As I was finishing writing my post about the changes to my family that resulted from honest, healthy, and very adult conversations about feelings, wishes, and values, my foster children were already gone. Yes, gone. Shortly after I hit publish, one of the alarm clocks for the girls went off… and off… and off. So, I went to see what the deal was, and both girls were just gone.
Over the last two weeks and over the next month, my family of the last four and seven months is disintegrating. We had some major traumatic life events occur, including the hospitalization of one of our kiddos. One particularly awful night, both kiddos disparaged our home and lifestyle out of anger and frustration (intentionally and perhaps not so intentionally). They said that they didn’t choose to live here and didn’t want to live here.
One of our foster kiddos has been living apart from her siblings since she came into foster care. She briefly lived with one of them, but she’s been separated from them for far too long. She misses them intensely. Two of her siblings recently moved to a group home in town. After several texts and conversations, we got the go ahead for us to take the girls out together or have them over to our house.
After we dug up our potatoes, we had 33 pounds of them that needed to find temporary homes to cure for storage. We desperately need a root cellar in our house or a make-do root cellar outside somewhere. Last year, we laid out the potatoes and then the sweet potatoes in a spare bedroom and stored them in a box in that closet. This year, both of our bedrooms are occupied by our (mostly) delightful teenage foster kiddos. Neither one of our girls would take too kindly to spreading out 33 pounds of potatoes on a tarp in the floor of their rooms. Nor do they have room to store them for the winter in their closets. Heck, we wouldn’t and don’t either.
Before we loaded up our rental van, I was on the verge of tears. Big tears. I didn’t even want to go on vacation. I wanted to hide in my bedroom, shut the door, and cry, cry, cry followed by a weeklong bout of sleep. I was hardly in the state of mind to begin a two-week vacation with my beloved husband, our two foster kiddos, and Marmy the Motoring Marmot. July has been a stressful wreck in-between all the work, both professional and educational, and other life changes.
I could be writing about the glorious Saturday I spent in the garden, where transplanted broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and Swiss chard and cut up more sod to lay down weed paper. I could be writing about the quality time my husband and I had when he was so thoroughly and utterly exhausted but wanted to play board games and I totally slayed at Agricola. I could be writing about my hopeful trepidation about receiving a new package of bees this afternoon. Or about how my sewing machine still isn’t working properly. Or about the latest farming book I finished. Or about the rich blue roving I’m spinning into yarn with increasing uniformity.
I have many a time reached for something sweet when I felt overwhelming waves of emotion. I’m significantly better about not reaching for a Reese’s peanut butter cups or a two-serving brownie frosted with caramel and chocolate because something has distressed me or I don’t feel good. It hasn’t been easy to overcome a lifetime of emotional eating, but I’ve made some darn good progress. Now, as a foster parent, I’m trying to teach my kiddos some of what I’ve learned.