My Shane was called for jury duty in June of 2018. I read him the summons and told him to call and find out when he had to appear. He texted me, “”How long do you think the jury summons will last tomorrow?” when his jury number was called to appear. I told him to take a book and he showed up. My Shane always shows up. He is my steadfast hero.
I asked him, “Did you get picked?” He said, “No, they haven’t even gotten through the first round of potential jurors yet.” I said, “You know, you can always tell them that your mom is a plaintiff’s attorney and your dad was a cop, that might get you excused.” Later, he told me, “I would have but it was kinda cool to watch.” And all he told them was that he was a 19 year old student. Oh yes, my heart was full, thank you. My 19 year old son understood the importance of jury duty. That was worth every freaking penny of my law school tuition, right there.
Shane sat through three days of jury selection. He didn’t get picked. He did get a witness fee and mileage fee. I think it was $11 or less. I asked him, “What was the case?” He said, “I don’t think I can discuss it with you, Mom. We were told we can’t discuss it. I’ll just say that it was a criminal assault case.” Oh hell yeah, for my honest, steadfast son.
When someone posts something on social media about how young kids wear baggy pants or “man buns” and were spared being hit with a belt and somehow that is not okay, I just have to say this. I don’t get it. My mom always told me she wanted my life to be better than hers. I so appreciate that, and now I have the chance to pay it back to her. I want my sons’ lives to be better than mine. I don’t give a sh*t about their pants, as long as their hearts are big and they do the right thing. Shane’s pants sag because he is skinny, and because he chooses to shop at a thrift store to save money and because he has a unique style. His priorities are about making the world a better place. Not making sure his pants fit to make other people happy. My son Max’s hair is long and he puts it up in a really cool ponytail/bun when he plays his jazz. He doesn’t have the time or inclination to cut his hair to make anyone else happy. And he really does have great hair.
It may help to remember that we, too, had our way of rebelling. Maybe it was pants. Maybe it was hair. Maybe it was shoes. I was a punk rocker with purple hair and tattoos. I don’t have purple hair anymore. But I will always, always, have the soul of a punk rocker. It’s what made me who I am today, for sure. I encourage my sons to be their authentic, creative, badass selves. And I am so proud that they are. They are definitely not molded versions of anyone else’s expectations. And by the way, you should remember, too. Your bad ass, rebellious self made you who you are today. Not your complicit acceptance of what someone else thought you should be.
If you are ever the subject of a jury trial, I hope one of my sons is on your jury. You couldn’t do better than having one of my beautiful, fair minded, open hearted sons on your jury. I know I am judgmental AF sometimes and I work on that every day. My Max asked me once, “If I judge someone for being judgmental, does that make me a judging judger?” He had a point. By asking, we can become aware. And awareness gets us halfway there. We should always keep asking.
None of us are perfect. None of us know what perfect looks like. Sometimes, we are cruel to each other and often, we say things to each other we shouldn’t. I hope if you sit in judgment on anyone else, you stay fair. And if you sit in judgment on yourself, you give yourself some grace. You deserve that. You’re badass. Keep asking. Keep going.