Last Friday was the day. We said “see you later” to our sweet twins. They were 10 months of joy, learning, and love. As first time parents, we were tested in every way of our lives. Add an extra layer to the complexities of parenting by being a foster parent and the legalities, rules and restrictions, the constant merry-go-round of notifying at least five people at all times of our every move, and the emotional impact was exhausting.
We taught them to walk, to use utensils, to try different foods, we made Christmas cookies together and we got to see what Christmas is through a child’s eyes. We took them to the Children’s Museum and watched their little bodies play to exhaustion but fill their big minds with lots of interesting concepts. We had our first summer in this house with them. Many of you were there. We bought a kiddie pool and took them swimming for the first time. I remember being so disgusted but finding it hilarious when they pooped in the pool…and the tub. We swooped in like hawks to pull them out of that water. I remember feeling like a shit parent when one of them fell out of the chair, but through her lip, and bled.
We had a good relationship with their mom, we had a bad relationship with their mom, and now we’re back to having a decent relationship with her. We never had a good relationship with their dad. He’s a piece of work. I’ll leave it at that. I became the biggest fucking mama bear that ever lived and more times than I can count some people heard my roar. We took them to the doctor probably too many times in the beginning. We didn’t miss a court date. We advocated tirelessly for them. If not us, who? I don’t think we’ve laughed and cried so much in our lives. We gave every. single. bit. of ourselves to loving and protecting them. We made permanent life changes, some of them huge, for a temporary situation. We gladly made those changes knowing exactly what we were doing. We did so because they needed us and we were too happy to accommodate that.
And now they’re gone. I threw their sheets in the wash today and I cried. I knew I was washing away every trace of their angelic little selves out of those sheets forever, but I know the next kidlets will come along needing a clean and safe bed, and one will be waiting to welcome them. I don’t smell them in their room like I used to, which is both relieving and heartbreaking. Their bathroom no longer houses their Minnie Mouse potty where they’d go to after they’d point to their cute little bums and say, “Poo poo…”
This week was harder than I expected. Every day knocked the wind out of me. I was exhausted. Drained. Empty. I thought for sure my work would keep me distracted but that didn’t work. I was on my way home on Monday night and normally I’d be walking in the door to them having returned from a weekend at their moms. I’d burst into the house and my soul would ignite with joy at the sight of their little faces. When I realized that wasn’t going to happen on Monday I didn’t want to go home. In fact, I avoided it.
Tuesday came and the depression of them not being there on Monday night poured into the next day. On my way home from work, I’d normally pick the twins up from daycare on Tuesdays because that was the one day during the work week they didn’t have a visit. No picking up from daycare anymore. In fact, I just so happened to take the freeway home that day. Later that night, I realized that taking the freeway home meant I didn’t drive by their daycare on my way home. Deep in my mind I knew there was no picking them up when I got in my car. I just didn’t realize it in that moment.
Wednesday came and Mitch had to return to working the night shift. I came home to an empty house. No husband. No kids. Just me. By myself. Aching for contact and knowing it wasn’t coming. I tried my hardest to avoid feeling anything I felt on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. By Thursday and Friday I had just given in to feeling shitty. One thing about both Mitch and I, we don’t do depressed very well. We’re not really that way. Even if something hard is going on we’re still always looking at the positive. I can’t possibly explain to you how enormously impossible it felt to be positive when everything we loved walked out the door and didn’t come back.
I woke up at 3 am this morning to the musical chair going off. For a minute I thought it was all a bad dream and I was waking up to them still being here, but no. It went off 3 more times, digging in the dagger a little deeper. I laid there and cried. Mitch was at work, so I didn’t have him here to cry with. This sucks as equally for him. When he’s here in the mornings and I’m not and the girls aren’t, I know he is pained with the silence, the emptiness. When we’re together we just try to be easy on each other. Supporting each other through this has been crucial.
The few toys they weren’t attached to stayed here for the next littles we have, but for right now, they’re childless toys and we are childless parents. For anyone that ever thinks a foster parent isn’t a real parent, you kiss all of our asses. We’ve never been so committed to anything in our lives. We’ve never loved and sacrificed as hard as we did over the last 10 months. A friend told us we treat our kids better than some bio parents treat their own kids. Being parents has given us direction and purpose. We don’t like not having kids in the house right now. It’s not who we are anymore. Now that we’re on the other side of the fence and we don’t have them running around anymore, we realize we love the chaos, the schedule they need to be on, and all the ritualistic things that came with having twin toddlers.
I got in the kitchen today to craft some dishes for Easter tomorrow. I turned on the music and let myself sing and cook. I let my mind get lost in the creativity and the precision that comes with my meticulous nature when preparing dishes from scratch. It was nice to have control over something. I haven’t really felt that in awhile. As great as my new job is going, I’m still learning and trying to establish a process and I’m not learning things as fast as I want to, which drives me fucking crazy. Thankfully, I love the team I support and I love the work I do. Someday soon I’ll be a machine there. So that’s one way I feel out of control, the other is that I have no control over where the girls live anymore.
Sorry for the long entry. If you’re still reading this, you’re probably one of few. I likely lost people at paragraph #83. I want to thank you for being so supportive of us, this blog, and for loving us through what has been the shittiest and most incredible time of our lives. Your support has been critical to our ability to move forward. Thank you for loving us, the girls, and the kids we will someday soon welcome into our home.