Life Goes On

Our hearts are still missing our foster child.  She is in my thoughts all throughout the day.  We have gained a bit more information about her transition.  She is in a caring home with family friends that are very excited about having her there.  We are gradually letting go and are allowing ourselves the sadness that goes along with this type of process.  That sweet baby girl will always have a piece of our hearts.  I won’t lie and say that this (letting go) has been easy.  It hasn’t.  However, I can speak for all of the Morrison family and say we don’t regret a minute of time spent with that precious little girl.  She will always be a part of us.

We are open to having another foster child come into our lives.  We think we did well and see this opportunity as something we shouldn’t pass up.  We love family life and we think we can provide a safe and loving home to a little one in need of love and care.

Our life continues on.  Our school kids are doing very well transitioning into their new school.  Packing lunches and being out the door by 8 am is becoming normal.  As Brayden and I greet them each afternoon, they are oozing with stories and information from their day.  The excitement is still high.

Brayden and I have been enjoying our time together during the day.  Here is an example of what we have been distracting ourselves with.  We read the book Where the Wild Things Are each day last week and did activities each day that had to do with the story and the illustrations.  Sendak’s illustrations are so fun and worthy of discussion.  Brayden has missed his siblings, but has done well with all the changes in his life.  He and I both needed to dive into some activities last week to distract our hearts from those we missed.

We are still taking advantage of the joys of summertime.  The pool has been a nice outlet for us.

Our garden is growing.  Scott did some much-needed weeding the other night.  We are harvesting okra, peppers, basil, cucumbers, zucchini and a few tomatoes.  With all the changes in our life, we neglected our garden for a bit.  It has held on and is still green and growing, we are thankful for that.

So, that’s a little update.  We are all doing alright.  We just have to take life one day at a time, be grateful and pray for peace and lightheartedness.

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A Pain I Never Knew

We didn’t see it coming today.  Our foster baby was taken and placed in the home of one of her family’s closest friends.  The shock of this news was hard to take.  But this is part of fostering a child.  I knew that it would be difficult if we had to let a child leave our home, but I have never felt pain like this.

We are thankful for the past several weeks we were able to love and nurture this sweet baby girl.  It was an experience like none other for our family.  We will never be the same.

I am trying to think positively about how this is unfolding.  However, the tears keep welling and I find myself thinking about what I would be doing if she were here.  Like now, I would be either rocking her to sleep or waiting for her to wake for her next feeding.  I am sad.  I feel kind of numb.

Scott is by my side.  Literally, he is kneeling by the computer chair and asking me what I need.  This is going to make us stronger, I keep thinking.

Today there was mention that our foster baby may need some daytime care during the week, and I was asked if I was interested in helping.  At first the thought seemed too painful to bear, but now, all I can think of is that I just want to see her again.

This week has an underlining theme for me.  Letting go is difficult and heart wrenching.  No one can prepare you for the hole in your stomach that comes when you wave goodbye and simply let go.

First Day of School

Here’s Julian all set for his first day of fifth grade at Central Park School for Children.  All of our children were bouncing around like little wide-eyed monkeys this morning raring to go to school.  Me, I smiled as best as I could knowing that soon the flood gates would open up just as they did the night before.

Here’s Madelyn all dressed and ready for third grade along with Julian then  Kalen, all set for first grade.  Then there’s Brayden up front.  He got dressed up and packed his bag as well.  He knew he wasn’t going to attend school with the others but, he figured he could at least look the part.

Here they all are packed in the van at 8 am.  Brayden later told me he didn’t think I got him in the picture, that is why he is frowning.

Here they are standing in front of their school at 8:15 am.  Scott, Brayden, and I (with foster baby), walked the three school kids to their classrooms, kissed them goodbye, told them we loved them and headed out.  Yes, I looked back at each of them after I had begun to walk away.  Yes, I had tears streaming down my face.  They were brave and that helped me to be brave.  Letting go is hard.

Scott, seeing my fragile state, took the two little ones and I to a nearby coffee shop to drink coffee and take the morning all in.

At 3:15 pm we all reunited and shared stories about our day.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Now, as they are all tucked away in their beds, I am preparing myself for tomorrow morning’s send off.  As I was putting Kalen to bed, I told him how much I missed him while he was at school.  I asked him if he missed me.  He said, “When it got really busy and it was busy a lot, I would just pretend you were there and that was good.”  Good indeed.

Rah-Rah, Sniff-Sniff

I just peeked in on each of them.  All of our children are sleeping.  When Kalen, Madelyn and Julian open their eyes, it will be their first day of school.  My face is wet from crying.  I am okay, just  .  . . well . . .  loving them to pieces and trying to take in all that is before us.

It has been a full day.  We spent a lot of family time together at the pool and then went shopping for the must haves.  We had a celebratory dinner and then the kids packed their backpacks and laid out their clothes before bed.  I packed their lunches and wrote them all notes.  Ready or not, we are doing this.  I have been homeschooling them all for so long, this is going to be a huge transition for us.  I have a hole in my stomach.  This is the feeling of having to let go, right?  Whew.  Note to self- don’t wear mascara tomorrow.

I am sincerely happy for our children.  For them to attend this school is such an amazing opportunity.  I am trying to think on this and not wallow so much.  I must say though, as I can hardly read this screen from my tears, I just adore spending all of my days with my kids.  I love their presence, laughter, movements, and even their not so likeable moments.  This transition is going to be a challenge for me.  I guess the challenge will be to let go of control, trust them, enjoy their new independence, and continue to be their biggest cheerleader.

When I wave goodbye to them as they step into their first day of school, I want them to see their mother’s face full of hope, pride and love.  Lord, help me wear that face.

Tears Are Welling

I looked around today and noted all that would be missing next week (during the day) when my three oldest kids start school.  I saw Kalen whisk away Brayden and entertain him with Play-doh for what seemed like hours.  I witnessed Madelyn scoop up our foster baby girl and change her diaper (without being asked), while whispering sweet little things to her.  I asked Julian to preheat the oven and then put the potato wedges in to cook for lunch.  He did this while I was feeding our baby girl.  I grinned as I watched Kalen attempt to sweep up the Play-doh mess on the floor.  I felt relief as Madelyn prepared the couch for feeding our baby.  This meant she got out a burp cloth, fluffed a pillow and laid it just right, as well as shook the baby’s bottle that I had just made.  I got teary and allowed myself to sit in that heartache for a bit.

Then, the kids’ school backpacks came in the mail.  I watched as they modeled them.  I saw the sheer delight on their faces.  First, I began to feel tears of pain coming, but they turned into tears of joy as I felt our children’s excitement.

Now, if that isn’t enough to make my eyes well up, we had two teachers come over today for a home visit.  This is a personable way the school attempts to get the children acquainted with the teacher before stepping into the classroom on that first day.  Also, it gives the teachers a sense of context when working with and relating to the children.  Julian and Kalen’s teacher came ( at different times) to chat with us for a bit and get to know our boys and our family a bit better.  The teachers talked about how the school day will flow and about the cool things they’ll have their hands in this upcoming year.  There was mention of the schedule along with the drop off and pick up policies.  I cringed when I heard the words drop off.  It makes me instantly think of the scene in Finding Nemo when Marlin learns that Nemo is headed with his class to the drop off.  I think of Marlin’s anxiousness and protective nature on that first day of school.  I think of Nemo’s innocence and curiosity.  I think our children will be just as excited as Nemo was that first day of school.  I think I will be just as nervous, thorough and protective as Nemo’s father, Marlin.  As I envision Monday morning rolling around and dropping our children off by the curb, my eyes well up.

It is time for me to let go a bit.  I gulp as I type this.  I am not good at letting go.  I know it is a natural thing for me to feel emotional about sending my kids off to school after having them home for so long . . . but sheesh.  I am not questioning this decision, I am just allowing myself the sadness that is natural within this transition.  It is time they spread their wings a bit.  I am happy, not hesitant.  I feel a tenderness of heart that is the good kind.

I consider myself to be a strong person.  This is not an attribute that I would have claimed before having children.  I believe that I will be leaning heavily, next week, on that strength as well as Scott’s and the Lord’s.  I want to make sure that I allow myself these tender feelings that I have described above.  I will be crying tears of joy and pain.  Those tears of pain I think are okay and they will come and go.   Hopefully, the tears of pain and feelings of detachment will turn into tears of joy, assurance and hope.

What He Said

(this picture was taken the day our foster baby was delivered to us, just a few minutes after meeting her)

Yesterday, I was burping our foster baby as I sat with her on our couch.  She was whimpering a bit.  Brayden was right there with us.  He was lying on the top part of the couch touching the baby with the tips of his fingers.  With his sweet little voice he said, “It’s okay, I’m right here.”

That is what we are in the midst of.  We are being present in this little one’s life.  Is it changing us?  Absolutely.  Is it sometimes messy and taxing?  Sure.  She is a baby.  She has needs.  We are here for her.  We want to be.  We are thankful for the chance to play this role in her life.  We are still adjusting to being a family of seven.  We have many ups and some downs.  All in all, we couldn’t have dreamed up a better opportunity.

This baby is so loved right now.  If I am not holding her, the kids come up to me and want to know where she is.  They are quick to help and eager to love.  The richness of our experience so far is unexplainable.

Our foster baby has begun cooing and smiling.  What a treat it is to see her sweet face light up with true love and joy.  I have to believe what we are doing is needed, not to mention rewarding.  What we are doing here, fostering, is not entirely selfless you know.  As the Indigo Girls so well put it in their lyrics, “There’s a thin line between pleasing yourself and pleasing somebody else.”

As Brayden put it, we are here.  We want to be and we are not going anywhere.  Our sweet foster baby can count on us and we will continue to pour love on her.  She deserves it.

15 Days and Counting

As if we didn’t have enough to excite us these days, we received some news on Friday.  Madelyn has been accepted into Central Park School for Children.  This means that Julian, Kalen and Madelyn have the opportunity to attend this upcoming school year.  It had been several weeks that we had known that Julian and Kalen could attend this charter school.  We were holding out hope that Madelyn would be accepted as well.

After months of discussion, thought, many comments by pleased CPSC parents, and a personal tour by the assistant director, we have decided that Jules, Maddie and Kalen will attend school outside of our home this upcoming school year.  Our homeschoolers are spreading their wings.

Almost as soon as we got the news Friday, Scott opened up his laptop and helped the kids pick out their own monogrammed L.L. Bean book bags.  These are fun and exciting times for the Morrisons.

I have felt a range of emotions as we have considered and now committed to this opportunity.  As a mom that has had her children home each day for ten years, I can’t help but be emotional.  Today, I am excited and a little sad.  I am excited for our kids to enter into this community within Central Park School for Children.  I am excited for them to consistently have kids their own age to bounce things off of and pal around with.  I am looking forward to partnering with our kids’ teachers to provide the best possible education for our kids this upcoming year.  I am excited about this new environment for them to enter into.  I am sad that I won’t be their primary teacher.  I am sad that I won’t be around them all day.  I’ll miss their voices, laughter, company and their enthusiasm.  Sniff, sniff.

I will keep Brayden and Monica at home each day with me. 🙂  This will be fun and interesting.  I feel as though I am most gifted in teaching preschoolers, so to have just one to focus on will be a treat.  I look forward to giving myself fully to our two littlest ones everyday.

This will be a huge transition for our family.  We would appreciate your thoughts as we step up to the challenge.