Skip to main content

An Open Letter On October 31st

While nearly everyone in the (western) world is consumed with costumes and candy, I think about family on October 31st. Specifically, my mom.

No, she is not a witch. (Wouldn't it be crazy though, if I told you that I grew up in a home like this??) But she was born on Halloween. I won't get distracted by a long explanation of what our family "Halloween" traditions looked like, but they rarely (if ever) involved trick-or-treating, and while I may have pined for it as a child, I am quite content now with our unique family history.

I didn't give my mom a birthday card today. This is her card, which I am letting you all read.


Mom,

I've been thinking a lot about you in the past two months. As I spend my day with kids, I've been remembering what it was like to be a kid. And now that I am a primary caregiver, I feel like I get glimpses into what it might have been like for you to be my primary caregiver. Except that your job was tougher; you had four kids. Twenty-four hours a day. For twenty-seven years (from Sarah's birth until Jonathan turned eighteen). And really, it's been even longer than that - considering the short-lived success you've had in being an empty-nester!(I know we're all excited for Jonathan to come home, though.)

I feel humbled by the thought of the choices and sacrifices that you made over those years. I can never fully understand it. As a child, I (like all children) had no concept of my parents existing outside of their interactions with me. I lacked the ability to be grateful for the things you did for me, the ways you taught me, and how you lovingly guided me and helped me grow. And now, I know that you did do all those things, but I can't know how it felt (or feels) for you. Maybe someday if/when I am a mother, this will be even more clear.

Is gratitude twenty years on still meaningful? Because that is how I feel. Grateful to have a mother who loves me. Grateful to have a mother who loves Jesus. Grateful to have a mother who loves my father deeply. Grateful to have a mother who gave up many things to raise her children how she thought best. Grateful to have a mother who wants to be my friend - and yet has willingly given me my independence.

I love you.
Beth

Comments

afro-chick said…
i teared up.
love you.
a

Popular posts from this blog

Fostering FAQ: How Can You Say Goodbye?

It seems I finally have something(s) to say... Here's the first in a short (or maybe long?) series on Fostering FAQs. If you've got a question to add, feel free to comment/email/text/message me and maybe the next post will be in response.

--

8:30 am on Day 4 of parenting. I woke up in a panic two hours ago because I remembered that there is a baby and I am responsible for her (at least at 6:30am, when the man beside me will snore through anything). Now, I have put on clothes and eaten breakfast. The dogs are walked, there is a loaf of banana bread in the oven. My tea is steeping. Most importantly, Dream Baby is already down for her first nap.

Despite my morning efficiency, I'm already beginning to see that even with the happiest, most easygoing, and smiliest baby, like we somehow managed to be given, parenting is a grind. On Friday night, I couldn't join friends for $5 pints at a local joint. Instead, I blearily washed the same 8 bottles again, and then made another ba…

Fostering FAQ: How Long Will She Stay/Will You Adopt Her?

Our first foster baby came with about 18 hours notice; it was respite care, which means we had him for a few days while his regular foster family had a break/dealt with a family emergency. He stayed 3 nights, long enough to come to church and have a dozen people cooing over his little sleeping cheeks.  With each new visitor to our quiet corner, I explained again that he would be going back to his foster family the next day.

Barely a week later, we got a 9am phone call with a fostering request and by the same afternoon, we were snuggling her. This time, we had her for 4 days before church came around. Again, our community was keen to see the little one we had in tow. Again, the question, "How long will she stay?" And this time, "Are you going to adopt her?"

--

Here in Toronto, when a child is placed in foster care, it is always for an indefinite length of time. It depends on the parents' situation, and whether they are able to make a safe home environment for th…

Fostering FAQ: What's Her (Mom's) Story?

This is probably the second most common question I hear about the baby currently in our care, right after, "Will you keep her?"

It comes in many forms:

"So, what's her story?"
"Is her mom in the picture?"
"How did she end up in your home?
"Is her mom a drug addict?"
"How could a mom not love such a cute baby!"

I get it. It's natural curiousity, and I know I've asked similar questions of my friends who are adoptive parents.


But here's what I'm learning: a child's story is their own. And equally as important, the parent's story is their own.

Imagine how it might feel to hear that for the foreseeable future, you are not allowed to care for your child. On top of whatever difficult circumstances you are already in - perhaps poverty, social isolation, lack of adequate housing, domestic violence, intergenerational trauma, drug or alcohol dependency, low cognitive functioning, or a myriad of other complex strug…