Yesterday I watched a young woman whom I have known since she was 3 sit across from doubters and haters with regal poise. How do you do it? I later asked her. Jackie O, she replied calmly, wiping away a tear which had escaped once I pulled her from the room for a break from the unrelenting beratement of her former spouse and his father.
My client, the daughter of decades-long friends, kept her calm throughout the emotionally challenging mediation. I occasionally touched her arm — stay strong, I tried to tell her with my eyes. But she had gone past the need for my warning and lived in the realm of the serene. Knowing she had conquered the storms of yesterday gave her the confidence to endure the antipathy slung at her from the other side of the room.
She has made mistakes but owns them. She has lost custody of two children; she takes what time she can have with them and does whatever the system requires of her to claim and increase that time. Standing beside her, helping in the fight to keep the terms of the parenting plan moving towards eventual reunification, any sniveling about my life in which I might have been tempted to indulge fell away. This young woman has endured much and walked through the storm fending off the arrows slung in her direction. She has acknowledged her deficiencies and overcome each one of them.
Jackie O would be so proud.
It’s the sixteenth day of the thirty-second month of My [Endless] Year Without Complaining. Taking my role models where I find them, I continue with my life.