I woke up this morning to our cat Mow Mow (Kirstie from upstairs calls her Houdini because she’s an escape artist) lying across my neck as if she were the receiver and my neck was the cradle for an old type of home phone (we still remember those right?) I shoved her off and then looked at my window which was covered in a not-so-thin layer of ice. I am not sure which was worse.
When winter starts, I always try to be optimistic and make myself believe that the sparkly appearance of a light snow fallen on the evergreens behind my parents’ house somehow makes up for the shoveling and scraping. I think of hot chocolate and warm sweaters and my parents hot tub and try to romanticize the whole thing. But you know what? I haven’t finished a cup of hot chocolate since I was a kid, the warmest sweaters are always the itchy kind and the hot tub? Well it dries my skin out.
I am ready for Spring! Anyone else with me?
Thursday morning I couldn’t get out of my driveway because of the ice underneath the snow. It was one of those moments when I realized it would be REALLY nice to not be doing the single mom gig. I had to get to work and I was running out of time and my poor tires were working so hard I could smell them. I finally broke down and called my parents’ house. Work canceled but I still needed to go in. Mom sent my 18 year old brother over to help me out. Co and I relieved ourselves of our coats and hats and mittens inside and (of course) by the time Ben made it to our place, he drove the car out of the driveway without a hitch. He came in and gave me that look that only teenagers can give… that “man adults are stupid” look- if you are over the age of 25 and have any regular interaction with a teenager, you know what I mean. My tires were so warm, surely the ice had melted below them in the hour between the time I was fighting with the driveway and Ben showed up to rescue me. Oh well. I just let him think I was stupid.
I made it in to work and enjoyed the afternoon of chatting with my boss, Debbie, and my co-worker, Hollie. The only representative for the male gender in our office happened to be out that day so the estrogen took over. By the time Debbie and I left for training later that afternoon, I realized I am starting to feel like a real bona fide part of the office. We drove to a church in Columbus where the training was to take place. I was there as an observer and Debbie was doing the training. I was excited to meet the 4 sets of foster parents who I knew were coming… excited even to get started since my first training had been canceled two nights before.
As the couples trickled in, I realized I felt something I don’t often feel: intimidated. I even had to check myself- Am I feeling intimidated? Really? And I was. For one, they all really like Debbie and even though I know one of my strengths is speaking and teaching, I suddenly felt the weight of being compared to someone who is seasoned in this field that I am just dipping my toes into. I was aware that the couples were trying to assess my age. Being younger than the majority of the people you are teaching can be a hurdle. I knew that coming into this job, but I felt it at the beginning of the evening. One woman began talking about how hard it is to accept suggestions from someone who isn’t a parent themselves. I knew she wasn’t talking about me (directly), but that in a way she was fishing … trying to get me to tip my hand about my experience. I was sure to mention my toddler later in the evening discussion and felt the respect level rise, but knew the next hurdle will be that parenting a toddler and having grown children isn’t comparable. I went on to share some stories and realized I had started half of them with, “my parents had a foster child who…”– GEEZ! I don’t think that helped. I have grown up with lots of foster kids, my parents ran a residential home, my brother is mentally challenged, I have worked with families at risk and troubled children of all ages, and I have a degree that fils in some of those gaps. But at the end of the day, I am not a foster parent myself. And yet I am going to be training them.
The rest of the night things definitely warmed up. A sense of humor goes a long way and I was acutely thankful for my mom’s sarcasm that she passed on to us kids because it worked. We finished training up a little early (which made everyone even happier) and I turned off the lights as we headed out of the building, thankful my first day the teaching wasn’t all on me; thankful I had a chance to feel the scariness of it from the audience and not the front of the room; thankful I made a few friends in the process. And you know what else? I am going to get licensed for foster care. Its something I have always known I would do….eventually… One of the couples who was there are close to my age and only take children under five years old. They said they get referrals all of the time and I thought to myself, I could do that. There are literally THOUSANDS of children in Ohio who are waiting on foster or adoptive families and I have a home with space and a heart to do it, so I guess the question became for me: what are you waiting for? My answer was the lame ‘well for things to settle down’- but really– are things ever going to settle down completely? Not likely. So we’ll see… I will keep you updated. (If any of you have thought about foster care and have questions, let me know. Its a wonderful thing to do if God puts it on your heart)
The bummer? You can’t post foster kid’s photos on the internet so no matter how cute they are, y’all will only get to hear stories and not see faces…. (don’t these counties know about BLOGGING? Geesh *grin*)