HennepinCounty, MN –
Located: The Netherlands –
Saturday morning at 10:30am: I am at my mom’s house for the weekend. I have been researching private investigators for the last few weeks and taking virtual crash courses on how to find someone/anyone from the comforts of my own home. In my dorm room I have a recycled old laptop which is sufficient for getting out essays needed for college. I need to get home to Mom’s house and the state of the art computer propped against the partition between the kitchen and dining area. My younger siblings regularly assist me on the latest techniques they’ve learned at grammar school. I sit in awe, trying not to drop pieces of egg from my sandwich on the key board and the little fingers from my siblings reach in front of me and reveal secret commands on the screen in front of me.
Suddenly my little sister squeals “Hey that’s mam- maah” in half Dutch and half American English. In my search to try to find evidence of the abuse that caused my mother to flee with me to the Netherlands 17 years ago I accidentally found a photo of my young desperate mother forcing a smile when her heart was breaking for witnessing the abuse of her children.
“AB- DUCK- TOR” my little sister sounds out phonetically. “Does it say that Mam- maah is a Duck?” she questions in Dutch. I smile, hug my little sister and send her back to Saturday morning cartoons. I survey the living room to make sure that no other sibling’s curiosity is peaked. I promised my mom that I would shield them from the abuse I endured at the very same age they are now. I hear the muffled sounds of my mom moving boxes in the attic as we prepare for our return to the United States of America, 17 years after she fled with her first born children to protect them from abuse.
Its surreal looking at the photo from the old missing flyer that were distributed by “do-gooders” who probably never knew that the pretty young mother on the wanted poster was actually a hero who left everything behind to protect her children. I smirk in defiance as I read the white tag across her photo “Located” and bright yellow notification underneath with bold black letter “NEW” Instantaneously I feel a tinge of irritation when I scroll below to discover in red letters “Located: The Netherlands – Arrested – Plead Guilty” Yeah Right I mutter and my little brother laughs to my sisters "Jennifer is talking to herself”
It wasn’t too long ago that I sat in the back of the Hennepin County court room surrounded by journalist frantically scribbling down events as they unfolded. The court room was silent except for the intermittent sniffles from family, friends and even the venerated domestic abuse advocates. We all stared at the back of this little woman and then up at the stern cold judge who towered over her. Asking her what her plead was. There was such intensity in the air as my mother chocked out word by word “I admit to having contempt for the court which failed to protect my children.” I just wanted to jump up and yell "you go mom!” but I was caught off guard by the panic stricken face of the defense attorney when my mom asked the judge if she could say one more thing. My mom turned her back on the judge and misguided justice system once again and looked directly at me. For the first time I saw what she had be complaining about for years that even though she was young she felt so old. “I just wanted to say” she chocked out “that” she hesitated “to my children… that even to this day I believe you!”
Another Saturday tainted by my past I think as I wipe the tear from my face. How I hate them all for what they did to us; the judge, the guardian ad litem, the custody evaluator, etc, etc.. A father’s rights zealot contacted me yesterday half apologizing for publishing a defamatory article about my mom 2 years ago. Only to strike out at me one email later because I was not forgiving enough and somehow filled with anger and hate towards men. I wonder if any of that statement was true. I realize that I have suppressed anger but I have to keep it in check because that emotion is monopolized by my older brother and I have been pushed into the more noble role of “seeker of justice” yet today all I really want to do is scream the truth! That I want revenge!
I know that is worse than cursing but today I am choosing to be politically incorrect. After all if the judges and court appointed lawyers in our case can still lie and cover up child abuse then why can’t I scream this one time that LIFE ISN’T FAIR!