Monday, April 11, 2011

The Fairy Tale I Tell Myself

Sometimes I tell myself this fairytale.

There was once a girl from the north country. Her hair was like curled copper in the sunlight; her eyes were ocean blue. She was born to the queen of silence, and she learned to talk with her fingers before the words awoke on her tongue. Some loved her and some did not, and when she was very young she went into the world disguised as a wandering storyteller, disguised as a beggarmaid.

There in the world she met good people and bad. She slept in fields and she slept on the side of the ocean, and sometimes she slept in the heart of huge cities where people stared at her. Sometimes her body was hurt, and often she was hungry.

And everywhere she went dogs and children and cats and gentle people came to her without fear and without malice. If you had a lost dog the disguised princess of silence would find it. If you had a lost child you would find it listening to her stories.

After some years of wandering she discovered she was to have a child of her own. She asked for help and was rejected, there in the heart of a city.

So she disappeared to the forests of the north, coming to rest near a small bookstore, waiting for the birth of her baby.

In storms and in sunlight the baby was born. The baby and mother took shelter in a home near the ancient forests, under the protection of many wise women.

(and here's where my story goes into purest fairy tale).

The baby grew there, in the woods and by the rivers, and the wise women and the princess of silence taught her all they knew. All the townfolk rejoiced in the growing girl. She danced with her mother and visited her father. From her mother she learned the language of the animals and birds; from her father she learned how love will cast away hurt and anger.

In the shelter of love this child and her mother became artists, healers, singers. All who met them came to a center of calm.

And everyone lived happily ever after...

That's the story I tell myself.
The reality...well, the reality is a little different, as we face down yet more court dates. My young friend was almost convinced to sign away all her rights at the last court hearing, at which her lawyer said her advocates were exerting too much pressure and that the mother understood she couldn't care for her baby.

You are stirring up a hornet's nest, he told me, I hope you are ready for this.

Always, I said to the young public defender who has characterized me as a pain in the ass, a proud thing to be, I think, under the circumstances.

But he gave me, and another advocate, time to explain the papers to our young friend. Truly, given her anger and "I know what I'm doing" I figured I'd been wrong; that she was in fact ready to give her daughter up. I told her I would stand by her whatever choice she felt best, and if this was her choice I was there for her. She gave me a confused and angry look and ran from the little side room.

I went into the court hallway with my fellow support person and said "well, we've learned a lot".
And I tried to keep from sobbing aloud as I contemplated the future. Tears did fall from my eyes; sometimes the heart is too full.

And then we heard the mother say loudly to her lawyer "no, you are wrong, I want to fight this".

Pretrial is April 20, trial April 25.

The young mother's chances are ever...very slim that her baby will come back to her. Once the bureaucracy starts grinding forward much seems to be lost. Oh, I don't think anyone is evil here. Not even in my fairytale version. We don't have evil wizards plotting to steal a baby.

But I so want this baby and mother together, sheltered in a circle of care.