Tonight a friend from church invited us over for a casual pizza dinner. Me, the fellow, and both the girls. We ate pizza with this little family of 3 and I got teary-eyed when it was time to leave. We don’t know this family very well at all, but their invitation was a cup of cold water in the desert of foster care and motherhood.
These last few weeks have been really, really hard. Tantrum after melt-down after hysterics. I am so tired. It’s becoming normal for me to cry a tiny bit each night because another day seems just a little bit too much to handle. I’m sad at myself for being so un-Christ-like. I’m having a hard time loving these girls. I don’t enjoy my time with them. I find it hard to like them, even when others gush how cute they are.
Being in the midst of their messiness makes my longing for our first Little One even more sharply felt. I miss her every day. I constantly re-visit pictures of her and the few videos I captured on my cell phone. I wish she was mine. And I don’t feel that way about these two here now.
I’m tired of their questions, tired of their whining, tired of constantly washing peed-on sheets. These are the things they don’t teach you in foster care classes. They tell you it’s going to be hard. They don’t tell you what to do when your child is screaming with hysterics so much after a visit with birth mom that you can’t even get them buckled in their car seat. Foster care, in theory, seems very glorious. Oh the heroics of helping those who can’t help themselves. Oh the blessing of loving “needy” children. But when you have to hear that same whining question 20 times in a row, when you have no idea how to answer the question from the mail man of “where did you get them from?”, when you have more meetings and appointments in a month than you’ve had all together in your entire life, it’s not so glorious. It’s lonely. It’s a “um I was just thrown into this and I didn’t have the first 3 years of life with this child to learn how to do this.” It’s, “will I ever sit down at the dinner table without having to get up until the meal is over ever again?”. It’s “do they even stop cringing when I brush their hair?”
You can have a supportive community, but when it comes down to it, you’re the one with two young children in the process of being potty trained, at a park with no bathrooms, and no idea what other moms do. You’re the one who forgets what Peace feels like. You’re the one who is tired of saying “no”.
So dinner tonight, it was a life raft thrown to a drowning semi-mom. It was a “our kids aren’t the same age, but let’s be together” evening. It was good to see another kid screaming. It was good to see another mom saying no. This parenting thing, it’s no joke.