moments, great and small, painful and joyful, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to go through it.