This most recent trip was not such a treat. My mother and father had the unenviable task of taking their youngest child to court to face criminal charges.
Since over a year ago, when the charges were first laid, and my brother was released on bail, my family has been playing a waiting game. Court dates were scheduled, then delayed. Moved later and later. My second- and third-hand information was that the Crown wasn't prepared to proceed. Trial would have to wait. And wait, and wait.
Finally, over a year later, my brother's lawyer delivered the much anticipated and much dreaded news - an actual court date. Early in March, my brother stood in front of a judge and pleaded guilty to drug related charges. The judge accepted his plea and sentenced him to 2 years in a federal facility. And then my parents watched as he was escorted out of the room, and off to a correctional facility.
It's been a difficult thing around which to wrap my sheltered brain. I know what he did. He's guilty, without a doubt, but I still can't seem to accept the fact that my little brother, the baby of the family... is now a convicted criminal.
My emotions have bounced from anger at his stupid, selfish choices, to sadness over the pain my parents must be feeling. Part of me is happy that he's facing consequences for his behaviour, and yet I'm scared that being in jail will open up a whole new avenue of criminal behaviour for him.
I can't claim to understand how it must feel to see your child taken away like that. My parents lost a baby to a heart defect over 30 years ago, and I often wonder if this weighs as heavily on their hearts.
I have 3 young children of my own, and as I stand quietly, listening to the sounds of their breathing as they sleep, I say a small prayer that they will be strong enough to make wise decisions in their lives. And then I say another prayer of thanks for having them in my life at all.