It almost seems impossible that it has been a month since I’ve written here, but trust me, that knowledge has not escaped me. I think about it all the time. There’s a strange combination of guilt, relief, and general ambivalence about it that is running through my mind. I don’t know if I will be able to adequately explain why I haven’t been writing, but I’ll try.
First, there are the obvious reasons – I haven’t been able to workout much since my shoulder surgery, so there’s nothing to write about there. I did actually start running again last week, but I’m doing a whopping 3 miles a few times a week, so…I feel like you can live without updates on that for the time being. I am thinking about training for a race again, though! Maybe even a marathon? Stay tuned!
Second, we got a new foster care placement on November 29 – an 8 year old boy. This experience has been very different than our first placement in many ways, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the challenging hustle and bustle of the first 30 days. Getting set up for school and aftercare, doing all of the initial appointments (doctor, dentist, and much more), keeping up with court and meetings – it’s a lot. Add that into the holidays, plus me still going to physical therapy multiple times per week with my shoulder and well…there’s not a whole lot of free time! But we all know I’ve never been a person who has a whole lot of free time, so by and large, that’s just an excuse.
I think the real reason I have been quiet on the blog and on social media for the past month is because this placement feels much different and much more personal than our last one. Last time, we knew that it was likely to be a short-term situation. This time, we are expecting the opposite. The details of our kiddo’s short life are heavy stuff. The tiny tragedies of foster care are with us every hour of the day and honestly, it’s not something I feel super comfortable writing a lot about. On my birthday, we went to pick up my birthday cake and he said, “Do you have a cake for your birthday every year?” I told him that yes, I do, and he got very quiet. “I’ve never had a birthday cake,” he said. “I’ll make sure you have one on your next birthday – any flavor you want,” I told him. “But what if I don’t live with you next year?” he asked. “I’ll do my best to find a way,” I said. But he’s right. What if? There are a million “what ifs” in foster care and virtually no guarantees.
There are many sad moments that he doesn’t even know are sad. We said something about Disney World in a conversation and he didn’t know what Disney World was. He’s not used to getting new toys, so when we wheeled out the brand new bike we got him for Christmas, he said “But I already have a bike?” He’s right – he does – but it is 2 sizes too small and was generously donated by our neighbor. Three hours later, he gave me a big hug and said “I love my new bike so much. I can’t believe it is mine.” I just held him and told him he deserved it, because he does.
AJ and I were talking and we realized that this time last year, we were in Eastern Europe about to ring in the New Year. We had a trip to New Zealand coming up, and I hadn’t yet made the decision to go to Africa or hike the Tour du Mont Blanc. One year later and we have an 8 year old living in our house and celebrating the holidays with us! It’s crazy what can happen in a year. Who knows what 2018 will bring?