Monday, November 26, 2007

Of Friends and Family

The Original Perfect Post Awards

We're back in the Windy City, with JP's dad present as Safety Person (a post on the continued absurdity and an investigation update is forthcoming). The trip to Texas was wonderful. I've never cried when leaving to return to Chicago- I love this city and it is our home now, but I cried yesterday. For six days I was able to let go of some of the stress and tension surrounding us in Illinois. The investigation was never far from my mind, but for the first time in a long time, it wasn't at the forefront. Landon met his aunt and uncle for the first time, JP and I drank a lot of properly blended frozen margaritas, my baby brother showed off what he's learned in two months of college by schooling us in beer pong, and we all got to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends.

I had hoped that this nightmare would be over by Thanksgiving- I had an image of us sitting around my grandparent's table in Texas thanking God that our lives were finally moving on. Obviously, that didn't happen; however, I found myself filled with thankfulness anyway for the amazing people in my life. This post isn't about how the hard times make you realize the importance of family and friends- I already knew that. It's an acknowledgement of how much their love and support can shine through your darkest times.

We moved to Illinois two years ago without knowing a single person in the state, but when a doctor's visit turned into a nightmare, our Chicago support system materialized. Friends visited us in the hospital with treats and distractions. A friend researched lawyers for us and called to fill them in on the background so that when I called on Friday, barely coherent after DCFS had taken Landon, they already knew my story. When Landon was released from the shelter, I had five local volunteers to be safety people. A friend slept on the floor of my living room for four days, under the threat of a psychotic cat, while we waited for my dad to be approved. Friends instituted a daily delivery of meals, and even coordinated to make sure we didn't have too much of one style food. I've gotten notes for missed classes and received incredible support from the professors and administration at the law school. I've had classmates I barely know donate money, ask how I'm doing, and send emails with support and research. People far away have made a daily difference as well. Friends of my parents donated money, sent emails, prayed, spread the word, wrote character letters for the hearing, offered to fly up as safety persons, and even made care packages for my mom and dad with meals, gift cards, and a day of a cleaning service. Family donated, prayed, cried, loved, and offered to do anything they could to help. My aunt left her family and moved in with us for two weeks. People I've never met sent legal and medical research, donated money, prayed, and sent emails of outrage, ideas for help, and support. No one who knew us doubted us, and so many of those we've never met joined in indignation. People have commented on how strong I've been during this, and I have been. But I think any mother be would when the options are: (a) break down and risk losing your child or (b) press on and do everything in your power to have him restored to you. So while the strength came from within, the ability to focus solely on Landon- to not spent hours sifting through google search results, legal cases, and doctors names, to ignore grocery lists and our dwindling bank account- that came from you all and I am deeply, immeasurably thankful for it.

At Landon's baptism yesterday I kept crying. Sitting in the church we've attended since the 80's, that my family helped build, that JP and I were married in, was very emotional. Old friends from my church youth group, whom I've known since elementary school but haven't seen in years, heard about the investigation and the baptism and came to the service to show their support. We had a few family members and five pews of family friends at the church. Landon has no idea how much love and support surrounded him, but someday we'll tell him. I believe very much in the importance of family, but I also believe that friends can be the family you make for yourself (yes, I just quoted Sex and the City in an emotional post that keeps making me cry in the law library). Without our friends- local, faraway, known, and unknown- this ordeal would have been crippling.

So to those of you who recognize yourselves in the descriptions above, thank you. To those of you who donated, thank you. To those of you who sent emails, thank you. To those of you who defended me in my own comments and elsewhere, thank you. To those of you I don't even know about, but who prayed for and thought about us, thank you. I don't think I believe that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, or even that God does everything for a reason, but I do believe that something good can come out of anything- even if the good sometimes seems small in the midst of the bad. You all are my good.

13 comments:

  1. Good Lord, that post made me cry. I'm glad you're feeling the support you clearly have -- and deserve.

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  2. we do it because we all know how absolutely ridiculous this whole situation is - you and JP & Landon (and all of your safety people) should not have to be going through this. I just hope that you can ring in the new year with all of this behind you to just start fresh. Always in my thoughts,
    Nichole

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  3. This is the first time I've posted, though I've been reading for quite a while. I'm not even sure how I found you in the first place. Your family has been in my prayers.

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  4. I don't believe everything happens for a reason. I won't waste anyone's time listening countless bad things that have happened to good people as the basis of my disbelief. I just don't believe it's true. That often well-meant but inane platitude is one of the biggest steamy piles of cliche-poop ever.

    I DO believe, however, if you handle everything that happens to you in a reasonable way, sometimes with hindsight and healing, reasons might seem to reveal themselves.

    Here's hoping you three can all get to the hindsight and healing as fast as possible. I will continue to follow your story, defend you online wherever I see the need, and delurk occasionally to say, "I believe you. I believe you, I believe you, I believe you."

    And congratulations on the baptism. May Landon always find peace and strength in the spiritual journey you helped him begin with love on Sunday!

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  5. Ok, that definitely brought tears to my eyes. I am so glad your trip was wonderful. It sounds like it was the much needed break from the Chicago drama. I will keep praying for you and your family. You are incredibly strong and brave from what I have learned about you this past couple of months.

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  6. Your post made my cry! I to moved to a new town, hours away from my family and a few months before my son was born. I have been very lucky to find such great friends that I can count on for anything. They really do become your family! I hope that soon you find some peace in all this messed up crap. I think of you and your family often.

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  7. Wow. I'm crying, too. You really said it all so well. Thanks.

    P.S. Can't wait to see Landon's Baptism outfit. Did you find a great one?

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  8. *sniff*

    But don't cry in the library. It'll be another scandal.

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  9. You made me teary! I'm so glad you had a great holiday and experienced the love your friends and family have for you, JP, and Landon -- it's a credit to how much joy you've brought them. I'm just so sorry you had to live through the investigation to get that moment. :(

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  10. formerlawstudentcurrentmother11/27/07, 8:07 AM

    Still cheering you on here in NYC and can't wait for the resolution of this nightmare. What a wonderful post.

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  11. I've been reading for about a month, but not commenting. Your post is beautifully written and your sincere gratitude is evident. May this season of anticiaption of Christ also be a season of healing for your young family.

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  12. You make me cry at work. I'm so happy you had a nice Thanksgiving and time away from everything! I'll write back to your email soon...sorry it's been so long!

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  13. Even though this is quite possibly the worst thing that could happen to you and your family, it's amazing what an incredible thing has come out of it. You would never have known about the love and support that surrounds you if it hadn't happened. For your sake, I'm terribly, terribly sorry to hear about the whole situation, but I'm also glad to hear about how much people have helped. It gives me faith in the human race.

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