Thursday, May 21, 2015
I triple check the forms, finding and correcting errors, re-reading the long and complicated directions for the umpteenth time. When I am finally (relatively) certain I have done everything correctly with the pile of paperwork in front of me, I secure the stack together with a paper clip and write a $200.00 check to the County's Surrogate Court. I have spent a total of four days on the paperwork alone - two hours just this morning in review. The entire process of just completing "Step One" has been two years in the making, 99% of that time due to procrastination.
As suggested, I am hand delivering the paperwork instead of sending the packet certified mail. I make the 20 minute drive, a straight shot down a busy four-laned pike filled with lights and lined with endless strip malls. I am a little edgy, almost nervous, and slightly sad... all of which are very silly emotions to have over filing paperwork. Perhaps it's because anything to do with the legal system makes me nervous. Even when I see a cop car, or walk through the security detectors positioned at the doors of retail stores, I get a case of the cold sweats. Maybe I always feel like someone is gonna see right through me and know I'm not as good as I seem. Or maybe, I'm just weird.
I park around back and try two different entrances before finding the right building. I get my purse searched and walk through the metal detector (cold sweat!) then head for the Office of the Surrogate Court. This is the place where you go for a great many things, one of which is to petition for Legal Guardianship of your adult daughter who cannot make decisions as a fully emancipated adult. I am here, weeks before her 20th birthday, to start the process of taking away all of her legal rights to make any decisions. I will forever be her decision maker. Plenary Guardianship, they call it. The fact is, if I don't do this, she is screwed... because she can't make any decisions for herself. So I'm doing what I should have done almost two years ago. I haven't done it yet because it's a long, complicated, daunting, somewhat expensive process.
I haven't done it until now because above all, it just makes me sad. Not that surface sad, like "Oh yeah, that's sad." It's like a deep, deep, profound sad. The sad that sits in a pit of unresolved grief. The sad that has no bottom. The sad you never acknowledge you have until you're standing in the waiting room of the Surrogate Court with your stack of papers and your sweaty palms and your $200.00 check and your goofy fake smile and your string of dumb questions that are just filling up the space between you and the nice administrative staff who assures you that they will call if they have any questions.
Step One is completed. The papers are filed. Soon, I will receieve a certified letter with a hearing date and yadda yadda. I try to feel a sense of accomplishment for this huge milestone, but all I feel is a little empty.
I drive back home and half way there I figure I'm probably going to start to cry - and almost do - but then stop myself and just decide to turn up the radio and sing some stupid pop song out of tune instead.