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.
“I’m selling the shop,” he said. “With places like these, you never know what kind of offer will come when you’re finally ready, so if you get one that’s any good, you have to take it.” A week later, he walked out the door into retirement and my beloved heroine was left slumped over a laptop, deflated once again.
The naked baby bird lay nearly motionless on the ground, opening its beak every minute or so, the periods in between movements so long that more than once I was convinced it was finally dead. My youngest two boys were on either side of me, peering at the hatchlings gasping on the ground. My oldest son stood back by the swing set, hands to mouth, looking down.
There is a little boy who lives at our house. He sleeps in the corner of our bedroom cuddled under the fleece of hand-me-down blankets inside a well-loved crib. The teeth marks of our three children decorate the railing. A sad gray bunny sits at the foot of the mattress keeping watch.
Yesterday, I cried into the arms of my six-year-old. We were on snow day 12 or maybe 27. I’d long since lost count. We'd been riddled with fevers and vomit and rashes and runny noses since the onset of winter.
Mama, you need rest. You need a space of your own to know what you know and feel what you feel, sheltered from the eyes and the point of a finger, away from that obligatory smile and laugh and nod along to sentiments that do not move you.
It always comes down to time and space. The arguments, the frustration, the short-tempered snaps and quick tick of the clock working against us. I want a night out. My husband has a hockey game. The sink is full of dishes. Our oldest has homework. Need to put the laundry away. Parents are coming to... Continue Reading →
Last week I prayed for calm. I prayed to be a loving mother as I glared at my small children, their blinking blue eyes looking back at me, curious boys wondering where their nice Mommy had gone. Who was this shell of a Mommy sitting before them, threatening to crack right there on the living room floor?