Friday, January 27, 2017

Less Often Used Words

I'm not sure.  It's not something I feel, think or say super often.  I'll be the first to admit if I don't know something but even more often I'll look it up as soon as I realize I don't know it.  It's definitely not something I feel a lot.  I tend to steamroll into things, having planned, prepared, and thought it out ahead of time and so I rush full steam making the best of whatever life and the situation brings with no regrets and backwards glances.  Life is too short for second guessing and questioning your own judgment.

But today, I'm not sure.  I'm not sure I know how to grieve.  I'm not sure if there is a proper way.  I know there are 5 stages and even on the first night, my daughter read them from her newly acquired Christmas gift smart phone to me, informing me I'm already on Stage 4.  You see denial seems pointless to me and I did have time to prepare, anger is not something I like to embrace - so I think I spent a good 10 minutes being angry, moved quickly to bargaining and jumped right over it as it didn't seem useful to me either.  I'm not looking to change what happened, so here I am at depression?  Is that right?  Am I depressed?  Well I don't have the normal signs.  I can function for my kids, my husband, I'm sleeping fine'ish'.  Not as great as normal, but I'm an expert sleeper so no other human would look at my sleep and be worried. 

You see I'm sad because one of our foster kids went back to his bio mom.  And despite doing this more than a half dozen times already, this time it's totally different. I'm not sure if it was because he was a baby versus an older child, you see he was my first baby to foster.  I picked him up from the hospital.  So I guess only time will tell.  But it's really interesting because the level of sadness I've felt has only been matched one other time and that was when my husband and I broke up when we were dating, even then I felt so confident we would end up together it wasn't so crushing or maybe that's the softening of 17 years coming and going.

As I drove to return him to his mother, I struggled not to cry.  I didn't want my fair skin and light eyes to show any signs of crying.  I didn't want his bio mom to be robbed of one moment's joy and worry about my sadness at the return of her baby.  So I held it together. I felt happiness seeing her joy.  My heart was filled with the knowledge that this is why I foster for this moment.  And I kept it together through the exchange of stuff, details, and numbers.  It wasn't until she was settled and ready to return home that I sensed what could be awkwardness and so I said my goodbyes and rushed out.  Breathing the deep, counted breathing that has gotten me through life's biggest crisis.  But once I hit the safety of my car, I cried - the sobbing, can't breath cries of the truly heartbroken.  I drove home quickly to the safety of my home and son who had just gotten off the bus.  I lost myself in taking care of him and the monotony of life's demands. 

But moments would grab me and crush my heart and as the pain clamped down, the hiccupping sobs would surprise and overcome me.  They'd last just a few minutes, before I pulled it back together.  I made a mass announcement on social media knowing I couldn't have this conversation a hundred times in the next few days "where's the baby?"  So here I am three days later.  I'm gripped by sadness still, crying when I think about it, crying as I write this, but I'm also sniffing car seats and washed laundry still smelling baby remnants smiling happily at what my husband and daughter deem the smell of baby spit up.  But it's the smell of him and I have a piece of him still.  I happily watch videos of him and I playing, look at all the pictures and think what a marvelous opportunity this was.  And I feel unsure if I should rush into getting another baby or wait.  I feel unsure if I will ever love another baby like I did this last one. 

But ever the eternal optimist, I think I am ready to jump back in and try it again.  Not sure if I can love as much, not sure if it will be the same or different, not sure if it was the fact that he was a baby that made our bond so strong, or a preemie who clung to life, or if it was his naturally happy and mellow temperament that made our cuddle sessions into a dreamlike quality.  But I can do this again.  So does that make me at acceptance.  And was I always there.  Is acceptance the stage where I have acknowledged every aspect quickly and successively, but allowed myself to feel the pain, to cry the tears, to try again.  And even if I am shocked by surprise tears, I'm just as shocked at my resilience.

And here's hoping that when I contact his mom in a week or so that she will be open to visits, because all I really need is to see him happy to be happy.  I'll never understand how our kids become our whole hearts.  But it's what happens. So here's my declaration that I'm willing to give another piece of control of my heart to someone else.  Love your kids, love your families, love your friends and neighbors.  Go love, that is the one thing I am always sure about! 

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