Today and Everyday I Am Thankful

today-i-am-thankful

Today is thanksgiving. There are many things I’m thankful for. My daughters, of course, and our amazing life. This year I’m struck by the family and friends surrounding us. In deciding to pursue foster care and adoption as a way of life, I counted the cost. I knew full well the sacrifice involved. Gladly, I lay down my own desires and pursuits in favour of parenting children I did not birth. Sometimes gracefully, sometimes not, I deal with problems I did not create – like prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol. I do this because I’m compelled to fulfill the great commission in this manner.

This is not the ministry most of my friends and family have chosen. Still, by association with me, they are drawn in. It’s messy, challenging, and frustrating most of the time. It’s Christmas dinners served in my pj’s because my teenage foster child forgot to take her medication and I didn’t realize until we’d spent a horrific morning trying to get the turkey ready. It’s holes in my walls and knifed wallpaper (something my then 4yr old managed with a butter knife). It’s a child who takes her cough to the extreme, overpowering any conversations around the Thanksgiving dinner table. It’s buying gifts for children you’ve never met and may never see again. It’s me being tired and depleted all the time. It’s me forgetting to confirm whether or not I need you to babysit. It’s things like this that my family and friends are drawn into.

I’ve chosen this wonderfully unusual life. They haven’t. But I am eternally grateful that they have chosen to love me and all that I’m trying to do. I love that I have friends who choose to donate their time to my business. I have family who respond by saving, “It’s wonderful to have a full table,” when I say my friend’s three foster children will be joining us for Thanksgiving. I have friends who drop by with banana bread or a dozen buns when I suddenly find myself with two extra little ones. I have friends who invite us back after Raine has a complete meltdown – hitting her sister and informing all of us that I’m not her mother so she doesn’t have to listen to me. I have friends who come by in the evenings when kids are asleep because I really can’t get out.

When I chose this life, I didn’t consider what it would cost the people in my life. Thankfully they have been willing to pay the price for me to pursue the calling on my life. I am grateful for the support and encouragement they offer. I am grateful for their willingness to accommodate my unusual life. I am grateful that they consider it to be as wonderful as I do. Thank you.

You Say Goodbye…

you-say-goodbye-and-i-say-helloYesterday things looked dire for my 96yr old grandmother. This isn’t the first time she’s been rushed to hospital via ambulance. Given the nature of my life, single adoptive/foster mom living an hour away, I don’t always make it to her bedside. I have once before. By the time I got there she was perfectly fine.

I had my friend’s three foster children this weekend. When my dad text that things were quite serious, I didn’t know what to do. In the end we rushed off to the hospital. The dinner dishes were left. Hastily I put my girls in dresses and grabbed a bag of chips from the cupboard. We drove an hour to the small town hospital.

Into the tiny structure I marched with 5 children. Though nearly 5yrs old I put Athena in a stroller. Having her contained made Raine much calmer. Normally the two race down halls despite my pleas of, “Walking! Walking! You need to be walking!”

“My you have have a group there,” the woman at emergency reception commented.

“Yes,” I said smiling back at her. This is how it goes. Being on my own means carting kids to some unlikely places – like small town emergency rooms at 8pm on a Saturday night. I tried, with out success, to find a sitter. I was ok with that. However there was a panic inside of me about how Raine and Athena would behave.

They were unusually quite as we discovered my grandmother holding on with the help of various machines. My parents were already there.

We watched her struggle to breath with an oxygen mask strapped to her face. My dad settled the older kids, belonging to my friend, in a near by waiting room. It’s hard to know what Grandma was aware of. We talked to her a bit. But what to say?

The nurse came to transport Grandma out of emergency into a room on the third floor. We hung out in the front lobby waiting for that to occur.

Then I traversed with my parents and 5 kids up to the third floor. The smattering of staff and patients flat out stared at us. What do other people do in these situations – single or non? I suppose they leave their children with babysitters. But, had I been able to secure one, I still would have brought Raine. She has a special bond with my grandma. The woman hadn’t smiled in years until Raine came along. The first time they met, Grandma couldn’t stop smiling even in the pictures that were snapped. Generally annoyed with most kids (and adults), my grandma found no fault in Raine. She loved seeing her.

The sight of her great-grandma frail and distant made Raine suddenly quiet. On our drive there, Raine wouldn’t accept this as a time to say goodbye. I didn’t know what to say. Goodbye seemed very appropriate. But suddenly unfortunate. There are so many questions I’d like answered. My grandmother is a mystery to me.

We left around 9pm. I ordered 6 beverages at a Tim Horton’s drive through. The woman working there repeated the number several times to be sure she’d heard correctly. I passed out drinks and chips to the kids. We drove home.

I thought about the funeral to come. Ever efficient, Grandma has prearranged everything. As a child she took me to see the plots she and my grandfather purchased. It’s probably been 10yrs since my grandpa passed away. There are so many things I still want to know about them both.

Perhaps some questions will be answered. Saturday morning, my grandma was sitting up and eating breakfast. Seems the end has not come. The goodbye is yet again another opportunity to say hello.