Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thanks to Ruth Lynn Estep

All of us in the Stout-Moran household want to extend our thanks to Ruth Lynn Estep. Ruth is the lawyer the court assigned to represent Andrea and Bram in our most recent court proceedings; as the lawyer for the children her job is to advocate not what one or the other of the parents want, but what she thinks is in the best interests of the children. Obviously we think she did that, and more to the point, Andrea and Bram think she did that.

We spent more than a decade in Los Angeles Family Court prior to Ruth's introduction to this case, and during that entire decade, never met a single person as conscientious and hard working as Ruth. She is the only person in a decade plus to actually read the documents associated with this case, to speak to the children at sufficient length to understand their perspectives and experiences, and to then communicate that to the court.

We deeply appreciate it. Thank you.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

the six inches in front of your face

I don't know what to say really.
Three minutes
to the biggest battle of our professional lives
all comes down to today.
we heal
as a team
or we are going to crumble.
Inch by inch
play by play
till we're finished.
We are in hell right now, gentlemen
believe me
we can stay here
and get the shit kicked out of us
we can fight our way
back into the light.
We can climb out of hell.
One inch, at a time.

Now I can't do it for you.
I'm too old.
I look around and I see these young faces
and I think
I mean
I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make.
I uh....
I pissed away all my money
believe it or not.
I chased off
anyone who has ever loved me.
And lately,
I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror.

You know when you get old in life
things get taken from you.
That's, that's part of life.
you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches.
So is football.
Because in either game
life or football
the margin for error is so small.
I mean
one half step too late or too early
you don't quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast
and you don't quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in ever break of the game
every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch
On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us
to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know
when we add up all those inches
that's going to make the fucking difference
between WINNING and LOSING
between LIVING and DYING.

I'll tell you this
in any fight
it is the guy who is willing to die
who is going to win that inch.
And I know
if I am going to have any life anymore
it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch
because that is what LIVING is.
The six inches in front of your face.

Now I can't make you do it.
You gotta look at the guy next to you.
Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you.
You are going to see a guy
who will sacrifice himself for this team
because he knows when it comes down to it,
you are gonna do the same thing for him.

That's a team, gentlemen
and either we heal now, as a team,
or we will die as individuals.
That's football guys.
That's all it is.
Now, whattaya gonna do?

Happy Days ...

It's taken over a decade, but seven days after my number 2 daughter turned 18, freeing herself from the clutch of the Los Angeles Family Court system forever ... the court ruled that Bram, my 13 year old son, no longer had to have any contact with his biological father.

The boy is safe, and free, at long, long last.

More later, but all of you who've written over the years, offering advice or merely support -- many thanks.

Nusquam bonus venio ut Moran est inter, or so I hear. Considering the source, this is probably the nicest thing anyone's ever said about me.

I want to brag about the kids -- Alex is starting her second year at Cal Berkeley. Despite my income she got a partial scholarship this year because she performed so well last year; and she has two years of credits, after one year of college, because she performed so well on her AP classes in high school she got nearly a year's credits from it. Andrea is starting her last year of high school; last year she finished with a 4.3 GPA. Bram finished the seventh grade with straight A's. I don't really believe in grading on a curve -- the world doesn't care what trauma you had to get through to get the job done -- but certainly it speaks to the character of all them that they've done so well, and turned out so well, despite the death of their youngest brother and the presence of the monster in their lives.

I'm proud of you all.