I have a few minutes before Jake will be home from school, and Tyler is next door playing with our neighbor. I am loving the twinkle lights on our tree and our piano and our mantle, as well as the non-stop Christmas music I have on around here. There’s nothing better than Christmastime in a snug, peaceful home. With a fire in the fireplace. And fudge.
It’s been almost two weeks since the little boys moved to their new foster home. The first three days I breathed a sigh of great relief. Cleaning up for Thanksgiving, hosting Thanksgiving, and decorating for Christmas filled those first days of quiet, but by Saturday I was ready for another kiddo to arrive. It was strange adjusting to the easy life we have with our family of four. For at least a week I felt an unease, as if there were guilt hanging over me because things were so peaceful. I would come across a toy that I forgot to pack for Athlete or a little onesie for Baby Billy Goat that ended up in our laundry and romanticize our month with them. How quickly we forget about chaos and how easily we remember the happy moments! Thankfully, God designed us that way. I found myself rattling around the house a bit…still trying to catch up from the craziness of the month, yet feeling like I should be doing something more important than washing sheets or catching up on scrapbooking.
This past four or five days I feel like I’m finally settling back into our old routines. I volunteer at school, do drop offs and pickups, clean up the kitchen and plan our dinner more than five minutes in advance. Life runs smoothly. I catch up on Cub Scout emails and projects and I begin tying a quilt I’ve had waiting for a while. I am very present with my boys and have time to listen to them and look them in the eye when they have something “important” to tell me. That is the thing I missed most when the little boys were with us. That is also the main reason that we’re going to have only one foster child at a time now, too. We survived the month with four kids, but we didn’t have time or energy for anything but surviving. And that’s no way to raise kids…our own or our foster kids. Kids need to be cherished. We’re grateful for the peaceful beginning we’ve had to our advent season, and when one foster baby arrives, I think we’ll be able to manage the visitations and paperwork and behavior that comes with it without feeling so out of kilter as we did last time.
Jake and Tyler have been asking when the little boys are coming back. It’s hard for them to realize that they won’t be a big part of our lives anymore. Baby will turn one this weekend and we won’t be there. We made a playdate with them for Wednesday and we’ll all happily reunite, then part again, hopefully planning to see them again soon. And we’ll continue to wait for a long term baby to arrive at our house. We narrowed down our profile quite a bit and are trying to be patient as we wait for our next child to be placed with us. I was really hoping for baby to be here by Christmas. For a while it was keeping me from fully enjoying our advent season…as if something were missing. But I don’t want to feel like we missed the joy of the season because we were impatient.
So I’m spending my days soaking our big boys in, decorating, having firelight dates with Greg on the couch, and moving past the strange emotions that catch me off guard now and then. Jake cuts out snowflakes and leaves the thousands of little confetti pieces on the floor. Tyler decides he’s dying to learn to read. And if we finish learning our upper and lower case letters right now can we start reading after lunch? Life moves forward. Some moments I’m thankful for the peace and quiet and other moments it seems empty. I’m not a fan of living in limbo between foster kids, but I’m trying to listen to what God has to teach me in this moment. After all, it is the life God has for us right now…not knowing if we’ll have another stocking to hang and another pair of Christmas jammies to sew before the 25th. These are strange days.