“Might I,” quavered Mary, “might I have a bit of earth?”...“Earth!” he repeated. “What do you mean?”“To plant seeds in–to make things grow–to see them come alive,” Mary faltered. He gazed at her a moment and then passed his hand quickly over his eyes...“A bit of earth,” he said to himself, and Mary thought that somehow she must have reminded him of something. When he stopped and spoke to her his dark eyes looked almost soft and kind. “You can have as much earth as you want,” he said. “You remind me of some one else who loved the earth and things that grow. When you see a bit of earth you want," with something like a smile, “take it, child, and make it come alive.” “May I take it from anywhere–if it’s not wanted?”

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dear Friend,

This post/letter was written as a result of some hurt feelings. I had some friends who felt like I was not reciprocating friendship well. I just had to get some of my thoughts and feelings written down so I could process...

Dear Friend,

I am writing this letter because you in some way have reached out to me or offered to help me with my son. If you have reached this point, you likely already know that all is not always well with Branden. You may even know some of his history, trauma, and even diagnoses. But one thing I can be pretty confident in, is that you have no idea what it is like to raise him.

If you have a child of your own, you may understand what it is to dedicate you entire existence to your child's existence. But see, in the situation with my family, I was not given the opportunity to hold Branden in my arms as a baby and start fresh with loving this little boy that is totally dependent on me. Instead I have a 50lb explosive 10 year old who actually is more like a toddler. It does not mean that I love my son less than if he were my biological child. It just means the process of loving him is much different. Love is an emotion, but also a choice. And most days, I have to make the choice to love my son when I don't feel it. I have learned from my son that love is something you do.

Please know that when you look at my family, things are not always as they seem. We may put on a good face and look like things are going beautifully. That is the nature of his disorders. But once we are back in our home...we struggle through a living hell, filled with manipulation and aggression. I am not asking for your pity. I chose him. And because of that I choose to love him.

Branden's issues, although mostly psychological, eat him alive. When he makes progress and begins to heal, immediately he takes a few steps back. It is as if he has a worm in his soul that devours all the good things that are placed in Branden's soul. Some days, it is as if the worm eats everything. There are multiple times every day when I am Branden's sole lifeline...the only thing holding him together. If your child had a deadly physical illness, you would spend every single waking moment doing whatever you could to help him. And, quite honestly, if someone walked in and asked you to switch your attention, you would resent the person for even thinking of it.

Every single day Branden wakes up to face the demons of his past. And every single day, he throws them at the only person he even has to trust...even if he isn't always confident of that trust...me. Therefore, I fight the demons of his past as well. It is easy to tell me to how to parent him, what to worry about and what not to worry about, that I am overreacting. But Branden is not normal. Our life is not normal. And when you say those things unsolicited, it's like a slap in the face. Maybe my feelings are overreactions, but they are my feelings just the same. Regardless of intent of words...the same hurt is left over every time.

In my family, every day is either survived in crisis mode, recovering from being in crisis mode, or preparing for the next crisis. Most days of the week I am barely holding on myself. There are many times that just one phone call may undo the very fragile balance in my brain and soul. So I hit ignore and keep trudging on. I say all this to say that I will likely be a terrible friend. You may text or call me and I may not get back to you for a week...or forget completely. You may not hear from me for a while and suddenly I may call you very composed and ask for help. Please know that if I am asking for help, I likely desperately need the help. Asking is not something I do often. Our friendship may seem very one-sided and you may feel like you are doing all the work. I probably will not go out with you or come over to visit much. Please don't take all this personally. It is just the nature of the job I have taken upon myself.

If you have made it this far and still want to be my friend and help out, then you are a saint. Thank you. If on the other hand, you have decided that this is too much for you, then you are still a saint. That may sound strange, I know, but I appreciate your honesty. I appreciate you not wasting the precious and short time I have with my child to help him heal. I appreciate that you see your limits and are not coming into this with unrealistic expectations of me, because I will be unable to reciprocate. So whichever category you fall into, thanks for taking the time...and please pray for us.



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  2. Hi, I just thought I'd introduce myself. I'm Cynthia. I'm almost finished certifying to foster here in nyc. I am a forty something single mom to one daughter who is eight...and I have been called to be a mommy to another beautiful child who is in need. So glad to have found your blog. I am starting a blog about our journey...and I already have one about my life as a single mom with my daughter the past five years. So good to meet you here in this blog-a-verse! Glad you are sharing your journey. It is so helpful for people like me who are just starting out.

  3. Tammy are you still fostering? I hope so! It gets lonely when you feel like you might be the only single gal out there fostering.