Saturday, September 05, 2020

MUMS AND DADS

When a young person comes into your home to live, their thoughts about their real parents are so very important to the whole exercise.

Fostered children have difficult perceptions about their parents, most will always struggle thinking about  their mum and dad.

Who doesn't sometimes?

A few years ago, after my dad died, I found a photo of him I liked. He was a young man of 29 sat astride a big motor bike. I had the photo blown up and took it to a framing shop to get it made up. The young man in the shop looked at the photo and went;

"Wow!"

I said;

"Yeah, that's my dad."

He went;

"It's a BSA isn't it?"

He studied the pic with ferocious intent.

"Yeah definitely a BSA, I think."

I said I didn't know, and added; 

"It's my dad."

He said;

"Cowling is the key, I'll get the magnifier."

He did. My dad was indeed sitting on a BSA. This interested the man no end.

"I think it's a 350." he said, adding "Wow."

I said;

"My dad motorbiked across Europe on it after the war. He rode it all the way to East Germany and tried to defect to the Soviet Union."

The man didn't reply, he was trying to read the number on the bike's petrol tank. I went on;

"My dad was very idealistic. He believed that communism was best for a fair and peaceful world."

The man replied;

"The first number looks like a '3', so It's probably a 350."

I continued;

"Of course back then we didn't know about the terrible things Stalin was doing to his own people. Good job they didn't let him in, or else he'd probably have ended up in a Gulag. And I wouldn't be here."

The young man ended the 'chat' by saying;

"They don't make 'em like that any more."

He framed it for me and it's hanging in the kitchen. I often look at it and remember my dad.

I also remember the young man, who had such an impossible task getting his heart to wake up to the concept of 'dad'. Why was he deaf to the word 'dad'?  It was worse than deaf, it was almost a dead word to him. Why did the person in the picture mean nothing to him compared to the machine?

I expect his relationship with his dad was what we call 'normal'; probably fair to average. I doubt he'd been taken into care or anything drastic, but it reminds me how difficult it must be for fostered children to think about their parents - if a 'normal' lad struggles to picture someone else's dad but instead displaces the concept in his head with motor bikes.

Bottom line for me in fostering is this; I never, ever ask. If they mention their folks I'm happy to go along but what we talk about and how we talk is in their control.

Even so it's a fair bet there'll be some anger shortly afterwards...



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