Here Comes the Judge (and she was “petite” too!)
“Please rise – Superior Court of the State of California, Honorable Judge Leonard presiding over the case of, Toro vs. Toro, in the matter of “Move-Away.”
Hearing the clamor of the rickety court benches as everyone stood up, and the swiftness of the people’s feet on the ground, as they quickly stood to welcome the judge back for her ruling, made me instantly excited, worried, scared…hopeful!
Never did I think so many emotions could hit a person all at once.
For a moment, on that fateful day in ’98, through the muddled, murmuring voices of the courtroom, I thought back over the past two years of this war…through my divorce in ‘97, through the ugly custody case and move a way battle that I was currently in, through the accusations, assumptions and ignorance others had about meeting someone “online,” equaling instant doom and considered a “dirty” thing; through the discriminatory treatment we got because of the untraditional nature of our relationship, through the fact that two years were stolen from our lives due to fabrication, hate and biasness, through the fear that this man didn’t HAVE to go thru all this scrutiny and could easily find another life mate (one who doesn’t have all this baggage)…I found the one memory that I needed to get through this day – the memory of the feeling I had on the day I met Randy Corporon.
Everything we had gone through, all the sacrifices we’ve made, living 1000-miles apart for two years, combining two households on a budget of a “newly employed-mom” and first year “law school student,” all the fortitude it took to keep things going, the emotional roller-coaster we were constantly on, all the tears that were shed each time a skirmish was lost, as well as the tears shed each time we won, all the fear I had that I might lose my children, or the man I knew was my soul-mate… all our wants and desires now rested in the hands of one person, on this day.
The Ruling – with Ducky-Bumps!
The sudden noise of silence throughout the courtroom resounded through me like an echoing scream; bringing me out of my deep thoughts and sending ducky-bumps up and down my arms. I stood and watched the judge sit down behind her dark wood, raised, bench…never glancing up at us, not even for a moment. This was it – the day I’ve waited for, for two years! “Be seated,” she said with such authority. I leanedforward and strained to look at her face to notice any glimpse of an answer regarding my future – there wasn’t any. Only a solemnexpression very telling that “someone” will go home unhappy today.
The judge began speaking. Her words came out to me as a foreign language, with “therein, herein and thereinafter,” causing me to whisper “huh?” to my attorney. I couldn’t discern her proclamation…until finally…I heard her say, with clarity: “The Court finds that it would be detrimental to the minors should they be removed from the mother’s primary care; the Court grants Petitioner/Mother’s request to move with the minors to the state of Colorado…Court dismissed.” I, again, had a thousand emotions hit me all at once…but this time, I was able to exhale and know that, finally, the start of our family life together was imminent.
It was a long, arduous battle, but one I knew was the right decision for both me, and my children (the past 14 years is proof positive of that!). This brings me to, “why,” I am writing this Father’s Day tribute to my husband. It’s not often we hear of accolades to the silent “hero’s” of our children – their “step-parent!” And why is this? Shouldn’t it be plentiful since “Blended families” are now considered the most common form of a “family unit” in America, with 2,100 blended families forming each day? Over 65% of Americans are directly touched by a “step-family” scenario. I think it’s time we celebrated these “silent hero’s” who have stepped up, and who have stepped into the role of the absentee parent (or, not as involved parent) to protect, to provide for, and to help raise our children!
Although Bruce Willis wasn’t/isn’t an absentee father, Ashton Kutcher, who we all know married Willis’s “die-hard” petite-beauty, ex-wife, Demi Moore (standing at a mere 5’4”), is a wonderful step-dad to Moore’s & Willis’s kids (who look like they will be following in their mother’s footsteps as “petites”). All three adults have marveled about how they are all just “one big happy family.” Willis is even quoted in saying, “I’m still suspiciously in awe of how well the blended family seems to function!”
Another great example of the “un-normal” Hollywood blended family is the lovely, petite, Diane Lane and hunk-a-hunk-a-man, Josh Brolin – he’s quoted saying, “We all get along with each other; all the kids and our exes. It’s a modern day marriage.” If only that was the case for mine *sighs.*
Being “Wrong,” can be so “Right!”
When my ex and I separated and I knew divorce was impending, my biggest question and fear was, “How could I ever trust someone around my kids (if I were to date or get involved with someone again)?” My second question and fear was thinking, “Nobody will ever want me…or want to take on a ready-made family, and the baggage that comes with divorce.” Well, thank God for being “wrong!”
The story of “how” I met Randy is very interesting and unique (well, probably not by today’s standards, but definitely extreme for back then). People have told me that it sounds like an action-packed-comedy-love-story, and that I should write a book about it “all.” Perhaps I will. But for now, I will pick up at the point of when Randy first met my children. We had been dating for 3 months before we decided to introduce them, to him – the anticipation for me was so overwhelming! Although, at the time, Randy had been a children’s advocate for 12 years, and I knew he volunteered at a home for neglected and abused children (clearly, being very capable of interacting with kids), I was very nervous not knowing what kind or reaction to expect from my 5 year old daughter (my son was only 1 ½ years old, so I knew that would go fine).
Holding my Breath and Crossing my Fingers – The Introduction
I couldn’t believe my eyes! When Randy told me that, for some reason, kids and pets were like magnets to him, he wasn’t kidding! Almost instantly, my cat was on his lap, my daughter was putting barrettes all in his hair (and painted his nails later on) and my son curled up next to him, on what space was left, to drink his bottle. I remember standing back and seeing how this man interacted with my children, I took it all in, and knew this was the man I was going to marry!
Promises of a “Father”
May 27th, 2000, Randy and I got married, and on that day, he not only made vows to me, but looked each of my precious babies in their eyes and made vows to them; vowing to always “be there” for them, no matter what…“to protect them, comfort them and teach them, for as long as they live.” He then solidified his promises by presenting to my daughter, a little green emerald ring, and to my son, a “blending of families” medallion necklace. Believe me, there wasn’t a dry-eye in the house! It touched my heart so deeply.
He has been the one to teach them all the little things that kids need to learn growing up, like, how to tie their shoes, how to swim, how to ride their bikes…all with patience and diligence; he’s been to every major doctor appointment, every talent show, every art show, every teacher conference and most field trips…no matter how busy his schedule may have been (he’s a private-practicing attorney, so one can imagine the demands).
He’s been there through every heartbreak, every toothache, and every fever… sitting at the emergency room, sometimes for hours – never complaining, always supporting. He’s been there for every school dance, every “new dress,” and every new adventure that came their way…always eagerly providing them with opportunities, love, and support…unconditionally!
Blended-Families = “FAMILY!”
It does not take blood to make a family, and as I always say, “Proof is in the pudding!” Nobody ever believes we are a “blended” family because they see the amazing bond Randy has with Alex and Noah. The children have never referred to Randy as their “step-dad,” nor has Randy referred to them as his “step-children” (except when legalities call for it). We are simply “family,” in all sense of the word – Dad, Mom, Daughter and Son! I celebrate all the blended-families out there, and give heartfelt thanks, full of love and gratitude to my husband, Randy! What more could a woman ever want in a “father” for her kids?!” Absolutely NOTHING! Happy Father’s Day!
Written By: Tana Corporon
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