This is my third year installing a new package of bees. I have hopes that I’ve sufficiently learned from the failures of the first and second year to be able to quip that the third time is indeed the charm. We’ve moved the location of the hive to a sunnier spot (although a truly sunny location is absent in our backyard). Conveniently, that sunny location is near a window in the house… which means that our foster kiddos got to see something few people really get to see in person: beekeepers in action.
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.
Maintaining and cultivating a Jewish household is important to me. Naturally, everyone has different ideas of what that means, but celebrating Jewish holidays is a cornerstone of what my Jewish household means. We will celebrate other holidays at other people’s houses, much like we celebrate another person’s birthday though it is not our own.
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.
One of my foster kiddos is turning 18 in May. She’s nearly an adult, and we’re trying to ensure that we’re helping her acquire some valuable life skills while she’s living with us. We’re all hoping that she’ll be reintegrated with her family before she turns 18, but we can still teach her fundamental life skills… like planning for a week’s worth of groceries and appreciating the cost of those groceries.
You’ve been given 20 minutes to collect everything you hold dear to you in a backpack and leave. That 20 minutes includes time to process the shock and alarm and be spurred into action. You forget enough socks. Heck, you don’t even know how many socks you need in the first place. You cannot say no. You try to say no, but you fail. Twenty minutes have passed, and you’re taken away from your house, your school, your school, your community, your whole world. You’re over an hour away from everything you love, and you do not know when you’ll be permitted to go back… if you’ll be permitted at all.
Now imagine you’re a senior in high school. In January. You are worried about graduating, your job, your cellphone bill.
What would you have taken? What would you have chosen to leave behind? What would you have forgotten?
As foster parents, we never know what to expect. We’re licensed for kiddos from birth to eighteen, though we’re more interested in taking kiddos four and up right now. Still, that’s a large range in kiddos. You don’t know whether the kiddo will like peas or carrots or accept with magnanimity that we never buy bread from the store because my husband bakes all our bread.