For 3 weeks, our foster son's older sister stayed with us.
Her foster family had a out-of-country family trip and couldn't take her with them.
It was a crazy 3 weeks, which I'm thankful that it is all over. Writing that sentence leaves me feeling relieved and guilty.
A lot of patience was required for the duration of her stay — patience that I thought I had in me. But I didn't.
I know I was terse and not as patient or nice as I could be. We had our good, fun moments. But I feel like we had a lot more not so good moments. She found more comfort with my wife than me.
The whole time, I kept thinking, “What is wrong with me?”
I mean, she's a kid. She's been through a lot. There are some obvious mental deficiencies. Knowing all that, why I just couldn't be more patient with her is beyond me.
I was thoroughly upset with her every time she did something and tried to blame her brother. She probably spent more time in time out with me than she had in her entire life time.
I keep telling myself that it would've been different — I would've been different — if this was a longer-term placement; if we were to be her foster parent and not her babysitters. And I keep telling myself that hoping that it is true and not just some form of rationalization. But, it is an excuse. It doesn't matter if we were short-term babysitters or long term foster parents. We were still her provider for a month.
I think she's relieved that she doesn't have to see me either.
Her last full day with us, after watching Dora the Explorer, I made them lunch and she started praying for lunch — something she quickly picked up staying with us.
“Thank you for lunch. Thank you for [my wife]. Thank you for [her brother]. Thank you for Dora. Thank you for Diego. Thank you for Boots. Amen.”
Then for dinner, we went over to a friend's place to celebrate my wife's birthday. The Sister in the middle of eating, looked up and gave thanks for her dinner: “Thank you for [my wife]. Thank you for [her brother]. Amen.”
This time I looked at her and said, “Hey, what about me?”
She looked at me and said, “No, thanks.”
It was pretty funny. But looking back, I can't help feel a bit guilty that she may view me as someone she couldn't be thankful for. Or some sort of mean (yet handsome) ogre. Or both (and more).
What surprises me the most is that our foster son seems relieved that she's gone. There's an extra bounce in his step that wasn't there for three weeks. And no, I'm not reading into or projecting anything. After his sister left and he woke up from his nap, I took him to my office that served as her room just to let him know that his sister went back to her home.
He looked at my office and pointed to the room and said, “JoJo” (what he calls me) letting me know that this was my room. It's been almost 6 months for him living without his sister. He's probably gotten used to getting all the attention to himself — because he does get a lot of attention for being cute and adorable. There were probably moments where he didn't appreciate having to share things with her.
What a whirlwind this past month has been. I'm glad that it's over. But I come out on the other side of these 3 weeks with things that I need to work on and be aware of.
Here's to personal growth.
2 thoughts on “When Harry Met Sally”
Hey, as a parent you have good moments, bad moments, and really bad moments. Unfortunately, the first are the most rare. However, you eventually come to the realization that you are not perfect, and you are probably less perfect than that little person you are responsible for.
So you make mistakes, you lose your temper, you set yourself up for failure and you choose the wrong battles. You wish you were better at this, that you were a better person, that you had “known better” But there is a learning curve to parenting. And you keep striving to NOT do what you did this time, next time. Yes, it’s discouraging when you feel like you keep repeating your mistakes.
The best thing about kids is their purity of heart, their souls are so filled with hope and trust. They will forgive you again and again. It is our job, as “good” parents, not to abuse that precious belief that we are doing our best, to honor their trust in us, and to continue to move forward, better educated by each encounter we have with them.
Love you, man!
The fact that she does or doesn’t like you isn’t a good indicator of you being a good parent/provider.