Well, I stood in court yesterday, along with 6 other people in support of difficult child. 2 of which were his paternal grandparents. Someday I'll tell you about the last time I was in a court house with my former mother in law - suffice to say we've come a long way. Long, long way. It was brutal. difficult child was brought in wearing leg-irons and hand cuffed. His grandparents couldn't handle it, they began to cry. I got up from my bench and went and gave them hugs. difficult child turned in his seat and thanked all of us for being there. It was brutal. I had no spit in my mouth. No spit. difficult child's lawyer was late, and the DA was conversing with the court stenographer. difficult child's lawyer showed up, and the DA conversed with him. What we were overhearing was not instilling confidence. It was brutal. The judge came in and called the case and there was some interaction. She read the charges and the sentences (there were 3 separate felonies - all property crimes; theft, possession) and then asked difficult child if he wanted to speak. He did. He took responsibility for his actions and apologized. He acknowledged the hurt and anxiety he had caused. He asked the DA if he could give her the letters of apology he had written. The judge then spoke to difficult child and told him she was impressed by his honesty and by him taking responsibility. She talked a long time (it seemed like) about his past crimes (all theft and possession) and how the cycle repeats and repeats. It was brutal. The judge did impose a 5 year prison sentence, with 242 days credit, and the opportunity to earn early release by participating in the drug & alcohol programming. And then it was over, and he stood to walk out. His grandmother stood up (she suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and is in a wheelchair) and hugged him. I was standing between difficult child and the deputy. The deputy looked at me and said "You gotta tell her she can't hug him" and I nodded at her but I didn't stop grandma from hugging my boy. The deputy took a step forward, and at that point I did gently tell grandma that she had to let him go. It was brutal. We all told difficult child we loved him, before he left the courtroom. And then I dissolved into a puddle of tears in my husband's arms. It was brutal. And I'm really glad I went. I'm hoping that's the hardest thing I have to do for awhile. Thank you all for your prayers and good vibes, I could feel them holding me up.