Some moments stay vividly etched into our brains no matter how much time passes. I will never forget the day my parents served me court papers.
It was close to Halloween, the Saturday morning before. My son, who was 9 at the time, and I were trying to make it to the neighborhood Trunk-or-Treat. My son loves Halloween. He pulled on his costume, I gathered the big bags of candy and a few decorations for the trunk and a camp chair for me to sit in. My husband elected not to attend because of his ever present mountain of homework. We were cutting it close on the time. If we got there too late, they may not let us in because they didn't want little costumed kids walking around parking lots with moving cars.
I sent my son out to the car ahead of me, while I carried my load out to the car. My son hopped into the car and I opened the garage door to find a man standing in my drive way. He asked if I was Brittany Maloy. When I said yes, he told me that he had a document for me that I needed to sign for. I could see right away that it was a court summons and my stomach twisted into a knot. Who in the world could be taking me to court?
By this time, my husband had come out into the garage to make sure I got off alright. I looked at the papers to find my parent's name for the petitioners. I felt stunned. It felt like I'd been punched in the stomach or that I had hit the ground so hard that I couldn't take a breath.
The guy who delivered the summons seemed to feel bad and left pretty quick. I marched back into the house and dissolved into tears while my husband read through the papers.
My parents were suing for visitation rights. They wanted to have my son every other weekend, similar to what a noncustodial parent would have. They couldn't actually get that, could they? My husband and I didn't think so at the time. But this day began a long two year battle that cost us in more ways than one.
I was a wreck. The Trunk-or-Treat had long started. And I had to pull myself together to break the news to my son that we would not be going to the Trunk-or-Treat without giving him a good reason. There was no way I was going to tell him about the law suit.
He took the news pretty well.