At the beginning of December I stumbled across a fabulous coat sale at Macy's So I bought my kiddos coats and also some for the Fab Four as well. I haven't seen them since July but we have Facebooked and texted here and there. So I totally guessed at the sizes.
The weekend I had planned to give them the coats we were supposed to go to the indoor Waterpark with them. Then Solana came, all of us were sick and it just seemed to hard to make it happen. So the coats sat here because the Fab Four live an 1 1/2 away now and it's too hard to get out there with 5 kids and all the other stuff we have going on.
We had had a pretty mild winter so far but the temps in Chicago dropped way down this weekend and I wanted to get the coats to the kids. Hubby volunteered to bring them out there and we face timed for a good 20 minutes.
Jelly Bean and Gabby had the most to say. I actually haven't seen Jelly Bean since June and she has hit puberty which was a little shocking for me. She is in 6th grade now and seems to be doing well. She mentioned her and Gabby are getting along better (they are now in the same school) but that she doesn't have any really good friends at school. (This doesn't surprise me. Jelly Bean has a hard time with her emotions and social appropriateness.) She of course asked to see Solana because she loves babies .
Gabby told me she quit band. She's got solid Bs so far for 8th grade and she chopped her hair off. She shared that they are moving to a rented house next month and she's worried about making new friends.
Mr. Mohawk was actually more interested in talking than normal. He of course asked to see the dog even though he didn't remember the dog's name. He spent some time showing me some things and spoke about school. When I said goodbye and told him Ioved and I missed him, he shrugged and said "goodbye".
I have to say, that moment was a little hard as I've watched my own kids do the same thing to Sheila. He doesn't remember me as his Mom. He has no connection to me, other than through his sisters, and therefore he doesn't love or miss me. I suppose I feel grateful that he doesn't remember foster care but the part of me that stayed up with him through nightmares, and stomach flu and wiped his chocolate frosting smears off the walls misses that little boy. Of course, that little boy no longer exists either. It's a very odd thing.
Little Mama did have much to say. She said hi and then went to her room. Which I suppose is normal for a teenager.
Hubby called on the way home. He was very upset and crying. (He doesn't not cry. My grandmother's funeral, when the kids left, and the few times we've seriously discussed divorced are pretty much it.) I normally don't share his feelings (because they are his) but I think this illustrates how hard this can be. We talked about why he was so upset. He said he felt distant while there. He said he didn't know if it was like that because they have moved on without us or if it was where they have moved on to. The life they lead is very different from ours and it reminded him that the dreams we dreamt for them while they were "ours" are not the dreams we hold for them now.
Maria is doing as well as she can and is hoping to move to a rented house next month. She dreams of buying it which is amazing and so far from where she was 2 years ago. But it means a school change for the kids and further from her support network and that could be hard on the family and their stability.
I pointed out its been almost 6 months since we've seen them and the last time it was in the role as "parent". I also pointed out that seeing them may have ripped off the bandaid covering the grief of their leaving and with Solana having a return home goal, that some of the fear about her leaving was probably bubbling to the surface.
Everyone always says, "I don't know how you can say goodbye. It would be so hard." And the truth is, it is. And it continues to be. We made the best of it and when they went home our biggest fear was they would disappear and we wouldn't know where they were in the world. I think it's hard to see them now because they have, to some degree, disappeared. The children who lived with us only exist in our hearts. In the photos that captured those moments. Now we can only standby and watch.
The idea that we may have to have this same experience with Solona is terrifying. I cannot begin to explain how quickly and completely I loved her the minute she was placed in my arms. And the same goes for Hubby, who never, ever wanted a baby. I think it shocked him, actually and I think the possibility that one day we will have to hand her over and then pick ourselves up really scares him too.
So we cried together on the phone trying to understand these emotions that come out of nowhere. These are emotions no one ever talks about in the training. This is what after the goodbye is like. It still fucking sucks. Not as much as not knowing anything at all, but it still sucks.
I HATE the not knowing part of foster care and we thrusted ourselves right back into it. We spoke with the therapist at length about this, this week. She said we have to do what's best for Solana. And what's best is to be all in so that her attachment to caregivers is healthy and strong. And I have thrown my whole self into it. It came so much easier than it did when the kids came to live with us. But here is my deep dark secret: what if she goes home and I get knocked down so hard, I can't get back up? The therapist told me not to "borrow trouble" which was excellent advice. However, we were so broken when the Fab Four left and this time it's not just Hubby and me.
I know our reasoning was sound and I have faith it's all going to be ok because we've come this far. But if I'm being really honest, these thoughts have been weighing on me and seeing the Fab Four brought them out in the open.