Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Gift Of Confidence

"There is not much to plea bargain, the law is the law when it comes to stopping at a stop sign, " the city prosecutor said hurriedly looking over a single sheet of paper in front of him. You can plead no contest and take a course. The ticket will stay on your record for three years. "What if I decide to take it to trial", my daughter said through shaky vocal cords. "Do you feel lucky today Ms. Johnson", the prosecutor's voice boomed. With that he reached into his drawer and threw two large plastic dice on the desk. I thought my girl would have a heart attack right there in the office. "Her birthday is tomorrow", I chimed in. "Maybe today is her lucky day", I was overly cheery. "I have pictures that the stop sign was not at a proper distance from the road" she countered clutching a blue folder with pertinent data she had collected to win her case. "Let's see, there is $99 court cost and $200 for the ticket", and by the way you are not obligated to tell me about your evidence", the prosecutor said after the fact. My daughter looked at me with eyes wide that screamed MOM! I dropped my hand down beside my chair with four fingers pointing towards the floor. That meant, be still, I have this. My daughter seeing the signal turned back toward the prosecutor and stared straight ahead. "Do you like to eat out"? he asked looking at me. "Yes, of course", I answered. "Well there are places that offer the driving courses with the meals for $35", he offered. Silence. "You are welcome to wait back in the hallway, you have fifteen minutes to decide to accept the plea or go to trial", he said and stood up. We walked past the court room and I peeked through the window, the court room was empty except for two people and the judge. My daughter plopped in her seat, turned to me and said,"mom I am scared, I don't have $300." "He's bluffing", I said coolly. "There may be witnesses", she whispered. "They're irrelevant to the proof you've gathered, just present your case", I urged. I could smell her fear. I've got to say something to make her believe in herself. She turned and looked away from me. "Whip his ass", I whispered, " make him regret that he ever got out of bed this morning", we both laughed hysterically as others looked bewildered as to what could possible be so funny in a place like this. It was so out of character for me to say something like that, but I could tell my daughter loved it in a hip teenager way. "Of course it is strictly your call I reminded her. I watched her out of the corner of my eyes and saw a crooked smile cross her face. I could hear the wheels in her brain turning. The prosecutor came from behind the double doors strolled up to my kid and asked, "have you decided?" "I'm going to trial "she said even toned her eyes meeting his in a standoff. It was my time to look away as I didn't want her to see the moisture in my eyes and quivering bottom lip, then a crooked smile spread across my face. "Fine, won't you follow me", he instructed. I was puzzled because we passed the court room and followed him back behind the double doors to his office. "It seems", he pondered once we were seated, "no witnesses showed up, not even the police officer that issued the citation, so I am going to ask the judge to dismiss", he said in one breath. "If it is alright with you", he asked without looking at us. "Yes, that's fine with me", my daughter cooed as we both dropped our hands besides our chairs and entwined our pinkie fingers one around the other. The prosecutor walked fast now as we trailed him into the court room. The judge beamed at me as he almost raised from his seat in acknowledgement of someone he saw grow up from a kid. "How can I do my job when the city doesn't place stop signs in the right places and witnesses don't show up, then this young lady brings pictures and proof", the prosecutor whined. The judge looked back and forth, from me to my daughter, then looked down to sign some papers as a crooked smile crossed his face. "Thank you your honor", my daughter blushed. It was hard for me to keep up with her as she raced through the court house door and into the hot sun. She quickly pulled out her cell and in seconds I heard her say, "Dad I won my case". I thought to myself as she waved from her car, "Happy Birthday" my daughter, tomorrow you'll be twenty. Have you ever lost your confidence? What are some things that make you confident? How do you instill confidence in your children?

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