I've waited all my life to be a real mom. I've wanted to be the comfortable safe person I remember my Poppa being... once-upon a time.
- I've got some questions for God:
- Is it okay for babies to be born exposed to harmful drugs?
- To people who never wanted or cared for them, even in the womb?
- Did god say it was okay to molest children?
- To beat them?
- To deprive them of love and affection?
- To neglect them?
When I walk through a store with my foster daughter and foster baby boy, everyone stops and assumes these are my kids. They even look a bit like me, as all of us have dark hair. Some people start asking questions about my pregnancy, when the baby was born and so on. When it gets to this point, I can't lie and pretend, because these children aren't mine. I mention I'm a foster mother as I'm cornered with the baby birth questions. Say I can't take credit for my babies great hair - and joke what an easy pregnancy I had.
Then come the baby questions:
"Where is his mother?"
"Why is he in foster care?"
I can't answer that, life happens, things happen.
"But… how did you get him? Will you keep him? Do you want to keep him?"
Yes, I'd love to keep him, but the situation is complicated.
"That's not fair - You've had him for so long."
Yep... not fair. But, I'm a foster parent, this is my job.
"Why is he in foster care, what happened to his mother and father?"
Again, not a question I can answer.
I'm getting ready to loose it. Hormonal I guess or verging on an emotional breakdown. I keep shouting to myself in my head - Get over it…. this is something you wanted to do. You knew what foster care was. You knew what you were getting yourself into.
In the last few weeks baby peanut has learned to crawl all over the house. Each day he learns some new skill. He seeks me out whatever room I'm in, finding me without difficulty. When he does find me, he tugs at my dress/skirt/pants, whatever he can reach. He will pull off my sandals when I'm sitting down at a chair or at the sofa. He has started to babble a word that 99% resembles the word "mommy" or "mom". He even now responds to his name.
But here we are tonight - I was laying on the floor with baby peanut who is now just over six months old. We were playing with his toys, changing his focus, trying to wear him out. He was tired but just wanted to keep going, playing, climbing on me like I was a jungle gym. I picked him up and danced with him around the room to some classical music. He puts his head on my shoulder while I take the lead, twirling him around the room, dipping him and spinning him. He laughs at me and grabs on harder, taking it all in. We do the two step, then we lead into a waltz. Later after playing, we lay on the sofa together. I was talking to him about what parts of his body were most ticklish. I poked him gently in different spots, trying to pin down magic locations, each time he lets out tremendous belly laughs that make me laugh too, which makes him laugh even harder.
All of a sudden an image pops into my mind - What life would be like without THIS baby as our son.
Tears started streaming down my face. I had a flashback to me as a little girl, in my pajamas, climbing onto my Poppa's lap so he could read me a story.
I heard his voice in my mind.
I could remember the smell of the air in my grandparents house.
I remembered the texture of his chair and stroking the fabric.
Where my Poppa picked up the book he was preparing to read to me.
How he used the remote to turn off the T.V.
The precision of how he took off his glasses.
I remembered my grandmother across the room in her rocking chair, knitting.
I could hear the sound of their dishwasher in the kitchen working.
I saw in my mind the painting of trilliums on the wall next to Poppa's chair and the framed poppy needlepoint next to the painting.
My heart jumped then ached. I suddenly was thinking with my grandfather gone, I may never get the chance to have a memory like that with baby peanut. A beautiful, pure memory of him talking, walking, bringing me a book to read him... Some unfulfilled future memory of knowing I was his mommy.
It's painful to think that the dancing will stop - the laughter will stop. He will no longer know who I am.
To be honest, it is really very easy after all to love someone else's children like they were your own. The hard part is, letting them go. Tonight most of all, I miss being a little girl and the feeling of being loved and safe in the arms of my Poppa. I know baby peanut feels my love for him and it breaks my heart that it's not permanent.