I watched my neighbors connect. It’s something I don’t think we get the chance to do that often anymore. During this age of social media, many of us spend more time updating statuses or tweeting than we do sitting down and having a conversation. Even better, a conversation over a slice of pie. There is something inherently neighborly and folksy about ruminating over pie.
To my girls, right now, I am super human. Flawed, undoubtedly, but they overlook, forgive, and maybe even ignore them. What they see is that superhero my 14-year-old self wished to be. In my girls’ minds, I can accomplish anything. I am defender, righter of wrongs, protector of justice.
I grew up with an understanding of manual labor that the children of those who work with their hands often receive: as rewarding as it might be, it is awfully hard on your back. My dad would come in from his barn at night, primer dust in his hair and streaks of paint on his shirt and we knew better than to complain about our days.
This is a tale about the lives of two men and their (highly opinionated) son. I do think it’s worth telling, but it’s a simple one about our little family. I hope that by telling this side to our story, more people will become motivated to become foster carers as well.
I was inevitably drawn into the disagreement. Were they really fighting over who got to use the bathroom first when they got home? Yes. Yes, they were. And they were dragging me into it. Serves me right for only having a home with one bathroom. “Well,” I said. “Who called DIBBS?” Stunned silence momentarily followed.
I say, “I am just down the hall. You have nothing to fear. I am here and will protect you . I always will,” I tell her. “There are no monsters lurking in the dark.” I say these things. Even though a very big piece of me cringes. I promise her she is safe and that there are no such thing as monsters, but even as I say it, I feel the bitterness of the lie on my tongue.
The final day (June 25, 2012) of the 2011-12 school year passed without an event. The typical feelings relief and accomplishment were strong, but overshadowed by the impending arrival of our baby. On June 27, I prepared a smoothie and the second dose of castor oil for my wife, who had chosen to sleep on the couch due to its close proximity to the toilet, before heading to bed. At 12:15 AM, I heard her…