It went better than I expected.
I arrived at the courthouse about 20 minutes earlier than planned. My friend, Diane, was meeting me there and she pulled in a few minutes after I arrived.
We walked in the courthouse together, nervous, not really sure of what to expect.
We sat in the large hall, waiting. I spoke with my attorney for a few minutes. He briefed me on how it would go. It seemed fairly straight forward. We sat down to wait our turn.
Court was scheduled at 9:30. It was 9:10 by this time.
I knew he wouldn't show up. But I was still nervous that he would. I wasn't sure how I would react if he walked through the doors.
The hearing before us ran over by 15 minutes. Once we hit the '9:30' mark, I knew he wouldn't show, so I sat there and relaxed and chatted with Diane.
About 9:45, the courtroom opened and a woman walked out, shaking. Her friends had been waiting in the hall for her and put their arms around her. She immediately started crying.
Seeing her pain was the hardest part of my day.
A minute later a man walked out, I'm assuming her ex-husband. He glanced at her and walked on by. I wanted to kick his shins. But I didn't.
It made me realize the pain and hurt in divorce. I was only feeling the relief. I had felt that pain of betrayal so long ago. For her, it was still fresh and painful. She glanced down at me (I had been smiling and talking to Diane). I instantly felt remorse. Here I was, happy to have this completed, and she has just experienced such emotional pain. She probably thought I was horrible for looking so happy. I smiled gently at her and I hope she knows I prayed for her right then and often since then.
I walked into the courtroom with Diane following. (They let her come in...yea!!!). I glanced at the magistrate and noticed a digital clock on his desk. It said 9:48 am.
We sat down and we went through the motions...promising to tell the truth...stating my name, kids' names, addresses, etc. etc. and so forth. I did sneak in a comment about Randy not being around for 19 months. Just wanted that on the record :o)
Then the lawyer asked me if I wanted to restore my name to any other name.
I immediately said "YES" with a grin on my face.
Then he asked me to state my name and spell it.
I quickly stated 'Bauman' and spelled it.
The magistrate smiled.
He is from Rittman. He knows of my family :o)
Then the magistrate said a bunch of legal stuff which I was assuming was all good.
He then dismissed me and told me 'Good luck!'
As I walked out, I glanced at the clock.
My wedding took longer than that.
And I almost said it to him.
But chose to remain silent.
The lawyer pulled me aside to go over what was next.
I have to wait a few days until it goes through the judge and then clerk of courts. Then he gets the paper, then I get the paper...yadda yadda. Basically, my divorce and name change isn't legal until it hits the clerk of courts. Most likely Thursday or Friday.
But to me, it had already happened. And I felt so free from all baggage.
I told the lawyer that I wanted to file IMMEDIATELY to get the children's names changed. He said that the paperwork is already in motion and it should go in front of the judge within 60 days. (MOST LIKELY BY THE END OF THE YEAR!!!!!) He said that I will speak for the children. He didn't want to put them through that.
What he said next shocked me. He said that Randy had called in about papers I needed him to sign. The lawyer told him about the divorce and Randy said "Yes, I know about that. I'm not contesting that." Then the lawyer told him I was changing my name and also the children's names and he needed to sign those papers. The line went silent for a moment and Randy said "I don't know how I feel about that."
He doesn't know? He hasn't attempted to see his children in almost 2 years. He has given them piddles in support in the past 2 years. Why on earth would he care.
On the flip side, they are his children. He SHOULD care. But he says "He's not sure if he cares or not?" What kind of father is that????
My lawyer told him: "We are filing it anyhow. If you change your mind, feel free to come in and sign. But it is going to court."
I stood in the court hallway speechless. I couldn't believe he had called in. Weird as it may sound, that is all I needed. To know that he remembers we exist.
I sent those two letters hoping he would sign the papers. He didn't. Deep down what scared me is that he wouldn't even call the lawyer. That we were so meaningless to him and those 10 years and his kids were nothing to him at all.
Even though he didn't sign. Even though his answer is slightly twisted for a father to say. I found the closure I needed. As I write this it doesn't make sense why I would feel this. Why I would even care. But knowing he called makes all the difference. And I have no idea why.
We closed the conversation with the lawyer saying he would be in touch.
Diane and I walked out all smiles.
I cannot express to you how light and free I felt...and still feel.
I felt so guilty, knowing God hates divorce. But I can't help but believe that God hated it when I was abused, and the breaking of the marriage happened years ago. The divorce just represented me moving on and overcoming the pain. I felt a deep peace run through me. I can't help but believe that God is okay with this and He knows it all.
Diane and I decided to go to lunch quick. As we were walking into Panera, we walked right into that woman. She was standing alone with two boys, about Rhianna and Reagan's age. Her face was still puffy from the tears and her eyes looked like her soul was exhausted. I just smiled gently and nodded..she smiled back. I hope she knows I understand her pain. Even though mine happened years ago. I still haven't forgotten her face.
This past summer I had counseled with an older wiser man. His warning about going through a divorce (even Biblical supported) the hardest part was the emotional distress. Even those where the marriage is long over and abuse was horrible. He warned me to be ready to face some difficult emotions. Thankfully, I have felt none other than relief. Little did I know that looking at that woman's face would be the hardest part of this divorce. Can you all lift her up in prayer? Especially over this next week or so....I think she may have a tough road ahead of her.
It's only been a day. And my marriage was technically over 3+ years ago. But I feel so free..unburdened...and like I'm ready to take the challenge of the next step.
My day would not have went as easy if I hadn't had your prayers. I know so many of you were thinking and praying for me all morning. I felt them. I literally floated through the day. Thank you for that. Thank you for carrying me through this challenge of single parenthood.
Next step...a job! :o)