How do you measure, measure a year? – Seasons of Love -Rent
It’s been a year today.
I’m no longer a newbie which means I can’t hide behind the label of “New Foster Mom.” Thank God and Oh Shit rolled into one. The training wheels are off.
Before any of my bio children get their feelings all worked up unnecessarily, I need to preface what I’m sharing is all about me and my growth and nothing in regards to motherhood. When my bios came into my world, I understood the phenomena of unconditional love for another. In the last year, I have learned unconditional love for myself.
I’m going to make this easy-peasy for those of you who don’t like to deal with the heavy duty stuff. I am a PTSD type of gal. That means I will break out in a sweat, stutter, shake and sometimes wake up to the occasional night terror. Apparently, the best way to ensure a child earns this particular title is to torture, sexually abuse and treat the child like cattle. I had adults in my childhood who were good at all of the above. Yey me!
So back to this year being all about me. The little ones came to us with food issues, bathroom issues and violence issues. I’m not too sure this is what the doc ordered for a PTSD gal, but it somehow worked.
I remember looking down at the kiddos with their unkempt hair and skin and thinking “What the heck?” Why did someone entrust me with their precious care? In addition to my normal over-the-top fears in life, I now had to deal with wondering when “they” are going to realize I’m not the right foster mom. I’m still not sure who “they” were, but I could feel them lurkin’ in the shadows.
But…(and I always tell my son not to start sentences with but). But….here I am a year later.
“They,” instead of removing the kiddos, lavished me with compliments. “We have never seen kids thrive so fast.” “Michelle, you are making such a difference in their lives.” Every word of these sweet compliments resonated in my soul. Me? Making a difference? Once inflicted via these foreign words, I did what a girl had to do and called my therapist.
There are many parts to being a foster mom and one part is going to court. Up to that first date, I kinda put my head into the sand and had put my focus into being a parent/teacher. It was working until I wasn’t able to unhear what was said in court. Like Old Faithful, my stupid PTSD started to bubble. The testimony was too close to home.
Don’t get me wrong, it never left the back of my mind where these kids came from; its just that, in the front of my mind I was concentrating on raising future college graduates.
I had to question myself again as my past anxiety crept up. Am I the right person for the job?
There was a nice gentleman at church who asked if the kiddos were adopted before he bent down to tell my young foster son he was beautiful. He left me with “You know he has white around his mouth and he needs to be moisturized.” My halo slid off of my head as he walked away with the swag I wished I had. My friends, there are some tough audiences out there!
Relax! I grew a pair with the help of my awesomesauce therapist (Awesomesauce is my kiddos’ favorite word. I have an arsenal of tools to prevent these situations from permeating my sensitive skin thanks to her.
Another thing that happened to me over this last year…other foster moms. OMG! God sent me lifelines. Oh yes He did! Just when I thought I couldn’t take another minute, a much needed delicious hug came from a person who knew exactly what I was going through. Look folks, if you haven’t tried a hug from a foster mom, you just ain’t livin’. Their arms, whether young, old, skinny or fluffy are the most amazing drug in the entire world.
6 months in and I finally felt like the wild horse I had been riding was calming down. All day kindergarten combined with the best teacher in the whole wide world may have been the clincher. When the kindergarten teacher called me in for a conference I started feeling my old anxiety creepin’. I was positive she was going to enlighten me as to how I wasn’t the right person for the kids. To my surprise, she instead held up an 8’’ x 10” photo of my little guy. “Do you see the smile in this picture?” she asked. I slowly nodded my head, “You Put It There,” she proudly announced. Folks, it was a gusher. She has been one of my best cheerleaders ever since!
Today it’s been a year. I’m a funny gal who happens to have PTSD, not the other way around. I have watched myself grow into the legacy-leavin’ person I promised myself I would become. With the help of my family, friends, community, we are all enjoying the giggles of 3 little kiddos who make us forget the word impossible exists. Who could ask for more?