A few days ago I had to pick Evan up from school early because he had an appointment. His class was lined up to go to the gym. When a teacher saw me, he told Evan it was time for him to go. From the front of the line, he turned around and ran to me. I picked him up and he wrapped his little arms around my neck. He said “I’m so happy you are here!” I smiled and told him I was happy to be there too. It’s moments like these that remind me why I foster. At this time, I am his safe place. His face lights up when he sees me. In these moments, I almost forget how much he loves to push my buttons.
When we got home from all of our running, the kids went to play while I started dinner. Most of the time I play music while I’m in the kitchen. It’s not uncommon for my husband, the kids, and I to dance around to music while dinner is being prepared. Evan loves music and dancing. I’m guessing that’s what made him come back to the kitchen. He danced around while I finished up. When dinner was ready, I told him to tell everyone to come and eat. He walked to the bottom of the stairs and yelled up “Mommy said dinner is ready!”
Most of the time he calls me by my first name with Ms. in front of it. It was never discussed what he would call me, that’s just what he does. Recently, he has started calling me “mom,” “mama,” or “mommy.” Since the first time he spoke about his biological mother, he called her by her first name. Sometimes he says “my mommy, ____” but usually he just says her name.
Trying to imagine how confused he must be is impossible. He has been moved from home to home, with different parental figures at each one. He deserves stability. My days aren’t easy, and my nights are even worse. I am sleep deprived from his abnormal sleeping patterns. On an average night, he is the last child to fall asleep. He usually wakes me up yelling my name two or three times during the night. On non-school days, he is the first person up. There are no naps during the day.
All of my children denied me sleep when they first joined our family. I am no stranger to puffy eyes and coffee. The difference is that the other three were infants and he is four years old. Either way, he needs love and patience just like they did. He needs understanding even if he doesn’t understand himself. I am over scheduled, I am sleepy, I am mommy.