Although I am publishing this post the same night as the last one (Compassion) I decided to split them up. It just seems more sensible to have separate places for these two important things.
This post will reflect more of an update about life with the foster children.
I can confidently say our “honeymooning” has ended. Right after Christmas I thought the honeymoon had ended but there was still some people pleasing behavior left. Well now, here in February we ditched the filter and have tandem tantrums.
I think a lot of the behaviors we are getting to see are just mild and actually on point for development. I have read a ton of validating articles about three-nagers and the “terrible 2’s.” I have had great chats about pre-pubescent sensitivity. I am grateful for all the folks who normalize kid’s behavior. I am prone to over-analyzing things so its nice to hear when someone’s kid (non-trauma exposed) cried everyday at drop off until they were five.
I didn’t know I had that much venting In me….whew.
After all of that I hope you can hear this message. The clichéd phrase “Tomorrow is promised for no one” has been like a cloud looming overhead. I wont say dark cloud, because this cloud is really just more of a reminder than a burden. Each passing days I am reminded that these children are on loan. They are not mine to snuggle with forever. And albeit we knew that coming in to this, we are also more aware of the heaviness in that very important job duty. Children deserve to go back to their parents, better versions of their parents but while we can we should Love hard.
I think this is coming up for us because we are very aware of case plans and simultaneously aware of making future plans. In the uncertainty of what our household make up might be in a day or a week or a month it is a struggle to find resolution for the future.
In the moments of tandem tantrums and “pointless” meltdowns its hard to remember that this situation is temporary. But man, when I do remember its memory worthy.
They other day K was in her 4th meltdown of the day (it was 1pm) and she is 8. And for 30 seconds I was completely human. I sent her to her room for a break with very little compassion for her feelings. 4th meltdown. Then it must have been the Lord who smacked me over the head, because something got switched in me. I followed K to her room and rocked her. Like a baby, she sobbed. Oh, yea remember she is in foster care and she has been exposed to more shit than a kid her age should have been exposed to. I rocked her and I told her I loved her. In that moment, I embraced this temporal situation and I loved on her as hard as I could. I gave her all the positive messages she needs to hear (messages she needs everyday, for the rest of her life). I reminded her of her bravery and made space for the tears.
Jamie Lee Curtis wrote a kids book “Today I feel Silly” and my favorite page in the book says (I know it by heart) “Today I feel small, mom understands she gave me two ice creams and then we held hands. We went to the movies and then had a bite, I cried just a little and then felt alright.”
Boom. That is my role model in this temporary parenting situation. Kids get gets sad and they just need someone to be witness to their feelings (and get them
ouch ice cream).
I am hopeful I can remember that although we are just getting comfortable with one another, our days are limited.
Last story of this in application: on Valentines Day we were dancing in the living room and the Meghan Trainor/John Legend song came on “I’m gonna love you” and I happily (and tearfully) danced with H. The words sting my heart. It’s a perfect love song to my temporary children who permanently have my heart (see full video below).
So I’m gonna love you
Like I’m gonna lose you
I’m gonna hold you
Like I’m saying goodbye wherever we’re standing
I won’t take you for granted ’cause we’ll never know when
When we’ll run out of time so I’m gonna love you
Like I’m gonna lose you
I little more melodramatic that I intended this to be. But my heart cant help it. What a gift we have…knowing for sure that time is limited. I think everyday relationships take this for granted. I can hear Sharon prompting us now: Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind. (Henri Frederic Amiel)