Sunday, May 11, 2014

Random thoughts about my mothering experiences

When I was 19 years old (23 years ago) I was a live-in nanny to two beautiful little girls. I'll never forget when the four-year-old told me, "I wish you were my mommy and Pam was my babysitter."

21 years ago I was busy falling in love with Mr. Amazing. I met his daughter a month later when we traveled to Florida for a quick vacation so I could meet her and he could propose to me.

19 years ago that little girl was visiting us in Iowa when I suffered my first pregnancy loss. (And yes, it was exactly 19 years ago today. I don't think a lot about that miscarriage anymore but this year the grief is back just a little.) That Mother's Day was incredibly difficult for me.

17 years ago I held Herman in my arms on Mother's Day and marveled at that tiny baby that knew only me as his mother.

14 years ago Mr. Amazing and I longed for another baby. My body didn't cooperate. I found out I was pregnant the last week of May 2000. Two weeks later that baby died too.

13 years ago I felt the tug to help families strong on my heart. Mr. Amazing and I started fostering not to add to our family permanently, but to be a support to other families and to help kids. The first kiddo in our home though was my cousin. Her mom and dad took us up on an offer of unconventional respite care and TreTre moved in with us. And then the state of Iowa lost our foster care application paperwork and training information. Everything "official foster care" was stalled but I didn't care as I threw myself into trying to help my cousin. (My cousin who just so happens to have been adopted at birth from foster care.)

Almost 11 years ago we held a license to foster in the State of Iowa but no children came. Our home was opened to foster on July 1, 2003 but we didn't get our first call until October of that year.

10 years ago I held a beautiful blond baby in my arms while I'm sure his biological mom grieved. TT was mine though and I was blessed.

9 years ago today I held Bart in my arms and could barely believe my life. I was sleep deprived and so incredibly happy. I was also about to embark on a journey across this country that would prevent us from fostering for several years. Mr. Amazing and I sold our house and his job took us to several states.

7 years ago we were living in a tiny 3 bedroom duplex. The call to foster was so strong on my heart but we simply didn't have the physical space to add any more children into our home. (Minimum standard rules and all.) But then Mr. Amazing reminded me of the teen in the other half of our duplex from the hurt places that I mentored and cared for. And the kids down the street that hung out at our house all the time. And all the lives I was touching.

5 years ago we were in the beginning processes of getting our foster care license again. The home that we purchased on the border of Mexico was three times the size of the tiny duplex. It only seemed right that we fill it with children.

And this year I'm something of an emotional mess. I'm thinking of the little boy we fostered in Iowa for 6 months. I'm thinking of TurtleTurtle and MissArguePants. I'm thinking of the little girl that stayed here for less than 24 hours before she got moved to a different foster home so she could be with her sister. I'm thinking of Pumpkin. My heart is heavy with grief over Dude and Dolly. (My family feels incomplete.) My heart remembers all the kids that came into my home for respite care. I hurt for Daisy and all that she has gone through and will continue to suffer through for the rest of her life. And I ache for Ricky whose mother cancelled their visit yesterday. Ricky can't even (legally) be with the mother-figure he loves because he's in foster care and "they" think he's in an inappropriate relationship.

But I'm happy and so incredibly blessed too!!

The first thing I saw this morning was the smile from Daisy who trusts me so completely. The first words out of TT's mouth were, "Happy Mother's Day". About an hour later Bart came down and the first words out of his mouth were, "Happy Mother's Day". It was special that my two youngest thought to say those words before anything else this morning. (Believe me...if you know Bart you understand the significance in that!) Ricky struggles with words but he came down this morning to see me and went straight over to the dishwasher to empty it before he ate his breakfast. He shows his love with gifts and acts of service. The dozen roses he gave me sit in the middle of the kitchen table and I love them! Mr. Amazing got me a yummy coffee and breakfast taco because he didn't want me to make my own breakfast (and boy do I love a Laredo Taco Company taco)!!!

Today is a beautiful day. I am surrounded by love. I wish I could share today in person with my own mother and the other mothers in my family that I love so much. My family lives 1255 miles away though so phone calls will have to do.

I hope that wherever you find yourself today you're happy and loved too. Happy Mother's Day!

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