So I somehow forgot to mention when I went on maternity leave and promised to post on Thursdays that I meant I would start this Thursday, since I was on vacation last week. Sorry ’bout that. I will shamelessly blame the baby and sleep deprivation again.
We spent much of last week visiting family near Boston, which was lovely – the transition with K. and C. really took it out of us. I’m not a high-stress person, I tend to be pretty relaxed, but we really needed a break after two very hectic weeks and a lot of emotion. Among other things, we had sent K. and C. home two days before the movie theater shooting to Aurora, CO – just a few blocks from the movie theater where the shooting happened. You can imagine the frantic phone calls that Friday morning after we read the news. Fortunately, everyone is ok – but that only added to the stress of losing children who had become part of our family. I’ve rarely been as tired – physically and emotionally – as I was by the time we hit the road last week.
This transition was also the hardest one on my boys – K. and C. had truly become their brothers in the three months they spent together. The six of them proudly built their own obstacle course, made sets for their own productions of various shows and musicals, built things and explored the woods together. Something is missing without them – and while my sons are happy that they have gone to their loving family and things are as they should be, it takes time to reconstitute as a family after any loss. None of us wish we didn’t love and lose, but it is a part of the process to grieve the losses as they occur.
So it was lovely to take off and visit my parents, drink wine, play with my nieces, take the boys to the ocean (they had never seen the sea at deep low tide before – the ocean in all its vicissitudes was so much a part of my childhood that I forget it isn’t part of theirs), do some thrift shopping, hang out with friends, etc…. I’ve rarely so desperately needed a vacation and some down time. All of us came home happier and rested. My wonderful mother even took the baby for one night so that both Eric and I could have the luxury of sleeping a full night – bliss!
I arrived home to find two boxes of _Making Home_ waiting for me – yay! The book will be in stores by the end of the month, and is available for order here. It is always exciting to hold your book in your hand and realize “I did this!”
Much was put off in the couple of weeks that encompassed Baby Z’s arrival and K. and C.’s departure – a barn cleaning, garden work, preserving, non-essential chores of all sorts, so we’ve come home to catch up. I’m not caught up yet, although I’ve got back my energy and optimism, and am starting to get things done (the skill set for getting things accomplished with a baby at hand is coming back to me).
Baby Z. is uncurling from the newborn lima bean stage into a baby. He’s a sweetie pie who rarely complains, and is content to hang out and make cute noises at us as long as someone is cuddling him. (One night at midnight he was smiling and waving his hands at me and Eric looked at me in exhaustion and asked “what are you going to do?” My response “I guess I’m just going to have to let him coo it out.” ) He still doesn’t sleep at night, but then, he’s not-quite-one-month, so I can’t complain about it. The boys love him, especially Simon, who is a baby person. I’m using this opportunity to point up the advantages of being a young man with the skills to care for smaller children to him, and he’s learning a host of baby skills (he was only 4 when Asher was born, and while we’ve had a couple of other babies during the last year of fostering, both were short term placements).
The boys are attending a wonderful camp program near us – Simon and Isaiah had taken a class on making stuffed animals there, that due to the unfortunate death of the instructor, turned into a class on patchwork and sewing. I doubt I could have gotten them to sign up for such a class, but they LOVED it – Isaiah is even talking about making sewing a career (not that this won’t change a hundred times, since he’s 8). The boys are wild for more sewing, and now Asher wants to learn, and I am doing everything I can to encourage this state of affairs. Apparently their sewing circle included the practice of making up rude and humorous songs of the sort that appeal to 8-10 year olds – I wonder if more youth sewing circles will exist if this spreads? .
We picked 34lbs of blackberries yesterday in the heat, and have already turned them to jam. I’ve got tomatoes ready to go next, herbs in the drying room, summer squash being frozen. We’re trying to get the house cleaned out for our annual recertification as foster parents, and now that we’ve had some desperately needed rain, I’m going to have to get some fall crops in (the earlier attempts all died horribly in the heat). I miss K. and C. a lot, but they are safe and well at home and I’m starting to hope for the phone to ring again and bring us a new placement. There is blackberry cobbler in the freezer and jambalaya for the day when we are too busy settling new children in to cook.
And that’s the news from here. In honor of the new book, I will give away 2 free copies – so sign up in comments if you are interested, and I’ll get the boys to pick names out of a hat! Winners get a signed copy of _Making Home_ free from me!
How are things for you all?