I feel like this will be the longest winter in history. I have been spinning in time since my son went to college. The Old Bitch Above saw it was wise to keep me busy so she gave me two night jobs through the summer to distract me from my thoughts. But now it is fall and I am grounded and unemployed. The ‘home schooling’ cupboard sits quietly. I roam from room to room, writing my novel, I say.
I don’t have an empty nest but every time I look at my eleven year old daughter I feel the ominous ticking of the clock. Before I know it she will be gone too. There will be no more use for my big tubs put away every season for rotating holidays: decorations and costumes for Hallowe’en; three colourful baskets for Easter with rainbow coloured fluff and carefully stored decorated eggs from decades back; two boxes of decorations, books and videos for Christmas and Hannukah. I have a room full of boxes of illustrated children’s books, barbies, stuffed animals, small cars, castles.
I don’t have to get rid of any of it yet as my last child still sits down to play. To play. I love to see her there, her voice is much quieter than when she was younger and I could hear her narrating her stories from the next room. But she is still dreaming and playing. To hear my children play freely is my absolute joy.
If I could take one little child every day out of the school system and let them play quietly in my house I would love that. It would be an open offer. Any age in any class that wanted to be safely mothered. Left alone to think and play until they wanted to talk, offered homemade soup and fresh bread when they were ready to eat.
It would be a break from rules and regulations, no schedule and no rules except on how to be polite and respectful. Gentle reminders on grammar and pronunciation, mentoring in manners. Endless encouragement and love would be my gift.
Fostering children. We won’t now, we probably never will. I have thought about it many times. I would never foster a child that was older than my youngest because that would make her uncomfortable. But maybe we could foster younger children. She loves little children and babies and is very good with them.
However, I read that if you have had a Child Services File opened on your home it could be seen as non-negotiable factor and we would be rejected right away. When I read that, a time when I was constantly being rejected for jobs, I could not stand the affront of being rejected for fostering. I couldn’t take it emotionally. No more failure and rejection, I just couldn’t take it.
The irony! That we had failed our smallest child by allowing perpetrators into our home and that this now precluded us from helping any other children. The bleak irony of it just filled me with wrath against a sick and destructive family that still held some sticky fingers of turpitude around our happy family.
I believe that our experience with sexual assault has made us better people. We no longer hesitate when we hear a story of abuse. We never wonder what it feels like to be a victim and/or related to a victim. We know what the court cases are like and the reactions of your community. We are educated and we could be helpful to a child going through a similar experience. We would be a better foster family because of our past experiences.
Time has passed and I have begun to see my fear of rejection as too personal and emotional for the bigger picture. New Brunswick is crying out for foster families. Older foster parents are retiring and younger families are not taking over. New Brunswick lost 118 foster homes in 2013/2014 for many different reasons. Some homes were closed for failing to cooperate, some retired, some ‘bowed out’ after their children were adopted.
We might start the process and see how it goes. Our home would be examined, our finances, our psychological state and our health. We would have to apply for a criminal record check and talk about the past. If we passed through these hurdles then we would have to take a nine week course. I suppose we can start the process and see if it is meant to be.
Meanwhile, back to the novel, a wildly cathartic trip through an imagined world in which my schizophrenic sister escapes the spiral of her drug filled, sex is rape, panhandling life and has a home, and true bliss, feeds and cares for a teen foster child.