I had my first jury duty experience a few weeks ago.
I have been called 4 other times but never served. I was called once when I was attending college out of state and excused. I was called for the week of my wedding and excused. I was called at a time my boss considered me an 'essential employee,' and her letter got me excused. And I was called when I was a parent to a 3 year old with diabetes and was excused as her primary caregiver.
This time I had to go. Yes, I'm still a caregiver to a kid with diabetes, but
a. She needs significantly less care-giving than she did at 3 and
b. The amount of documentation I would have needed to submit to prove she needed me had grown exponentially in the past ten years.
But she does still need me, which became the tricky part.
I'm o.k. leaving her home alone for brief periods of time, but only if I'm only a few minutes away, and if we're able to text or call easily.
So on the morning of day 1, we rose extra early so she could eat a counted and bolused-for breakfast and be dropped at a neighbor's (who was very generous to welcome her at 7:30 a.m.). I drove the 30 minutes to the courthouse. I was then alternately able to be completely in touch with my phone in hand in the jury holding room, or completely forbidden from cell phone use when taken into a courtroom for jury selection.
Therefore my husband was on call for the two days. He is able to problem solve basic issues, but I'm usually the go-to diabetes person (as evidenced by my being conferenced in after my recent accident). So he was anxious about the situation. Also of concern was that he's an hour plus commute away during the day, so should a true emergency arise, there would be a long time to wait.
I arranged for grandpa to be here the first day when she got home since we had a quick turn-around before the evening's school concert. The second day she went home with a friend.
The good news is that I did not end up on a jury. The other good news was that no diabetes issues arose.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how I would possibly serve on a jury. Or whether I would need to be excused. Would anyone believe I was challenged by finding child care for my teenager? Would they understand the need to be accessible during the day? Would it seem implausible that I field phone calls from my child at school or during after school activities a couple of times every week?
Explaining my life to anyone, let alone an absolute stranger at the courthouse, is always a daunting task. It's a unique situation of needing to be accessible 'just in case,' and never knowing when that moment might occur.