I woke up the morning after Halloween and looked around wondering when my home could have possibly been vandalized.
There lay all the clothes that the kids had changed out of to get into their costumes the afternoon before, then the costumes they changed out of when we came in late from celebrations exhausted. The makeup and hair vanity trashed with glitter spilled from one of my Elsas and black powder spots on the carpet by our ninja and redneck. Our dining room table was full of candy buckets and empty candy wrappers. What topped it all off for me though, was that the cat had gotten into a bucket of candy, eaten to his hearts content, and then vomited right outside my bedroom door. I did not know this however, until after I stepped in it... barefooted in the dark of the 5am morning after. Some people may live like this, and be quite fine, but not me!! Not us! Not ever!! We’re foster parents, the state of NC has declared this house to be liveable...but we have a certain standard to uphold, right?!
I used to be the woman that had a crock pot of marinated meat on by 7am, and then vacuumed her way out the door before work in the morning, so that fresh vacuum marks and the smell of ready to eat pot roast would greet us when we arrived home after a long day at work. Now, I’m that woman who grabs a shirt out of the dirty clothes basket, checks for spots, does a quick sniff check before putting it on ,and rushes out the door for school drop off ( like you’ve never done that yourself!). She then picks up drive thru for everybody on the way home at night. We currently have 5 children in our home, and to say the least, life and time have changed me! But are these changes for the better? Well, I guess it would depend on your perception and priorities. If vacuum marks, your favorite sitcom, and a pioneer woman meal planning calendar are most important to you, then I guess you could say our lives took a drastic turn for the worst. But, if the sound of children’s uncontrollable laughter, the precious bedtime prayers, the “I’m sorry” tears, or a tight-teeth squeeze are what keep you going on hard days, then I might be more inclined to think that we’ve struck it rich!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still the “iron the sheets” kind of girl living in a “throw a towel over the pee spot” kind of world. And let me be very clear, we ABSOLUTELY do not just sit back and let the children destroy property. But , I have traded in my fine matching dinner plates for vintage plates from Goodwill. At 25 cents a pop, broken accidents are our opportunity to show grace. Foster care has taught this sentimental fool to value people over things. When it comes down to it, it’s just stuff! When my life is over, that stuff will never remember me, or talk about all of our great memories through the years. Instead I choose to invest in people, who one way or another will carry on for years to come and then generations after that. How do I want to them to remember me and talk about me? Do I want them to talk about my starchy attitude and how wonderfully clean my house always was? Or about all the good times we shared as a family? Like that incredible Halloween of 2014 when we partied hard! Remembering that fight over who actually won the “sour patch candy eating contest” and who lost with the most horrible look on his face? Maybe some of you moms out there have figured out how to have both a spotless house and lots of kids with lots of drama? If so, please share you secret with me! Until then, I choose those memories that make me smile at the most unexpected times.
I’ve come to realize that what I gave up doesn't even begin to compare to what I have gained. This certainly isn’t at all what we thought that winning the lottery would feel like, but the hard earned, unexpected victories are way more cause for celebration than the easy win. These emotionally exhausting days hold far greater value than any I’ve lived before. The best kind of value..eternal, forever, and then whatever comes after that!
A Seven Homes Foster Mom