Don’t Take It Personally

Our new addition, J, is doing pretty well. The girls have their moments, but overall they get along amazingly.

Of course there’s been a wrench thrown into all that harmony. A few weeks ago I went to the women’s conference at church. J went to my friend’s, a fellow foster parent. Raine & Athena went to my mom’s.

It’s rare that I’m away from the kids at all – let alone for a whole weekend. So I expected some backlash, especially from Raine. But it was so much worse than anticipated.

Life at my mom’s is pretty decadent for the kids. They get to pick whatever they want at the grocery store. Understandably, that’s a lot of sugary processed food – things we don’t usually have. Time is spent watching TV or jumping over furniture. There aren’t many rules. Controlling and rude behaviour is overlooked. Grandma is indulgent as grandmas should be. In a normal situation, that would be all well and good.

However, we don’t live a normal life. So….Raine returned with theIMG_20150611_163223 idea she ought to be adopted by my mom. Life with her is far superior to life at my house. Yes, for a 7yr old that is certainly how it appears. And for a child who is consciously aware of the loss of one mom, choosing another seems perfectly reasonable.

My resistance to Raine’s choice, created a great deal of conflict between us. The more I tried to pull her close, the more she pushed me away. After this length of time together, it’s hard not to take it personally. It’s nearly impossible.

Those who watched the struggle play out were mostly sympathetic. Some suggested I try harder to be more fun. I did. But that went over like a lead balloon. Walking to the park, Raine was running much too far ahead and nearly into the road a few times. So I had to reign her in. She wasn’t happy. I bought wooden skewers as she requested for a craft. She poked a visiting child repeatedly. So I had to speak to her. That resulted in an hour of screaming while I tried to get everyone ready to go see a movie. Even in her pain, I feel obligated to keep her and everyone else safe. That’s not fun. I know. There’s a lot of things in life that aren’t fun.

In all my years of fostering, with all the kids I’ve had, I’ve only ever had one meltdown at a time. They are prone to trading off but, thankfully, everyone doesn’t go off at once.

Friday, after weeks of difficulty, Raine passed the baton to J. Our foster child completely unravelled in response to an upcoming visit from my brother and his family. They live out west but were in the area for a week. Apparently, uncles are not trusted by J. The more Raine & Athena talked about the visit, the more destraught J became. Until she was wearing the meltdown hat – throwing things, ripping up paper, and contemplating jumping out of a second story window. I hastily transported her to a friend’s house so I could visit with my brother without causing J further distress.

And that snapped Raine out of her funk. Now I’m back to being the best mom ever. Maybe because the sugary, processed food had worked their way out of her system. Maybe because it was time to go to the cottage and she didn’t want to miss that like J had missed the fun of family visiting. I don’t know. Now that the struggle has ceased, I’m working on shaking off what’s been said. Trying not to take it personally. Trying.

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