My family and I have been watching Christmas movies in droves this year. Central in all of these movies is the idea of hope, though sometimes it’s buried so deep it’s not realized until just before the credits. Chevy Chase hopes his annual bonus will be sufficient to cover the cost of the pool he’s already put a deposit on in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye hope they can rescue their old General’s ski lodge in White Christmas. We all hope that Bill Murray will find his heart in the Christmas Carol adaptation Scrooged (can you believe someone ranked that the #1 holiday movie of all time!?!?). We may even catch ourselves hoping the Kranks are successful in Skipping Christmas (though you don’t have to admit it). Countless children’s classics hope that Santa is indeed real, that they’ll get that bb gun they’ve always wanted on Christmas morning, and even that an oversized elf’s biological father can get off of Santa’s naughty list. Even Maureen O’Hara’s skepticism gives way to hope that Kris is really Santa in Miracle on 34th Street.
Family law is a story of hope throughout the year. Sure, there is a destructive component to much of it. And that’s the low hanging fruit snatched by many who can’t sit still past the first scenes. But for those that can wait it out and stay awake, there is abundant hope. Hope for the newly formed family in an adoption case. Hope for a child in an untenable home situation in a modification of custody case. Hope for everyone in the anger and hurt filled home zig zagging through a divorce. People often ask me how we can stomach family law. And certainly, the first few scenes they’re familiar with aren’t pleasant. But we have directed so many of these productions that we know the hope that exists, even at the desperate beginnings, and it is our life’s work to realize that hope, story after story after story.
Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. May next year be one of hope for you, in whatever form that takes.