Monday, December 10, 2018

Fostering Family


I've been struggling a little bit lately, trying to get into the Christmas spirit, but it's not coming as easily for me as it has in past years. Things have been somewhat challenging at home, and it makes for a difficult transition into the holidays. I know that this is all part of what we signed up for when Andrew and I made the decision to become foster parents, and I know that I am probably just having a "moment", and this too shall pass, but there are times, like today, when I feel a little off-kilter.

Brennen has been doing great, thankfully. He is thriving. We are trying to keep things as "normal" for him as possible, in this completely abnormal way of living. It's just not natural. Foster care, essentially, is trying to make a stranger feel like part of your family, and as you can imagine, in some cases it is nearly impossible. We have had some very positive experiences as foster carers, no doubt, and that is what gets us through the tough times. Knowing that we do have the potential to have a positive influence on the life of a child is why we feel compelled to continue doing what we do.

We are taking a different approach to Christmas this year. I am not going overboard with gifts and homemade fancy everythings. We are choosing our events and holiday parties carefully, being sure to spend more time with those we want to spend time with, and less with those we don't.

This weekend, I had approximately two dozen things marked on my calendar that I wanted to accomplish, including holiday events and activities to attend, a list of things I needed to purchase, cards that needed to be sent, gifts that needed to be wrapped, batches of cookies that needed to be made, projects that needed to be completed, and reports that needed to be written - and I didn't do any of it. On Saturday, we had a rare day with just Brennen at home. The sun was shining and there had been a big dumping of snow the day before, and it was super Christmassey! Just after breakfast, I called my sister and said, "Come over! Our backyard looks like a snow globe!"

And so she came. With her husband and kids and their electric enthusiasm, and we had the best day! We ignored our schedules, avoided prior commitments, and we played in the snow. For hours! Several times, mid-snowangel, shouting, "We are not in the mall!!"

So many photos!


So, you guys, I apologize if I have missed your gatherings, or not taken you up on that invitation for tea. I am just working towards a slower and calmer Christmas season this year. It has been a while coming, but I have realized that when you are running on nothing, it is ok to just hang out and rest, making family time a main priority, and not getting bogged down with all of the expectations of the holidays.

At the end of the day, I know that what I am doing as a Mom is most definitely worth the hardships, worth the deprivation of self-time, worth it ALL, yet I still need these moments to refresh and catch up and to redirect my thoughts for a fresh outlook tomorrow.

I wish you all a happy December.. and maybe even a silent night!
All is calm, All is bright?! (Ok, I won't go that far!)

2 comments:

  1. Best post I've seen from anyone this year! ! Look at everyone's face...especially Brennan's! ! No money or gifts can replace time or those memories. May God bless you all this Christmas season and bring more of those beautiful smiles and love that you lovingly shared with your viewers today
    Just seeing those smiles brightened my day and reminds me of when my son Matthew who has Cerebral Palsy smiles like that too. Brings SO much joy to everyone! Thank you for sharing!
    Colleen

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  2. Great article Julie. I engaged this conversation at work last Monday morning. Christmas can be an emotionally trying time for many people, me included. Trying to scale back, stepping back from some of the social expectations and not adding to our own stresses is great advice. By the time Christmas gets here, everyone is too tired and stressed to enjoy it. Merry Christmas to you all xx

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