I was quite frazzled and made things worse when I answered the phone before I had showered. It was their other aunt she sucked me into an interesting conversation that caused me to lose track of time. I was late. I hate being late. So now I am late and nervous about court. This is not a good combination.
I managed to get the kids to their former foster mother's home and have a couple of minutes to give her my schedule. The kids informed her I tried to kill them on the way there by going 90 miles an hour and weaving between cars. She laughed and said, "Like old times here, huh?" She is great. We went over the rules for the kids and I gave her permission to beat them if they misbehaved. The kids thought that was really funny. I left her to be tortured by 11 kids, she is the idiot that invited all her nieces to see the kids, not me.
I get to the courthouse and had to park at the end of the parking lot. It made me long for Ella so I could park upfront and save the long dark parking garage walk. I managed. I walked in the front door to be immediately forced through a metal detector. Of course, I beeped. Once I assured them I was free of firearms, I went to the D.A.'s office. They let me in and I waited for them to make copies of the children's letters to the Judge. As I was sitting there I began to riffle through the pocketbook I brought just in case I needed to puke. I never carry one and had grabbed one that Frankee left behind. I had dumped it out and threw in a few things to look like I knew what I was doing. As I am sitting within spitting distance of half the county's deputies and the D.A. I noticed small green flakes of what I instantly hoped was oregano. I slammed it shut. I was beginning to sweat. They finished up and I went into the courtroom, placing the bag a chair away, just in case. Never thinking about the fact it had MY DL in it and they would probably recognize me a mere chair away. I prayed they didn't have any drug sniffing dogs.
Everything was fine for the next 3 minutes. Then I saw the Aunt come in and was even more relieved. The courtroom was basically empty when the Judge came in. We stood and sat. he got right to business, I think we were 2nd or 3rd. There was dead silence except for me coughing during most of those cases. I was called to the front without even a word about what they expected from me. I had been told he was lenient and the mother's family had found a family friend to put up his property. I was very frightened she would be getting out and I would have to tell the kids. The Judge read the letters while everyone on each side spoke, he never looked up or really said anything except, "$75,000 cash bond each". It didn't sound like much and I figured any house would cover that, I was worried.
The A.D.A. chased me down to tell me this was good news, it was the highest this Judge has ever set. Their Aunt told me to calm down b/c this guy's house was not worth anywhere near $150,000 value needed for each of them. She explained the property had to be doubled. Whew!
I ran back to get the kids and tell them the great news. The Aunt met me there and we followed her to her SIL's to meet the new cousins. Everyone was shy and stood around in the yard without really talking for a few seconds. I walked right up and hugged the new Aunt and both her dds and nephew. Nanny had shown up without an invitation when she heard we would be there. I had to explain in no uncertain terms she was not to discuss the parents with the kids. She did well. She does this other thing that is going to be an issue for me, she whispers in the kids' ears. Specifically, Cyr's. She told me it made her uncomfortable but she wasn't inappropriate. Nanny lied to me about Papa wanting to spend the night at out home. I agreed it would be great after the trial. I later discovered Papa won't go anywhere and didn't ask her to ask. Why lie?
We left after 2 hours and went to see the Det. The kids wanted to thank her and she wanted to speak with them herself. I had no idea the Sheriff's Dept was connected to the jail. It did not go well. It was like the Domino effect, one after the other. Ruthie completely lost it and was wailing within minutes. I held her and noticed Ella had tears running down her face, next Patches asked to see her father in jail and Michael went to the floor. I smiled and explained it was time for us to go. She patted my back and asked where I found the strength to support them all.
We obviously couldn't go straight back to the Aunt's house with all this squallering. I knew they just needed to have some Southern comfort food. Off to Mama's Country Cafe' for fired pulley bones, country fried steak and gravy, mac and chez, greens, boiled cabbage, corn, northern beans, and strawberry shortcake. Mmmm. Michael had a difficult time choosing and I knew it was him having a hard time with his emotions. What kids doesn't know which dessert to take when they have the option of taking one of each? I told him to take his time. He eventually chose a molten chocolate cake and managed to wear part of it.
When we got back to the family they were quiet and it was uncomfortable for the first few minutes. I knew the new Uncle was like his father, quiet and non emotional. I like his father so I knew I just had to warm him up a bit. I always feel like I need to do all the work with my children's families whether they are my foster children or adoptive. The family is never sure what to say or where the line is. I make it clear they have the same roles and they are still family. I try very hard to bring some laughter into the situation early on to lighten things up. Papa walked in and helped. He made fun of me a bit and then his grown son saw that I was OK. Things just got better. I was forced to listen to Papa tell me every detail of getting his new dentures. Thank goodness his son informed him, "no one gives a damn about your teeth, Daddy." (yes, we still call our father's Daddy after we are grown and parents ourselves here in the South.) I could have said the same thing a couple of hours later when he began to tell me of all his previous indiscretions trying to confess all his sins, I guess. I let him off the hook, I don't care what you have doen or how much you drink and smoke as long as my children are not exposed to violence or anything illegal. He seemed to relax b/c I know he has straightened himself up in the last few years.
We started home at dark. Cyr cried in the car asking why this had to happen to her. We picked up Emma at my sister's and made it home about Midnight. Michael was up until 3AM and once he settled, I went to bed and watched TV. Overall, it was a great day.