In the previous blog entry, I quoted MLK, the ultimate measure of a man is where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. When this is all started, I wasn’t standing as well about some important things. I have sat with help from friends, from family, from professionals that give me guidance regarding financial, emotional, medical and priorities much better than I did when this all started.
Three days ago, I went to play ultimate as a substitute in Winter League. For a guy that used to play so much, I now only play when Kiana is with other family having switched to running because it’s more efficient while still feeding the mind and body’s health. So now when I go play, I have to play as a substitute for whichever team is lacking the most people. Sunday was at best… awkward… because the team I was assigned to was with an old friend who once was offering his parents house as a place for me to stay during brain surgery while having an affair with my wife… a guy who I’d removed from my property and has a criminal trespass warning… a guy who is suing me. I’d played against him and been civil but I’d be lying to say I didn’t feel like asking for another team but I swallowed whatever you want to call it pride machismo and realized that court on Wednesday said that Kiana in daycare because of all those scenarios and there was too much tension when him and Kiana’s mother came to drop her off and pick her up. And I played with him and reminding myself that if this is what it took to show that I should keep custody of my child, of course I would do it. All good parents should put their child above their own pettiness so I tried successfully. We didn’t say hello or high five and I was less friendly than I would be to a stranger but we were both civil adults.
When the affair all came out, ultimate, a generally liberal crowd mostly socially abandoned this guy. They thought what he did, as I think, that it was fairly socially unacceptable and the team he and I played together told him he wasn’t welcome anymore, that they weren’t a moral institution but this was too much. I don’t play as much anymore but somehow it’s more comfortable to know that it’s unusual that I will crash into him during social events. He is a stark reminder of the negative side effects of cancer more than the scar is. That social shunning was some measure of the community and I’d be less than honest to say it isn’t a relief to know that when I show up at most of those functions, odds are he won’t be there.
Two days later, Tuesday, yesterday was an odd day. I met with the attorney to prepare for the hearing where we were stating that I would pick Kiana up from school everyday but asking that they let us know what time they would be there so we’d have some flexibility as to what to do. They were stating Kiana was better off at daycare because of the tension between her boyfriend and I and because her mother’s schedule was too unpredictable and he had to be the one who picked her up sometime during her visits. They were asking for medical records in perpetuity and we were stating no to that and that they be kept away from this same individual (can you tell that he’s an influence in some form; people have wondered if I am copping out on all this placing the blame on him but we are who we hang out with and someone who engages in that type of sociopathic behavior is a bit scary to me). From there I went to go see my Neuro oncologist and let them know that tomorrow there was court and that he should tell me if he ever saw something that I don’t recognize and that the kid shouldn’t come with me. The girl mentioned in the entry “With and Without you” insisted on coming with me, semi got uninvited and said well I’m showing up. She was there for the entire appointment and explained some things to the doctor for/with me. So in my first appointment in 3 months, I took a girl with me who I kissed on new year’s… but I’m still George Clooney… I promise.
From there, I went to a parenting class with wonders and worries with parents who had terminal illnesses or perhaps the most heart breaking one, of a parent who was still working with their child on their father’s quick passing. So it was an odd day before court but I remembered Beecher’s quote: "Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith." And while the fact that I woke up at 4 AM showed that there was some anxiety I went into it with some faith. Somehow in response to the last blog entry it was nice to have this: "You're a true model of cancer survivorship and an inspiration for so many - not because you've done everything "right" or "perfectly" because that's not even possible. You're an inspiration because you don't have an ounce of quit in you." As I’ve said along, I am not trying to inspire just trying to live but if the fact that I don’t quit is inspiration and it otherwise lets me be human, I accept it.
When the case was presented before her, the Judge had the Wisdom of Solomon. She stated that Kiana would be better off with one of her parents after school and that if her mother didn’t let me know that I would be the one picking her up and would wait at home until Kiana’s mother arrived. She originally was leaning away from this until she learned I lived one block from her school. That distance from the school was the reason I bought a house 1 month before Kiana was born and that move is looking more and more brilliant. The judge was right that Kiana’s mother shouldn’t have to revolve any of her visitation time trying to find me. The judge was also right in that Kiana is better off with one of her parents and who they choose to introduce her to rather than just whoever signs up for whichever care. The judge also was right in that she gave permission for my medical records to be released to Kiana’s mother in perpetuity. I’ve told all of this to my doctors for a while now and frankly, that’s the right decision. If I were in her mother’s shoe and she had a terminal illness, I’d want to know how things were progressing, and I am grateful they are progressing well. There may come a time where I can’t do this and my doctors and friends know to look out for that., call me out on it and I will listen. But the Judge, showing how she became one, said it would be great if I acknowledged it but in case I don’t let’s put in the safety measure that Kiana’s mother can have it in perpetuity. Ironically, appropriately, choose the right word, the arguments where too much time was wasted were over her boyfriend (see what I mean about that being a dumb issue?) and again showing the wisdom of Solomon, the judge said her boyfriend, Andre Dumouchelle, since it’s now part of public records, was specifically named as someone who couldn’t have access to my medical records. He also could not ever be the one to pick up Kiana and she believed (as do I) that will decrease some of the tension of this situation. She pointed out correctly, as is demonstrated by Sunday, that time has decreased some of the tension as well.
Court had an audience that I didn’t realize in the court room. All four of the who had gone to Duke from Austin were there. Myself, Kiana’s mother, and two friends who were there in both the original hospital room and would be at Duke. And now two and two of us were on opposite ends of the table. There were some interesting things said in court but the one I will quote me on is, “I am not going to say on my deathbed I wish I’d spent more time with my kid.” So I believe that where and I the judge stood today is correctly in times of challenge and controversy, stand for what’s in the best interest of the child. These are only temporary orders and who knows how much longer this case will drag out. But as I did after the last court hearing, I went and had lunch with the kid. But the judge today, said that Kiana is best at all times with her family which to me is how I hope this story always plays or at least as long as possible. So today, family court showed that it really does exists for family and in the best interest of the child. Kiana won because she now gets more time with family. And I want to teach her that our ultimate measure where mother and I failed at that when things are stuff, where you stand is next to someone you love. Kiana won, cancer’s still losing in my book and I’m done with this blog entry cause I have a kid to go pick up from school and stand next to her as I do my favorite new workout, walking her to and from school 5 days a week.