3 boys on bikes, my running shoes and 3 miles. Thats how we do it.
I got a new phone last night. Captain Energy and Mr. Grumpy Pants were fascinated with it…as am I. I showed them some of the features and they watched part of a movie on it. This morning the bag from the T-Mobile store is sitting on the table when the two wander downstairs. Captain Energy sees the bag and then has the following conversation with the husband:
Captain Energy: Did you buy us presents?
Husband: No, why?
Captain Energy: What’s in the bag?
Husband: That’s the bag that Krista’s new phone came in.
Captain Energy: Krista got a new phone?
Seriously with that?
I cleaned Mr. Grumpy Pants and Captain Energy’s bathroom the other day and decided I was tired of the toothpaste sitting out on the counter…so I put it in the drawer. This was the first time since they arrived I had rearranged anything in their space like that. So I’m laying in bed the next morning and the two yahoos are up along with the husband. The husband has given direction to brush teeth and then wandered downstairs. So I hear Captain Energy head into the bathroom. Not two seconds later he is at the top of the stairs yelling for the husband. The husband asks what’s up to which Captain Energy answers ‘the toothpaste is gone. Someone took the toothpaste.’ Not only was it funny to me that the fact the toothpaste may belong in a drawer seemed foreign to him but I thought it was hysterical he would think someone took it. Who exactly did he think had wandered in during the night and ganked the toothpaste. When the husband found it in the drawer Captain Energy responded with his usual….hmmm.
I watched a show last night where one of the choreographers created this dance which he said came out of the anger he recently felt when someone close to him stabbed him in the back. And while it was angry and sad and heartbreaking it was also poetic and amazing…i was envious he had created something so beautiful. As a creator myself I understand how to harness those feelings into the creation process…some of the best words that come out of me are based on anger and sadness and fear. What i wish is that everyone knew how to harness their feelings like that. We spend so much time as a society talking about our feelings and how we should deal with certain types of feelings and how some feelings are unacceptable. But what if there was more emphasis on taking those feelings and instead redirecting them at the creative process. Can you imagine how much more creation…creation of anything….would happen?
I know a lot about the foster system these days. How its set up, why it exists, how it breathes, how it protects the kids. And I get it all. I get that these kids need a safe space to stay while their parents need time to figure things out. I get that everything is set up for the best interest of the kids. And that there are time frames and plans that ensure they wind up somewhere permanent within two years…whether that’s back home or some place new (and ultimately better). And why wouldn’t it be about the kids? They need people looking out for them seeing as how they can’t stand up for or defend themselves at that time in their lives.
But with these kids comes their parents who are the reason these kids are in the foster system. And these parents usually need help. They are asked to clean up their act, find better places to live, provide what they weren’t providing, change the way they raise their kid, quit yelling, quit hitting, quit drinking, quit anything addictive. Simply put…they are asked to be a better parent.
And this is where the system fails.
These parents have no idea how to do the things they are being asked to do. They don’t know how to quit or change the behaviors because these behaviors (or faults) didn’t start with them. Shit, who knows how many generations these behaviors have been in place. These parents probably come from generations of addicts and abusers and neglecters. So of course they have NO idea how to change their behaviors…especially change them in the short time frame they are asked to do so. And while the system offers up all sorts of money to protect and assist these kids, there is no assistance for these parents. No classes offered, no financial assistance…nothing. There are parents out there with no high school educations, no drivers licenses, no jobs, and basically no idea how to find themselves a lawyer. How the hell are they supposed to shape up with no basic life skills in place?
These parents are asked to put in place what i have spent the last 15 years of my life putting in place…they don’t have 15 years. And no matter how much i want to be angry at a parent for the fact their child wound up in my home, i can’t not feel sorry for the her. For while I’m taking care of her children, at least I have the ability and skills to do that. She’s trying to figure out how to negotiate a situation she is completely unequipped to negotiate.