January 16, 2015 by multiracialsky
In this season of my life, I am circling around. I am again spending my days doing some things I was doing a decade or more ago, things I did for many years and then stopped. I am homeschooling, researching cloth diapers, and fixing tiny braids in little curls and tufts of hair. I have bottles, formula, and funny spoons with long handles sitting in my dishwasher. My dining room table hosts a math workbook, two pencils, a grip, a pink eraser, lip balm, and a stack of Ladybug and Spider magazines. Flashcards and library books have joined the lonely sock bin on the coffee table.
Although the base level is familiar, much is different this time around. For one thing, I am different. My four children are older (and helpful—who knew how much easier it is to have a baby with an older child who can help, if only for 10 minutes). I am homeschooling with two kids at home, not four. I’ve done this before—and my kids learned what they were supposed to (even when I was sure they were not). I’ve done babies, a lot of babies. I’ve brushed and washed and styled kinky-curly hair for many years now. I’ve got 13 years under my belt of raising kids, of raising Black daughters.
This time around, I have a sense that, no matter what happens, everything is going to be ok. And if it isn’t—that will have to be ok too; there aren’t really any other options. I only have so much control. Being a foster parent has helped me acknowledge this. As a foster parent the only thing I really have control over is my foster child’s daily life/experience when they are physically in my house. Some of my foster kids have had visits with parents/family members up to five days a week. Some have had full-time child care—carers chosen by their parents, not me. There is very little time in those situations to establish a new normal for a foster child.
There are ups and downs to the perspective of being a foster parent (versus being just the parent). I can very much be in the now with my foster child. I have to be. There most likely will not be a long-term plan for this child that I am involved in. I get to feed and clean and comfort and teach and snuggle this little one today. I don’t get to nor do I have to worry about whether they will be able to live independently as an adult. In the cases we’ve had so far, that has not been my job. I’ve been the for-now-mama not the forever-mama.
The two I have at home with me all-day-every-day right now, just thinking about their connection makes me smile. I am full-time raising and educating these two proud brown girls who will someday become strong Black women. I am also full-time raising, part-time educating my other three multiracial children. I do have my hands full (still), and—honestly—I love it.