- Family and Parenting
I took my kids to Jury Duty
A few weeks back I received a jury summons. I get very irritated with these because it seems every couple of months I get one. So, needless to say I knew that I would have no one to get the boys ready for school and get them there on time. I called the courthouse and they said that I have to notify them 5 days in advance if I can not be there and I explained that I have no child care. I guess that doesn't matter to them and was told I had to be there.
So, I continued to call every night to see if my number was called for the next day and of course it was. I stayed up all night wondering what I was going to do with the boys. I woke up at 3:30 in the morning to a weird thought 'take the boys with you'. The whole time we were getting ready I still felt a little lost wondering what I would do or say when I got there but as soon as we left the house it all just unfolded. Some of it good, some not.
We arrived at the court house 15 minutes before I was supposed to be there. We walked in the front door and went through the scanning machine. As soon as we all got on the other side of the machine an elderly security guard wanted to know what this was all about (as he looked at the boys). I proceeded to explain my story and ended with I have no care for my children. He tells me that the boys can not go upstairs (where the jury management office is) and so I explained to him if they can not go up then he had better be on the phone and tell them to come downstairs to us. Maybe he just expected the boys to go outside and play until mommy was finished with her jury duty.
After a few seconds had passed he was oh so nice to let us go upstairs and explain our story. As we came off the elevator they were taking people to be checked in. Honestly, it looked like someone herding a bunch of mindless people. The woman that was checking people in noticed the boys and I standing there and I was told if I had any problems or issues I would have to wait until after everybody else was checked in. We waited about 10-12 minutes until she finally came over to see what was going on. I then again explained my story. I really can't think of any other words to describe the look on her face except for disgust. People wonder why my defenses go up so quickly.
Then the series of questions began. First question: "Well ma'am who takes care of your children during the day?" Answer to first question: "They are in school". Second question: "You have no one to watch them today?" Answer: "If I did they wouldn't be here". Third question: "So you have no reliable childcare at all?". IS IT ME? I was having a difficult time trying to figure out if I was actually having this conversation or was I having a really bad dream. So, after a few minutes of really controlling myself she says she will talk to the judge and inform him of my situation. Situation. I really wasn't aware that I had a situation I was only aware that I didn't have care for my children.
When we were leaving she thanked me for coming to the court house and explaining my 'situation' and that they would put my name in for another jury summons to make up for this one. Do they really do that?. I don't mind doing jury duty as long as my children have the care they need in the process. I was angry when we were confronted by the security guard with a look of 'what in the world do you think your doing?' but after we left it all subsided. I did not take my children to the court house just to get out of my responsibility and I can't just leave two 7 year-olds home alone and hope they find a way to school somehow.
I also understand that the courts have certain guidelines they have to abide by. But, when you are a single parent there are just some things that can not be helped. And, I am by no means telling anyone to take their kids with them just to get out of it. Single-parenting is a struggle all it's own and there are some things, like this 'situation', that you have to face and move on.
Everyone in this world has something they struggle with. Life is not about sitting around being depressed or angry about it. You figure out a better way. Yes, I was pissed at the security guard and the woman but by the time we left the building it was just something else I had to face and acknowledge there would be more times like these.
When I was just starting my single parent journey I had no idea what I was in for. I did what everybody else wanted me to do or said I should do because I thought they knew what they were talking about. Some did, some didn't. When you get the experience and the knowledge to do it yourself it makes you a stronger person. I do things now that back then I would never have even thought of doing. If you would have told me I would one day be taking my kids with me to jury duty I would have thought you were off your rocker.
I strongly believe that where you are right now is where you are supposed to be. I don't have all the answers to single parenting and I still sometimes learn as I go along. But I do know things happen for a reason and my 'situation' was meant to happen.