Good-byes are never easy, right? Even if you know where a child is going, there’s no shame in how hard a good bye in the foster care system may be. There’s no hiding that it will come back and hit your heart hard, even years later.
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Mostly, I love it. Sometimes though, it reminds me of days that I would rather not be forced to remember about. One of those days is today. Our “un-gotcha” day. Reunification day. The day our family became seven again, after 77 days of being a family of eight.
My sweet boy, I often wonder if you remember anything about those days. I wonder if your memories ever pop up with a brunette woman, with a baby on her hip, running after you. I pray sometimes you do. It’s a selfish prayer, I know. It’s selfish of me to hope you remember what may have been the worst three months of your life-simply because I want you to remember me.
But…even with how selfish it may be? I do. I pray, some nights, you remember me rocking you. That your dreams are sometimes graced by a big brother and a little brother, the three of you sitting in the leaves. I wonder if you remember your favorite thing to do was pull beards and listen to me sing-the only person ever who enjoyed my voice. I hope you still are read to at night, that you enjoy your books the way you used to.
I pray that if you ever ask the question, who is this woman, you are told the truth. Not only for my sake, but for your fathers as well. I pray that he someday sits with you and explains this time. Because I am so proud of him and I think you deserve to be too as you grow up.
I pray you’re both still well. That life has been good to you all, as you grow and change and move on. I pray that our 77 days together not only shaped my life but the life of everyone around you. I often wonder what it was like for you when you first went home. I wonder if you cried for me that night, or if you felt like everything in your life was right again.
I cried for you.
Some of the tears were happy tears. Your story is one for the books. It’s one of strength. It’s one of courage and grace and redemption. I was so happy to see you leave. I was so excited to know you would spend Christmas with people who fought so darn hard for you.
But some tears were ones of sadness. Because, even as I write this now, I miss you. I miss your pretty blue eyes and your infectious smile. I may have only been your mom for 77 days, a temporary mom, one who always knew she was only temporary, but you were my son for those days. You were a child who I tucked in at night and made breakfast in the morning. I can still remember your favorite drinks. I can still remember how much you hated your diaper, but would not go on the potty. I remember carrying you into the bedroom and putting you into the crib. I remember your hugs.
Remembering you doesn’t always hurt. Sometimes remembering you ends up with me giggling. We found a hat we accidentally kept last week, while taking out the winter stuff. Princess yelled out “That belongs to Chuckie!” and we paused to giggle at our memories of you. Sometimes, remembering you reminds me of a magic that still exists in this world. A magic I forget from time to time, because foster care isn’t always these wonderful reunification stories.
But I also cried into that hat. The complex feelings of being so happy for someone, but missing them so much are enough to make anyone cry a little. Sometimes those tears flow over a cookie monster hat. Sometimes it’s from a song. But the pain…it comes in waves.
77 days. I held you for 77 days and I will love you for far more. Here we are, two years later, and I still love you so much it hurts.
I’m still praying for you, my little baby boy. Praying for you all, every day. Happy reunification day! I hope life is still glowing. I hope your still giggling that sweet little giggle. And I pray you know that you are so so loved.