I was a bit emotional yesterday. Not for bad things, but for all the cute things that I'm blessed with in my life. My kids were remarkably well behaved last night, I made a birthday cake for #7 and the homemade icing - tonight's for decorating - and he was so excited that I was a good cook and was making him a cake (I'm continuously in awe about some of the things that my foster kiddos are impressed with), and then I spent some good reading time with my son who was being as cute as can be.
For example, he said in a cute whiny voice (it was intentional, he doesn't usually whine), that he wanted his cuddle blanky. Then after he went upstairs to get it he said that he liked it because it reminded him of me and when I took care of him when he was a baby. Then a few minutes later he told me that when he's hugging his blanket he's hugging me. I told him he was making my heart melt - later he repeated the conversation back to his dad verbatim on the phone. It was just so sweet. I kept tearing up.
One of the books we read was about patriotism and a little boy's project. But his dad was a soldier and away and wouldn't be coming to the designated time when the project would be seen by parents, so he was flustered. As I do with my son, I talked to him about why the dad couldn't come, and how some of the kids in the world don't get to see their daddies (or mommies) because they are away fighting in the military and won't be back for a long time. I teared up again.
Then afterward as I was waiting for the cupcakes to finish baking (I always make cupcakes with birthday cakes, it's just my thing), we were cleaning up with the news in the background. My son unfortunately caught this story, and really only the part where they said the boy wasn't breathing. He has such a tender heart and since we foster he realizes that sometimes there are kids out there without good parents. But thankfully I don't think he has to think about it every day. When we watched that story though his poor little heart - I could see how sad it made him. He was thinking that the boy was just not breathing and he said that was bad. When I told him the boy had died it was even sadder. When I told him how the news said he died (or what had happened to him at a very high-level), I just wanted to cry. How could anyone do something like that to a child?
My son and I continued to talk about things like that for a few minutes as we cleaned up the house waiting for the cupcakes. I told him how sorry I was that this world had bad guys in it - that should never ever happen - and reminded him how much we love him and wouldn't ever hurt him like that. Then, as sweet as he is, he went on to tell me in his matter-of-fact-yet-tender way that if a boy ever showed up at our door and he wasn't breathing he would find a breathing machine and put the mask on his face (I think he was talking about a nebulizer) and then he would make the boy all better because we love kids (in our family) and take care of them when they need a good home. Because he's a good brother and we're a good mommy and daddy. And because he wants to help take care of people in the world. And then I wanted to cry some more.
For anyone wondering whether fostering will hurt your current children - I'd probably say that though there is obviously a chance (as much as there's a chance for a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. biological child to "harm" your 1st) - there is equally the opportunity for these very rich life lessons that are so real because we are actually on a daily basis taking care of the orphaned (however temporary). For us, right now, this type of conversation with our son shows me we're doing something right.