It’s been a while since I raced.
And by “race” I mean paid $40 to put on a bib and run behind a whole bunch of people way faster than I ever will be towards the music and beer and pie and iced espresso.
The last race I ran was a half that I downgraded to a 10K. Drove to by myself, raced by myself, and left by myself. Never saying a word to anyone. I slogged up the hill. I slogged down the hill. I turned around in time to start getting passed by the leads in the half. I leapfrogged run/walking with a few other desperate to finish women. I heard the music. Saw the balloons. Sprinted ((well, hobbled a little bit faster)) to the end. Patted myself on the back and drove myself home to eat and sleep.
It was horrible.
And I can’t help but think about doing it again.
The last six months in Foster Care were more or less that race. We slogged through wishing it to be over and dreading the finish all at the same time. Struggling up the hills, struggling down the hills. Run/walking the entire way. Exhausted. Trying to finish strong but out of breath and out of steam and out of motivation to make it to the end.
But we kept going. Kept walking knowing the music and the cheering and the balloons are so. very. close. We just can’t see them yet.
and then, before we know it, we are in our car, headed home to eat and sleep and process what the hell just happened.
We sent our girlies off last week. With bags of clothes and books and toys. Albums full of pictures. Memories of a season with our family. We sent them off to be reunited with their sibling. Something long overdue.
I’ve been dreading the feelings of being “the other foster home.” Of playing a part in kids moving from place to place. Nervous about how to handle comments about our constantly changing family.
A family that did respite for us a few weeks back said the thing I was truly, honestly, dreading. “I’m glad things aren’t so crazy anymore for you.” They had all five kids on a Sunday afternoon because the county thought it would be good initial childcare experience. Ha! I feel like, maybe, just maybe, we were a bad place to start.
I mean, I AM so glad things aren’t so crazy anymore, but I feel like I get to say that, you know? I’ve been processing why I’ve been dreading that comment and why it stuck out so much for me in a weekend full of encouraging, just the right thing, comments.
It was our crazy and maybe in a sense, I liked it. And in another way, I miss it. And in a third way, it feels too oddly quiet around here and I hate it.
To bring back the running analogy, it would be like if someone at a water station came up to you after a race and said, “wow, it was hot today.”
It was hot. You are right. Thank you.
It was crazy. You are right. Thank you.
I don’t miss the driving or the meltdowns or the sibling rivalry. The early morning wakeups or the lack of spontaneity. But I do miss our girlies and I would be lying to say that I don’t. We worked really hard with them. We helped get them to a point where they could be ok together in one home. Gave our friends enough time to be in a place to say yes. We loved them in every possible way you could love someone.
It was insane, but I still miss it.
We did it. We made it to the end of a season. The end of a race.
I guess, now, we get to do the water station and comment on the heat. That’s one of the pluses about not racing. And maybe a good reminder to be nicer to the water station people. They most likely have a ridiculous race coming up too.