So Russ and I moved to Texas and I had few friends. Often the only ones I knew were from church, and more often than not I got along better with the new people at church than those who were deeply rooted in the area, or that had a lot of family here.
I met one lady and we became great pals. Actually there were three of us. We enjoyed lunch, games, movies, etc. for about a year. Then one moved away. A month or so later I returned from camping in Navasota, Texas to find the other one was gone.
It broke my heart that she was gone. Mostly, that she had to flee with her children, from domestic violence. I thought I would never see her again.
Today that changed- but not on the happiest circumstances.
She and I kept in touch over the phone. In January, after the children's father had a visit with her kids, he never returned them.
I don't know how she did it, how she's lasted this long. But today she had her day in court.
She'd asked me many times if I would testify in court that she was a fit parent. I thought sure, but it won't ever come down to that.
It Did. I realized last night that it was all going down at 9 am just North of where I lived.
I was nervous. I hadn't told my job about it. I hadn't planned on it.
But there, at 6:30 am, driving down the freeway it was all about to happen.
Russ grilled me on questions. I nervously called my boss at 7:15 in the morning. And then we were there.
I saw my friend. I saw the nerves, the stress, the strength.
We paced the halls, we searched for cars, we talked with lawyers and staff from the Attorney General's office.
We paced more. Many times I thought the building would just shatter because of how thick the air was.
Then, he was there. It was about power. It was about putting my friend in her place. The children were not there.
MORE stress. More nerves, and tears, lip-biting, hand-wringing.
We were in the middle of talking. The doors to the elevator opened. Out walked the angels. My friend screamed and ran to her children, but stopped. The lawyers al gave nods that it was okay. She knelt down and hugged her babies.
I am so glad to have seen such a tender moment. I don't have kids, I don't think I understand the depth of suffering she had suffered.
The children went to a conference room. Lawyers talked money, visitation, and taxes. Back and forth, back and forth. Then an agreement.
In the courtroom with a judge, lawyers, my friend, and the scumbag kidnapper and spouse abuser.
Her lawyer talks, judge responds. His lawyer talks, judge responds. Lawyers call people to question and question. Yes, sir. Yes, ma'm. My name is ....
Then arms raised, oaths taken. We are done.
Back outside to wait for the kids. Little steps come down the hall. And it's done. It's permanent.
I was served with a great lesson in parental love, of parental suffering, and oh yeah, a subpoena.