It is the week of the Fourth, and COVID or not, Americans are traveling. My family is no exception. We pack our bags, jigsaw the backend of our gas-guzzling SUV until everything fits, then wait an extra hour on a last-minute package from Amazon. It is nothing if not American.
Every night, I tuck four little boys into beds. I kiss droopy eyelids, tips of noses, and brush my lips across the skin of silken brows. I inhale their sweaty boy scent and hold on to it as long as I can. I often fall asleep, my nose in their hair, tiny feet jammed in my abdomen until the calm between dreams and dawn when I drag my tired body up the stairs and into my own bed. But there are some nights when I can’t bring myself to leave them as the dark whispers things no mother wants to hear. I wake at 3 a.m., arm asleep under a toddler’s neck, drool pooled in the folds of my elbow, and I lie paralyzed, convinced that only my body can protect them from whatever dangers await. And so, I stay.
He drops our groceries on the front porch, like he has almost every Saturday since the world shut down. We’ve already had one hospital scare and we’re doing what we can to avoid another. As such, our friend takes our order every Friday and delivers the goods the following morning. In times like these, it’s a godsend to have a village, even a socially distanced one.
After my first child was born, a question entered my headspace that I could never quite shake. It swirled around in there, never really landing, never really taking hold. Then my second was born, and with him came months of worry over medical concerns that thankfully resolved within his first year. But that premature birth had my husband and I wondering if we should risk trying for number three. Maybe a different path would be better the next go-round.
We are rebels charging down a two-lane highway. We are free. The radio blares. Kids buckled snugly in the back ask every few minutes where we’re going. We don’t answer. We’re just driving, and it feels good. This current crash course in introversion has been rough.
The thermometer reads 103.4, so I swipe it across his forehead again. 104 shouts the digital screen. I scan a third time. This one drops to 102.8, but which is right? His breathing is labored and respirations have quickened far past his normal rhythm. He is asthmatic and too young to relay what is happening... Continue Reading →
“Mom, did you know…(grunt)…when I was three…(grunt)…I got poop stuck…(sigh)…on my butt?” his enormous eyes blink and head tilts to see if I truly grasp the magnitude of this experience he’s sharing.
I am standing in a minefield of spilled blueberries. My foster son gnaws at a banana in the grocery cart, smashed fruit littering his face and the gaps between the fallen berries on the floor. In my wallet sits a state issued Bridge Card waiting to be used, but the moment the flimsy carton busts... Continue Reading →
I am not a saint…and frankly, it isn’t even something I aspire to be. But this is the go-to description when people discover we are foster parents, and it occurs to me that as compliments are showered upon us, onlookers might get the impression that in order to foster, one must be extraordinary or special or saintly. We are none of these things.
Five of us sit, silent in a 10 x 10 hospital room. Our foster son is on an operating table down the hall having a minor procedure which feels major given the previous months of recurring illness and sleepless nights. We are hoping this one finally does the trick. The last procedure, six months prior, brought little improvement.