I would say my home this week was half full. Our home and family was half full this week. My daughter came for her first ever over night visit. It went from 8pm Tuesday - 4pm Thursday. The foster parents had thought they would arrive by 7pm but they got lost trying to navigate around our city. By 8pm my partner called their house to see if they had gotten word. We were worried about maybe a car accident or something. Can't stop worrying. It is part of being a mom. But within a few minutes they arrived. We showed them around the house and showed my daughter her room so that she could put her stuff there. We visited a few minutes and then they left and we all got ready for dinner.
My partner and I had decided it was better to treat things just like it would be if she lived here. That way she would adjust faster. We had done the same with my sons and within a few visits they knew what the routine, rules and expectations were. Which made the transition so much less stressful. So right away she jumped right in with helping to set the table while we finished up getting everything ready to serve up. Dinner turned out perfect. There was a bit of negotiation as to how much she needed to eat but none of it was stressful. We all talked about our day and just enjoyed being a family. We discussed the plans for the next day as well. There was a lot of laughing and joking.
After dinner I took our son in to have a bath while my partner and my daughter cleared the table and put dinner away. After my sons bath my daughter went and had her shower. Afterwards my partner and my daughter started to practice the guitars. He had gotten her one because she was interested in learning and since he already played one he had agreed to teach her. With in a short amount of time it was bed time. We all went to bed a lot more content and feeling like this was the way things were suppose to be. We all felt like two important family members were missing but we were so happy to have each other. One step closer to our family being whole again.
Sadly I woke with a very scratchy throat and spent a good portion of the night coughing. By morning it was clear I was getting a cold and my voice was going. I was determined though that it would not interrupt our plans. I was exhausted, head ached badly along with my body but I wanted my daughter to see what it was like living here. In the morning she slept in but was up by about 9 or so. My partner made his famous egg and bacon sandwiches. She loved them. We all sat at the table and had a good start to the day. When my son went for his nap my daughter and I made cookies. She shared with me some of her experiences and I shared with her some of my knowledge about cooking. She said when her grandmother was teaching her to cook she was suppose to sit at the table and just watch and not do anything. Where as I am opposite. I oversee everything but the person learning does the majority of the work. I think she enjoyed that way much better. The cookies turned out perfectly too.
By this time my son had woken up and we all went out shopping. When we had visits with my oldest two sons we would take them out with a set amount of money to get them clothes and other necessities. In this way there was no worries about them forgetting something(my mother was always forgetting to pack proper clothes and things when I had visits). They would have their own things here. So we headed out to the store and had a great time. We got my son what he needed and then started shopping for my daughter. At first she seemed to not be sure how to go about things. Whether I would pick and choose for her or if she was allowed to give an opinion. I let her know that she had to pick her own style. I gave her boundaries of what she could get(for example shorts could not be so short that if she beds over her butt shows, things like that) but other wise she got to pick and choose what she liked and thought looked good on her. If she asked I would give my opinion as well. Though my daughter has the type of figure that everything looks good on. I also told her never just buy something without trying it on first and making sure she truly liked it. This way she knew she would want to wear it. We all had a great time. She and my partner also spent time making sure I got something nice as well(easier said then done. lol, I hate shopping for myself). She got some cute tops and a pair of shorts. A good start to her wardrobe here. And then headed home.
Once we got back it was time to get started on making the pizza's. I had made sure to premade the crusts before we left. So it was a matter of getting the toppings made and ready and then loading them up and cooking them. They turned out great. While they cooked my daughter worked on her homework. She sat at the coffee table and got half of it done. At one point she had to ask my partner to not put a movie on because it would be a distraction to her working on her work. Can you tell we had not had a student in our home in a bit? lol There was times when we all just sat around while my sons napped and enjoyed just being together. No strain, no stress to impress any one. Just being a normal family. When supper was done it was time for bed for my littlest one and then my partner started to make home made peach ice cream while my daughter went to have her shower.
At this point I was utterly exhausted. My voice was just about gone but I didn't care. My daughter was home. Things just felt much more right. I still felt a huge emptiness because of my sons not being here but she was home. I hated that we had less then one day left together. But I also did not feel the same dread I felt every time we had to bring my sons back to my mother. When I would drop them off I knew that they were living in hell. No one would believe me then but I knew it. But this time I also knew my daughter was safe with her foster family. I knew they took good care of her. I knew they cared about her and thanks to their dedication to her we now had visits with the outlook for the future of her coming home. So even though I felt the sadness of her going to be leaving the next day I did not feel the same pain and turmoil I had with having to drop my sons off when they were going to my mothers.
That night I coughed so much my voice was almost gone by the morning. With in a few hours though it came back. In the morning my body ached even more and I was having hot and cold flashes from a fever. I didn't want to chance getting anyone else sick so breakfast was a grab what ever you want(cereal, toast, reheat yesterdays extra's from breakfast). I got my daughters laundry done so she would be taking back clean clothes. She got the rest of her homework done while my son has his morning nap. Afterwards when he woke we took a drive around the city so we could show her around to all the different areas that might interest her. She read us jokes off her Ipod and we just enjoyed being a family. Afterwards we stopped at the dollar store so she could spend some of her allowance. Then we headed home where she had lunch of left over pizza and then she cleaned up her room, got everything packed and ready and then it was just about time for her foster family to show up.
We all knew that we all would be counting the days till she would be home again for another visit but also counting the days till she was home for good. Her foster family arrived and we all had a good discussion and then it was for them to go. It was obvious she would have preferred staying but we knew the time would come when she would be home for good.
When she left the house was instantly silent. The dogs sat at the door watching her leave. Then the youngest paced back and fourth from her room to us wondering where she had gone. We really felt like the house was empty again. The same feeling we got everything we had to drop off my sons. Like the soul of the house was gone or part of it was missing. All in all the visit was wonderful. We know there will be growing pains, adjustments having to be made, compromises considered and so on as we all learn to be a family again and live under the same roof. But we also know that it will all be worth it. We all want to be a family again. We never should have been so permanently torn apart like we were. But now is the time to rebuild and bring our family back together. Hopefully soon my sons will be doing the same things. Preparing to return home where they belong. Getting to meet and grow up with their new little brother. Never to be separated so permanently again. I loved being able to hug my daughter, laugh with her, joke with her, teach her and be her mom again.
This family has gone through hell and now is the time that the steps are being made to heal us all and bring us back together. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and hope with us that the family that has my sons will open their hearts and see the truth of the situation and realize my sons need their mother. That they need me as much as I need them and that we are meant to be together as a family. Now to count the days till the next visit.
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