The seasons are a big deal for gardening fanatics.
Bigger for foster parents.
Cold weather means indoor stuff in the evenings and at weekends; everyone cramped together.
Good weather means the outdoors beckons.
When it's cold and wet we're constantly challenged to come up with things our foster children can do for recreation in the house. If I had a pound for every time I heard "I'm bored".
But Winter has it's merits; our children are close to hand (ie never further than upstairs), so we can monitor them, influence them, show them our attachments; in short we can actively parent them.
Come Summer and they are generally off and out.
And why not? It's what we all did when we were young. The great attraction of the great outdoors is not so much the fresh air and sunlight as the freedom.
Freedom from... us!
Independence is a heady thing. Do you remember the first time you crossed a road by yourself? The first time you bought something in a shop? The first time you came home from a friend's house by yourself?
The list of firsts on the independence ladder goes on and on.
I had another first yesterday; I was asked by a rep from Fosterline which racial group I belonged to. I replied "Well, I'm white I suppose..." Then I remembered my parents backgrounds and said "No! I'm A Celt! Yes...a Celt dammit! Can you put me down as a Celt?"
The man replied; "Er...well I've never been told Celt before, but I guess that's a racial group...so er..okay."
So; another first. I'm finally in a racial minority. Not an oppressed one, or one where I'm subjected to prejudice thank God. But one which helps me feel the lure the Scots and Welsh have for independence.
Massive thing Independence.
And warm weather plus light evenings open the doors for foster children who want to experiment with their independence.
They want to go out on their own. Come home on their own.
Come home late.
I've heard foster parents moaning about their foster children wanting mobile phones. Look, one of mine, not yet in secondary school, has a mobile. It gives him kudos up the playing field, and why shouldn't a child in care, who feels the indignity of being looked-after have something to balance the books?
It's got a couple of Apps: 'Find Friends' and "Find iPhone'.
Equipping your foster child with a phone means you can call them or message them any time.
And it means you can tell where they are, to within about twenty feet!!!
The phone is twinned with ours so we can also discreetly monitor its activity (nothing as yet - the child is too busy having fun with mates to go roaming).
Does it mean we no longer worry about the child being out and about?
Does it heck. We are still wearing our outdoor shoes until we hear the front gate, just in case.
Summer; less for the foster parent to actually do, more for the foster parent to worry about...
Summer: Forward gear for foster children, forward gear for fostering.