My brother and sister-in-law came over for dinner tonight. No special reason other than I thought I had made too much corned beef. (Turns out it was a perfect amount and was very delicious.) we spent the evening chatting and catching up on life.
The conversation turned to the kids.I was talking about different they were and how well the all got along when all of a sudden it hit me that it's March 7th and they went home in April.
It had almost been a year since they lived with us. This time last year we were handling overnight visits, family meetings and talking about giving our notice.
And the sadness was overwhelming. I have no idea why, but the tears came. So I went back and read some of the posts from this time last year. I'm not sure the writing conveyed how awful I felt inside. And the band aid that was on the grief was ripped off.
At the end of it all, I still lost my kids.
There is still a hole in my heart where they were. And while I am so glad that they have been successful and I feel blessed that they are still very much apart of our lives, I miss them. And our relationship is different (as it should be). I am reminded of them all the time and it doesn't usually bring me to tears.
Maybe I blocked all of the dark time out. Maybe it's the trauma anniversary phenomenon that I'm experiencing. I had all these upcoming dates in my head and I couldn't figure out why they felt familiar. Then I matched them up with the events of last year and it made more sense. They were dates of things that happened as the Fab Four left. We have a permanency hearing for the Quartet on the day the kids started their 10 day visit for spring break. I'm going to a baby shower on the anniversary of the kids leaving.
Maybe it's the guilt of loving additional children and putting their needs ahead of the Fab Four. Or the guilt that we have so much in terms of resources, and they do not. Maybe it's the realization that a year later I'm not positioned much better to be a forever mom. While much, much better, maybe the pain will always be there in some form or fashion.
I ran into Stella's teacher this week. She was also Jelly Bean's teacher last year. She said to me, "You look really great!" And then repeated it before we parted. I thought about the compliment and thought that probably the last time I saw her was a year ago when my life felt like it was crumbling around me. I'm going to focus on how far I've come and how much I've grown but there are still moments when it's hard.
I have kids sleeping in the next room. Really great, smart, sweet, lovable kids who need a Mom. That's a pretty important reason to put all of the other parts to the side and keep trudging through foster care land. There were other kids out there who needed our help.