Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Ryder's gone home, and as usual I'm up and down about her going.

Other Foster Carers tell me they also have mixed emotions when a foster child leaves. They are pleased and relieved that things appear to be on the up for the child, but that's counter-balanced by concerns that things might go pear-shaped again, it happens.

Then there's the sense of loss which is sparked off by little things such as having to set the meal table differently, and that's counter-balanced by having less work to do around the house.

The way our memory seems to work is that we end up with one compact flashbulb recollection of a person once they are long gone.

But in the days after departure you have loads of different memories. The question is which one will take top spot and be the single image that bursts into life whenever someone says: "Do you remember Ryder?"

Will it be the time she tried a drop of Tobasco and milked the moment, ending up gulping water from the kitchen tap?

Or maybe the day she took delivery of a beanie hat she'd bought on my Amazon account; she answered the door herself and was tickled pink to get to 'sign' for it.

I ALWAYS seem to have a clear image in my mind of the moment I first clapped eyes on each new arrival. Ryder was a typical picture of melancholy with her downcast eyes, hands plunged in her hoodie pocket. Her expression changed when I fetched her a diet Coke in its cool classic glass bottle*

Maybe I'll recall the 'goodbye' hug she gave me before climbing into her Social Worker's car.

Time will tell.

I just had a sudden thought; spool forward three or four decades when fostering is just a pleasant memory for me (that's assuming my memory is in some kind of working order...)

What will be my one flashbulb memory when I hear the word "Fostering".

So many great moments.  Mind you, the way nostalgia ambushes us every time, I bet I'll even get rheumy-eyed over the testing times.

Actually, some of the testing times are genuinely among my favourite moments.  To name but a few; managing to find a MacDonald's open at 11.00pm one night when a teenager needed calming down and only a Big Mac would do the trick - I will always picture the look on that dear girl's tear-stained face when I knocked on her bedroom door to deliver the iconic bag of fast food.

Then there was the time a troubled boy came to stay with us for a second respite spell. I opened the door to greet him and he was bursting with pride because somebody - namely me and our family - had met him, knew he was a handful, and still actually WANTED him back.

Then there's the child who asked "Why are you so nice?". Yeah, she must have maybe never experienced a normal adult who is bright and kind. (The thing was I didn't have an answer to the question, it would have sounded big-headed, so I settled for saying something like "Oh I have my off days like everyone else.") But I think of that question often and probably repeat it to myself to get through tricky moments.

As you can probably tell, I'm a bit tender at the moment. 

A very pleasant sadness.

My partner is often heard saying he doesn't know what he would have done without football.

I don't know what I'd have done without fostering.

*PS, fizzy drinks are not a staple in our house, but I usually have a closely-guarded bottle or a can of something for emergencies and rewards.

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