|Another day dawns in the Slow Lane|
The children have officially been with me for a year now, during which I have seen adult TV only three times. I keep hearing people talking excitedly about Downtown Abbey, but the excitement goes right over my head because I've never seen it. I also haven't participated at all in any of the community groups or committees that I used to be active in. I ran into a former colleague the other day who asked me "Where have you been?" I didn't know what to say. After all, I haven't gone anywhere, really. Yet I've disappeared entirely from the world I used to occupy.
This sense of disconnectedness, of being invisible in plain sight, really messes with my head. After all, a lot of people have three kids. They don't disappear from their own lives, do they? In the case of "most people" with three kids, the family grew organically, over time. In our case, we were all plopped down together, an instant facsimile of a family, expected to somehow knit ourselves into a cohesive unit. All year you could say I've been busy knitting, trying to keep any stitches from dropping, hoping against hope that nothing too important unravels. I've had no time for anything else, but just try telling people that.
Yesterday the kids visited their mom. They wore their Eater outfits and had pictures taken with her. They came home happy, full of stories about their great day. But once the stories ran out the happy faded and the sad and angry kicked back in. They want to go home, and they want to go now. They are tired of waiting. Somebody has to absorb their weepy sadness, somebody has to be the rock that their anger buffets against, and somebody has to try to help them manage their expectations in a situation where, really, hoping for any one outcome is mostly an exercise in futility. That somebody is me, of course, because that is what we foster parents do. But in a kinship placement like ours, it is just as hard for me to manage my own feelings and expectations because I'm not invested solely in the children, but in the family as a whole. And so we inch along, all of us, trying like heck to live in the moment as best we can.
We, the children and I, are the people who will be the most intensely affected by whatever the Judge's decision ultimately is in this case. Mom and dad will be affected to, of course, but they already made their choices, which is why we are all in the situation we are in. They set this ball in motion and will now have to live with whatever the consequences of that are. The kids and I didn't choose this or do anything to deserve being thrown into such uncertainty, but here we are anyway. The children have very little say (although they do have some) in what happens and I, of course, have none. This constant feeling of helplessness, of being pawns in someone else's game, living life on someone else's terms, percolates under the surface in all of us. It undermines our attempts at normalcy, causing frustration to bubble up to the surface at unexpected moments.
Yet the world keeps turning, carrying us all along on a journey around the sun each and every day. I reminded the kids of this just yesterday, as their happy vibe was on the cusp of melting into sadness. Things are happening, whether we know about them or not. No matter what frustrations or disappointments the day brings, it has still carried us twenty-four hours closer to the end of this adventure, whatever "the end" may turn out to be.