20 Mar Again We Are Three
Our last week with Sweet Baby Boy was a difficult one for more reasons than our impending goodbye. Proud Foster Bro caught a nasty cold, which went around our household one-by-one. So, we were all short on sleep, patience, and energy in addition to time. Not the best atmosphere for relishing our remaining days together, but we did our best to get in as many cuddles and quality family time as possible.
I spent the first part of the week on auto-pilot, simply reacting to challenges as they came. By mid-week I became more emotional, finally letting the tears flow and allowing myself the space to begin processing everything. (I can never go too long without analyzing things in painstaking detail.)
We had heard from other Angels foster parents that the anticipation is brutal. It was. Furthermore, it was hard to know how much Sweet Baby Boy could comprehend. He probably sensed something was amiss, but to him it was just another week (albeit a trying one with the coughing and sniffles). He couldn’t possibly understand that he wouldn’t come back home at weekend’s end. We wondered what would go on in that little head of his after the reunification. Will he think that we have abandoned him? When will he realize that he is not coming back? These thoughts were unbearable.
On reunification day, Proud Foster Bro, Supportive Husband and I drove Sweet Baby Boy to his mom and said our goodbyes. She was full of joy and excitement. Somehow we held in our tears until walking back to the car. Then it became real: we were again three.
It is hard to know when exactly the grief began – it felt like we had been grieving for a while already – but after this decisive day we could at least let the healing begin. Over the weekend we spent a lot of time doing things as a family: going to the park, having a movie night, going out for a special dinner.
For me, the hardest day was Monday when I walked my son to school stroller-less, answered many “where is the baby?” questions from other parents, and came home to an empty house (save for the dog, which was in fact a great source of company and comfort). I had so many items on my to-do list, but none seemed remotely appealing to tackle. I decided to indulge myself, curl up on the couch with our pup and watch a favorite movie.
Over the course of the next week I kept myself busy. I volunteered in my son’s classroom, went to friends houses and ran a lot of errands. I also listened to a lot of Regina Spektor songs – the really sad ones – and allowed myself some wallowing-time. Music has always been a way for me to connect, feel and process experiences. It is such a powerful catalyst for emotion… plus it makes a home feel not quite so still and empty when you are alone.
As the weeks have gone by we have begun to find a new normal and settle back into our family of three. The foundation of our family and home – our unconditional love, support, and togetherness – remains strong. It has been strong enough to weather the ups and downs, the conflicting emotions and the loss and grief of our fostering experience.
Perhaps it will be strong enough to foster again.