You recall Paul's friend Ethan was taken by his father after years of unpleasant custody battles. Roughly two weeks ago the FBI arrested Ethan's father in New Zealand. Ethan had to stay in protective custody for a night, but his mother (who had flown to NZ as soon as the FBI told her they had traced him there) got him back the next day.
We all found this out last Tuesday, as Paul's class was preparing for their field trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific. So of course I cried right there at Paul's school, because how could I not cry, and Ethan was so happy to see his friends again (although I won't pretend everything will go right back to normal for him - that was 4 months of being on the run with his father), and everybody wanted to hug him or rub his head or touch him. It was quite a mob scene.
Yesterday we had a playdate at another friend's house. Ethan, being a kid, smacked into the sliding glass doors and had a spectacular crash. He didn't cry, shook it off, and had only a little cut under his nose. I thought his mother completely overreacted, making him count fingers on her hand, insisting on Neosporin and a band-aid for an incredibly small cut, constantly watching him and worrying that maybe he had a concussion, calling her husband to ask his opinion... and then I understood. She's absolutely paranoid and who can blame her? Her kid was missing for four months. He's not entirely happy to be away from his Dad, who of course he loves. She told us she hasn't slept more than an hour straight since he came home (and I'm sure she wasn't sleeping well for those 4 months, either), that she's like the mother of a newborn, getting up every 30 minutes to make sure her baby is still alive, that her baby is still there.
There is so much in this life that I wish nobody ever had to go through. I hope someday this can all be forgiven and Ethan can have something close to a normal relationship with both of his parents. But I'm not sure that will happen. I just have to do the best I can for everybody I'm responsible for.