This weekend my friend’s three foster daughters were with us. Two are 14, one is 10. Overall it was a really great time – perhaps the best we’ve had. There were two minor meltdowns. Raine and one of the 14yr olds were able to pull themselves together after small setbacks.
I didn’t bother questioning if 14yr old Emma* had all her belongings before leaving. That avoided a lengthy battle. Inevitably she always leaves something behind. Last time it was her curling iron. Me pointing out the overlooked items fills her with rage. Though I see it as doing her a favour making sure she has everything, Emma disagrees.
The new plan is to ignore any forgotten items. But that didn’t quite come together. The girls departed without me checking their rooms or the bathroom. Then I discovered Emma had taken my toothbrush and left hers. I text. My friend called and we had a conversation including Emma. The girl pulled a toothbrush out of her bag. With certainty she claimed it as her own. It was orange. Emma’s is green.
“What did you use when you brushed your teeth this morning?” my friend asked.
“The green one,” Emma answered.
“Then why did you bring the orange one home?”
“Because it’s mine.”
Oh the fun of it all – trying to understand her muddled mind.
“I have an extra. I don’t need it back,” I told my friend. “But just thought I’d let you know so she doesn’t use it.”
Thankfully that conversation wasn’t mine to have – why using someone else’s toothbrush is not a good idea. I’ve had my fair share of those types of conversations with Sabrina* (foster child with me for 5yrs) and Megan* (foster child with me for 2yrs). Like Emma, both of them suffer from intellectual limitations. No doubt I will have similar conversations in the future as I prepare to again foster special needs children.
Off the phone I had to laugh. I’ve resolved to start finding the fun in it all. Not at the children’s expense. I expect when she she fully realized the situation, Emma was laughing as well.