On Joy Sparking

Foster Parenting

I’ve had some version of this typed up for quite some time. Disappointed in not being able to finish it while also feeling like something was missing. This idea of joy sparking will not be a new one to anyone familiar with the KonMari method of home organization. It’s the one where you hold every item in your home and, if it doesn’t spark joy, you get rid of it.  It has a special place in my heart for projects you never, ever, ever, want to start but are really glad you did when you are done.


We’ve had a lot of really hard discussions as of late. A lot of waiting. A lot of uncertainty. A few tentative timelines.

Timelines for things we need to decide. Really hard, heartbreaking no matter what, things.

There have been many days that I feel like I’m drowning. With my head barely above the water. Only to be completely amazed by something that sparks an overwhelming amount of joy.

Today was for sure one of those days.

We went to pick up the girls and things started to unravel. No one wanted to be in the car again. The day went by way too quick. We knew they were tired and overwhelmed. One of my little ones ran the other way when she got to the car. “No! No Wanna. MY mama. MY mama.”

It just…well… sucks to be the other one. The one they don’t want. The one they are mad at and take it out on and the not the right one- one. I managed to buckle her in her seat still screaming. Then I had to coax in her sister. Who was also mad at me for the whole situation. For having to go to school. For not having a snack in the car. For getting her buckle stuck.

This is, obviously, ridiculously hard on all of us. The older kids tried to hold it together but I had to make a phone call and everyone was hungry and it was just a bad situation overall. A bad one that I wish I had handled differently.

By the time we got home, I still had to make dinner. Hungry and exhausted. Wanting a bottle of wine and a cheesecake. Or a bowl of popcorn. Or a piece of bread with butter. All the things not available to me during this *expletive* whole30 I signed up for.

Maybe that’s more than half my problem today and I should just stop here.


The joy sparking did happen. The girls sat down for a “conversation” and talked about the game they wanted to play and how they should compromise. Not a bit of prompting on my part. It was a little insanely mature for a 3 and 4-year-old. The 2-year-old decided to go potty in the potty. Twice. She’s not potty trained. At all. And my hodgepodge of forgotten vegetables roasting in the oven turned into a magic bowl of crispy comfort.


Things unravelled again. My husband came home late. The kids were wild animals during dinner. Half of them still had food on their plates when we cleared the table. One of them lost like every privilege known to mankind before being relegated to their room for the night. Rockstar parenting.

There will be a lot more ups and downs in the continuing months. And while we may have an end in sight, I’m not entirely sure I’m brave enough for it. That I’m strong enough for it.

It’s hard in the middle.

As much as I try to wish it away, though, I know that I can’t.  I still have a chance to see each one of the little tiny joy sparking moments and display them proudly.

I’m confident that these will be our “remember when” days:

“Remember when we had to climb over car seats to buckle everyone?”

“Remember when we put a bed in the sewing room to make room for more littles?”

“Remember when we couldn’t make it through a dinner without three different kids getting up and walking around?”

“Remember that month when we did whole30 and weaned the baby off the bottle and you were out of town for half of all of it?”

“Remember when our home was bursting and the beds were full and we collapsed in bed each night hearts overflowing?”

“Do you remember when….???”


Joy Sparking.


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