Happy Mother’s Day.

On Mother’s Day 2019, I discovered I was pregnant. The next day, I lost the baby. It had been our first pregnancy in nearly three years after suffering two miscarriages in 2016.

As I write this, it has been one week. I’m back at work. As I drift through the office, one hand occasionally resting on my stomach, I can feel emptiness there. Just over a week ago, I carried the beginnings of life. It is a strange, hollow feeling to have known and felt the presence of my child, days before any test, and then to know and feel just as definitely its absence.

This past weekend we were supposed to have the girls, and I navigated the week of the miscarriage completely in denial that this would be too much. The weight of knowing we’re the only respite option was heavy on me, and I didn’t want to let anyone down. After a cry on the beach with a friend on the Friday, and with four hours until drop-off, I finally said something. Respite was cancelled, and everyone was very kind and understanding.

A gift from said beach-walk friend. She’s great.

I believe that miscarriage shouldn’t have to be a secret – I think talking about helps other women to feel not alone – but I’m also mentioning it now because it’s part of this story of fostering. As much as I wish it weren’t, it’s part of my story.

Without my miscarriages, I wouldn’t have pursued adoption at this point in our lives, and that pursuit led us to fostering. We wouldn’t have known or loved Ana and Baby. I also might not have had so many conflicting and difficult feelings about forever with the kids. Undeniably, my losses have impacted my fostering journey.

And with this third loss – my worst fear realised – I have rediscovered the urgency of taking care of myself and enforcing boundaries to do so. After yet another complete loss of control over something so desperately important, and after witnessing myself still putting others first when I so badly needed to make myself the priority, I have found the clarity to begin to control the things I can – my wellness, my spirit and my not-inexhaustible reserves of emotional strength.

In this one week, I have started eating more vegetables, enjoying multigrain bread with olive oil, and stretching before bed. I checked out three mystery novels from the library, saw Avengers Endgame twice, and yesterday found myself laughing with CT in the kitchen for no reason. I made homemade applesauce for Issy, and banana bread, and saw a few friends. I focussed on me because I know I really have to.

And I realised how much I have agreed to truck along with long-term respite for the girls “until the time is right” out of a sense of obligation and fear of the unknown for myself and the girls – despite having felt deeply since Baby’s birthday party that I want to move on now. I have wanted to do the right thing – but I need to see them settle into their new family without being their old mama again on odd weekends. I want to wave them off into their new life knowing we did everything we could, and to close this chapter. I want to be open to new opportunities. I want to love and help another child – and/or take some time to just love and help myself.

With this third loss, I have no more worst fears. Of course I wonder: What if we try again and have a fourth miscarriage? I dunno, what if we don’t? Does being afraid of it matter, or change anything? No. Am I still standing? Yes. I feel like there is nothing left that I’m willing to part with the energy to be afraid of. Maybe this has helped provide me with so much clarity.

We have agreed to next weekend with the girls as a possible last, or near last, hurrah – nothing certain, of course. I can send all their clothes and books from our house back with them just in case, plus a photo book with our memories together. We will have playdates and try to have some fun. I have now discussed ending this particular journey with our social worker, who has agreed we should move in this direction.

I have loved loving the girls. I want to say goodbye now.

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Met these girls on Monday…

In the dead of night, I sneak into a sleeping child’s room and slip a cuddly sock onto each of her feet. I tuck in her quilt along both edges of the crib so she can’t easily kick it away and become cold in the night, and then I worry about this aloud to CT.

Why weren’t the socks already on? Because she’d have fought me when she was awake, and today we’d already had too many tantrums, too much screaming at the pitch of a tea kettle, too much contraryness and teary-eyed shrieking. I don’t know why today was like it was. Is she sicker (with a cold) than she looks? A tantrum hangover from abundant treats at access yesterday? A who-will-meet-my-needs hangover from access yesterday?

It’s a variation on a theme around here this week. Another family emergency with their whanau caregiver means the girls have been here since Monday. They go back tomorrow. I’m tired and sick. CT’s tired and will probably be sick soon. My tween daughter Issy was and is annoyed to find the girls here upon her return from her father’s this week and made that clear. We’ve been paying her a daily rate of $10 to be helpful with the kids. Today we doubled it.

Hazard pay, for the intensity of Ana’s banshee tantrum screaming.

We’ve also had some funny moments this week, and positive progress.

Funny: Ana can’t pronounce “fishy.” She has been instead saying a word that rhymes with “mucky”, but with an F. We have video.

Positive: Baby and Ana both settled well at night this week, after all my pain and agony and learning that Baby co-sleeps at home so was I torturing them by sleep training and oh the anxiety. Sorted!

Positive: Ana both accepting and inviting me to braid her hair.

Funny: Ana gathering all of the hair clips afterwards to sit down and style the dog.

Sorry, Donut.

Positive: Baby is very firmly attached to me and often seeks out CT to show him things or smile radiantly at him. This is always reassuring to see, as it bodes so well for the rest of her life in terms of forming healthy attachments. Yay!

Funny: Did I mention the “muckies” with an F. The hilarity is real. Hey f**kies! No f**kies. Look, f**kies!

(I will admit that the word has morphed midweek into “fickies”. Oh well. It kept us going for awhile there.)

As I listen to Baby rattle phlegm in her chest and toss and turn in the crib (yes, she is quite sick with a cold – there’s nothing like hearing your baby whack themselves against the bars or headboard as they flail around getting comfortable in there – eek!) I know they’ve had a good week, and each time they feel safe here versus being split up somewhere else is what’s best for them. Now I just need to be discreet about counting down to when they go home tomorrow and we can all finally relax… (and sleep)…

Fostering and fertility, or Wet Bibs of Emotion

I want to start by applauding anyone who thinks about fostering kids in need because they either can’t have more kids naturally or are currently childless and facing infertility. This is a hard choice, and an amazing way to create hope from your pain. There are many, many kids who need a caring home just like yours.

But if you’re considering fostering where having biological children has fallen through, there’s something you should know.

It’s confusing AF.

If you’re like me, maybe you have ideas like “I’d really like to adopt/give a home to a child who needs one.” What I’ve found in New Zealand is that these aren’t the same thing.

There are very few adoptions in NZ – only 7 last year in our biggest city – and the vast majority are adoptions of newborn babies. There is no waiting list; rather, a massive pool of hopeful applicants for birth mothers to choose from. Hundreds of couples. Some are chosen within weeks; some never.

You can still take your chances, but many people soon look to New Zealand’s “permanent” foster care option – Home for Life.

As a H4L parent, you are matched with a child who has already been in foster care for some time and now has court orders to never return home. A search for family or iwi has yielded no suitable takers. You become a co-legal guardian of the child, alongside the birth parents. You all must agree on the 5 “guardianship matters” – school, religion, language, appearance and non-typical medical treatment – and the bio parents could contest custody every 2 years if they really wanted to. Or not be in contact at all.

These factors, and the insane need for carers, sometimes lead people to start with or instead choose transitional fostering, even where they might have started out wanting to adopt. For myself and CT, a few question marks kept us hemming and hawing about applying for permanency, so we went with transitional foster care as a place to start. Many longtime foster parents recommend this – being placed with a child helps you to see what it’s like to parent a child who is a) not yours and b) from a hard place. There are a few types of transitional care: Respite (give a foster parent a break), emergency (21-28 days only), or short-term/long-term placements. We started with respite, broadened to emergency, and then – as often happens – it all went out the window, and our emergency girls stayed for two months and later kept coming back for short stints.

Musical toys. Something else I’d like to see fly out the window.

Choosing a type of care wasn’t even the most confusing part. The real mind muddling happened for me when we started taking care of these kids, knowing it was on a temporary basis, and suddenly all kinds of inconvenient emotions started appearing underfoot like a wet bib. (“Our day is going great, and – ew, what did I just step on? Ugh, why is it wet?”)

The goal of transitional care is to be, well, transitional. It’s not supposed to be forever. Some foster parents are really good at going into it with the mindset of, “I’m here to help for a short time.” I read a lot of comments in our local support group where these foster parents seem to have a firm grip on this reality, and they write about the pain of letting go with the caveat that “This is for the best. I’m glad this is happening.”

Others, like me, start wondering about forever nearly immediately, whether they’re supposed to or not. Sometimes, I suspect that every foster parent does this, whether they admit to it or not.

It is hard to love a child and not think about forever. It’s especially hard if you’ve experienced infertility, or lost babies, or initially wanted to adopt, to take care of a baby and ever imagine giving her back. I’ve characterized it as “confusing,” but maybe I should call it what it is: Brutal. It’s brutal.

This is where one can clearly see and understand how “adopting a child” differs in New Zealand from “giving a home to a child who needs one.” Newborns up for adoption don’t really need you, per se. They have hundreds of potential Mums and Dads waiting for them. It’s the kids who might not be with you forever who really need a loving space in your home.

Part of me wishes I’d realised this distinction before we started, but then I never would have met Ana and Baby. Because I do still want to add to our family in a permanent way, and it throws all these wet bibs into the mix to want to be someone’s mother but to instead care for children who aren’t meant to stay. Meeting Mama at Baby’s birthday hammered home for me that they have a new mama now, and it’s her. It also reminded me that, until our family feels complete to me, I’ll always wish our foster children would stay forever. While in this frame of mind, I can still take care of them – but in doing so, I’m not really taking care of me.

I’ll never tell someone to not explore foster care. I actually think everyone should do it. Can you imagine a world where, if a messed up family was hurting their kids, their community automatically opened their doors to offer the children refuge and help the kids to heal? Pretty soon, we’d have no more messed up families.

Fostering the girls has made me stronger and more resilient than ever. It has made my daughter into a sister and my husband into a Daddy, albeit temporary ones.

But if you’re going into foster care from a place of incompleteness or loss, just know that those old feelings will whack you upside the head the more you fulfil your mission of loving and healing the kids.

You might emerge stronger and capable of more, but with that same old broken heart. Unless, of course, someone, someday, stays.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe transitional care on the back of infertility becomes more deeply fulfilling with time.

It’s certainly a difficult, life-changing path. We’re staying on it for now to be there for the girls, but when the time is right, our application papers are ready.

Happy birthday to you

A few months ago, when we laid out the schedule for having the girls for respite, I decided to plan a party for Baby on the respite weekend closest to her first birthday. At the time, it was possibly the last weekend we were going to see them, and admittedly my reasons for planning the birthday were 2/3 wanting to do something cute and fun and pretty as a reward for all the hard slog, and 1/3 to make sure Baby had the classic 1st Birthday Experience of smooshing cake into her face and everyone making a fuss.

I was really looking forward to it. I felt like after all we had been through with the girls, my husband CT and I deserved a milestone celebration with friends like every new parent, where we toasted having made it through the year. The party would be about us and our life with Baby and Ana. I set a date and chose a theme.

Tropicaaaaal!

As we journeyed through our respite weekends, we often felt crap about not receiving any information about the girls’ current routines from their new whanau caregivers, meaning we had to effectively wing it each time. Although we eventually received a nice note, our agency social worker suggested we meet this caregiver at some stage to get on the same page and build a connection.

I began to wonder if I should invite the caregiver and their family to the party. It started to feel strange and selfish that we would have a birthday party for Baby without her caregivers there – the main loved ones in her life. I knew, however, that inviting them would mean that the party would shift from being about our family’s time with Baby and Ana into the potentially awkward blending of two worlds. Two families, strangers to each other, who both loved and had a connection with the girls.

I told myself that it was like any blended family – you need to share. But I also feared that with both families there, it would become obvious that our connection with the girls wasn’t real – that I’d always been just a stand-in for their real family. They would reject me, and I’d fade into the background.

Wouldn’t you know, that’s exactly what sort-of happened.

The birthday girl, in her tropical birthday outfit and surrounded by all of our toys from home, after we realized there were no toys at the venue and CT raced home to get our whole toy bin

The girls’ caregiver had been away for a week-and-half for a family emergency, and when she and another family member walked in, both she and the girls lit up. She referred to herself as Mama. The girls clung to her and all three were overjoyed. She thanked me profusely. We hugged, and she was warm and gracious. She had Ana on one hip and Baby on the other, like I do when they first see me for the weekend. They were solidly, decidedly with her now. Suddenly, I felt displaced. I’d gone from Other Mother to Babysitter, from being the most important person in the room for the girls to the Invisible Woman.

Thankfully, this was before the other guests arrived, so we all had a bit of time. I wanted to lock myself away and process my feelings, but I couldn’t. I had to walk away from their reunion and keep setting up – CT was away on his toy mission and Issy was peppering me with questions – so I had many tasks to help push away how emotional I felt. I had done the right thing by inviting them, but I knew this wasn’t my party with Baby anymore. This was a party for Baby courtesy of me. I felt, as CT later articulated, redundant. And a longing kind of sad.

“It’s hard to watch them love someone else,” said CT later, as we debriefed.

It was.

As guests arrived, Mama and her family sat in a corner of the room by the toy bin so the girls could play, no doubt feeling a little funny about not really knowing anyone (we had about 15 adults and kids attend). Parents and kids sat down around them, playing with the toys and striking up conversation, and I realized I was hanging back. Without the girls to mind, I’d been hovering on the fringe. So I got in there, too, while still holding myself back from parenting as I usually would. I took pictures instead, and had snippets of very interesting and open conversation with the family. This provided a lot of “Aha!” moments for me about the girls’ backgrounds and behaviours since returning to us for respite. CT held back fully and caught up with the other guests.

Ana hung around Mama almost entirely, and mainly ignored CT, but for a few moments taking a photo. That was a shock for him – she only wanted Mama. She also became increasingly tired as the afternoon wore on, and thereby increasingly miserable and tantrum-y. But we did have a few interesting moments that made me feel less rotten.

As Ana sat in the presence of our two families, we could see the wheels turning. At one point, held by Mama, Ana said “Mama” to her, then turned to me and said, “Mama” (or “Mum” – I only half heard.) Everyone saw this connection being made, and Mama was really relaxed about it. Later, as we sat around the toy box again, Ana stood up and came towards me, as if she wanted a hug, but instead stood there in front of me, looking caught halfway between two worlds.

“Go to Mama,” said Mama, meaning me. This must have been hard for Mama as well.

“Do you want a hug?” I asked Ana, who didn’t indicate yes or no. So I touched her cheek and asked if she wanted a snack. (After that sweet moment, I gave her a fruit kebab that had marshmallows, and then she only wanted more marshmallows, and then Mama got up and walked away to get something while I was negotiating about fruit, and poor Ana lost it and screamed tearfully after Mama, swerving CT completely, and for several seconds I had no idea what was happening and I thought it was all about the marshmallows. Fun times.)

And Baby? She gave Issy the sweetest smile when Issy placed a flower crown on her head – everyone around us went “Aaaah!” Early on, she looked at me and smiled a little, then turned away and reached for Mama instead. But later on she eventually came to me, arms up, and smiled as I lifted her into the air. I was relieved – we still had our connection. Mama held back then, and my confidence grew – I got both girls a drink and made faces so Baby would smile for one of Mama’s family photos. I held and soothed Baby when it was clear she was overtired, and I decided to give her a bottle to chill her out so we could get through the cake. Mama hung back and followed my lead, and I’m grateful to have had those moments with Baby.

The girls left early with the family; having missed afternoon naps, we knew they were living on the edge of a meltdown. It was very hard to say goodbye. I again wanted to lock myself away and cry. But I made a coffee and said hello again to the other guests instead.

Despite what I was sure of last week about never stopping… it feels very much like the right time to say goodbye. The girls are happy in a new home; they have a loving Mama and it doesn’t feel like they need us anymore. I’m not sure what to do about this, since I know Mama herself needs the respite breaks. CT has suggested we don’t think about it for two weeks, and the answer will come.

Happy birthday, Baby. I’ve loved being one of your first mamas and showing you the love and care of a parent who would do anything for you. May the rest of your life be as beautiful as you deserve it to be.

Dancing in the dark

It’s 6:45am, and I’m driving alongside the slow sunrise with a travel cup of lukewarm coffee in my hand and two sleeping littles in the back. We’ve been on the road since 6:15, surrounded in the dark by the red taillights of crawling traffic, and now we’ve broken into a clear stretch, accelerating to 100km/h as we hit the halfway point in our journey. Daycare is at the other end of the city from where I live, and from there I’ll need to drive another 30 minutes to my work. I’ve been up since 4:30 with a grizzling baby (“fussing” for my North American readers), and everyone was on their feet and eating Cheerios cereal by 5:15am. It’s Day 5 of this weekday routine, and I think we’re getting better at these early starts.

Good morning, crickets and darkness!

 

The girls are with us for another five days, maybe more. They arrived last week – emergency in their whanau caregiver’s family – in the middle of what I can only describe as the worst time possible since their last emergency mid-week stay, when my husband CT had a job interview to prep for. This time, I had a work offsite to juggle for the first two days, preparation for which included creating several first-of-their-kind presentations for our CEO to deliver to the entire business, as well as my own presentation to deliver to our senior leadership group. I don’t think I cried on the day the girls arrived, but I did feel physically ill from the pressure for most of the day.

 

It’s not an exaggeration to say that I treat our two foster girls, Ana and Baby, as if they were my own. Both are under two – Baby isn’t even one yet – so broken sleep and clever ways to disguise vegetables at mealtimes are some of the main staples of our home life together. I Google a lot and try new ways to diffuse temper tantrums. I swallow my ego and keep reaching out to a toddler who sporadically rejects me. I hold the pieces of my heart together when Baby lights up as I walk through the door, reaching for me, as attached to me as my own baby would be, and I know she’ll be gone in a few days. We’re managing it all, doing it all, but it’s admittedly not easy. It’s tough. It’s tiring. I’ve heard murmurs in our circle of loved ones, the persistent suggestion that we stop fostering.

 

Have you ever felt yourself stretch around something that seemed insurmountable? Many times has my mind tried to pull the parking brake. “No, I can’t do this. Not now. Not all of this. Not all at once.” But I did it anyway. By the end of the day, or the week, I’d done it, and lived, and done well – or well enough. I know now, more than ever, that I can handle any given sh*tstorm on any given day. This is a gift I’ve earned by saying yes to the unexpected and inconvenient.

 

My friendships are stronger, having brought the girls to get-togethers and asked for help and shared ideas. My relationship has grown deeper roots. My parenting has improved. My creativity has sparked. I’m living a purpose I felt strongly as a child – to make a difference. To spare a fellow broken-home kid from misery. To lead.

 

I’m not going to stop fostering these girls, not ever. They’re family now. They’re my babies, too. I’m their Other Mother. CT is their Other Daddy. This is heartbreaking and hard and worth more than an extra hour’s sleep. I’m proud to be the person I’ve always strived to be, one who doesn’t turn away when faced with a difficult calling.

 

Plus, I hate being told what to do.

 

Last night, CT and I unwound with a secret box of Krispy Kremes and watching You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, a movie I’d remembered liking from 11 years ago but now have zero idea why (Israeli techno music maybe?). Today, I’m driving the kids home at the end of a long work day, then launching into another carousel of dinner, baths, stories, bedtime, all fraught with challenges, all while juggling my tween daughter Issy and her moods, plus muscle stiffness from sitting at work and hoisting 12kg children into the air, plus, plus, plus…

 

So let’s go.

That’s not what you give.

I was speaking with a colleague at a work event recently – he’s interested in fostering, and he described why.

He and his partner have a child and they’re an active family. Outdoorsy fun like surfing, snowboarding. And they want to share that with a kid who needs them.

This reminded me so much of us.

I used to look with wistful promise at the big storage bin of my daughter’s old toys, the —

Hang on, I had to pause there because Ana suddenly woke up and started screaming in a high E. Which perfectly illustrates the point I was going to wander towards in a few paragraphs’s time.

Yes, it is one of those nights (weeks/years).

I know that any kid would love a fun family who does fun things together. Before knowing much about fostering, and way before foster parent training, this is what cemented our confidence that we should do this.

We have so much, we reasoned. So many toys, so many activities to do together as a family. Friday night movie nights with homemade popcorn. A fire pit for s’mores on Saturdays. An enthusiasm for the magic of holidays, like all-out Halloweens and Easters featuring bunny footprints in flour. Bike rides and mini putt. A dog and a cat.

Sometimes we do these things with the kids. We got an ice cream just the other day. Ana loves the dog, and Baby gleefully stands over that bin of toys, wrenching out old dinosaurs and a dummy phone from 2007. But underneath this is where the real work is constantly, constantly being done. Let’s go back in time.

Before the movie nights and spy-themed birthday parties we enjoy as a family, before jumps on the trampoline and trips to the park, were many simple moments. Moments when I was there with my daughter, there for my daughter, responding to her voice. There were regular mealtimes with nutritious food and bedtimes with stories. There was patience and calm and compassion. I wasn’t a perfect parent – I’ve lost my temper and struggled to find my maternal instincts and wished I could escape the monotony. But I was there doing the best I could, even if I had to lock myself in the bathroom for a minute to cry or text a miserable SOS to a friend before being “there” again. Issy and I formed an unbreakable bond, but more than that, she grew up knowing love and safety and security. Then, off to get fluffies we went.

That’s what these kids need. They need safe adults who will keep a level head. Who won’t flip out and terrify them, or destroy their innocence. These children need a firm, calm voice and a hug when they’re ready. A parent who knows their signals when they’re tired or they’ve had enough. Who won’t reject them when all of their anger and pain spills everywhere. A caregiver who loves them and won’t prove their terrible first experiences of the world right.

This is much harder to provide than a trip to the movies. As a foster mama to two Very Littles, I don’t even know the half of what other foster parents weather on a daily basis. A foster parent must be more than a fun parent, or an active parent. You’re a sturdy ship in a nightmarish sea. A steady light among shifting black clouds. A wizard in a land where monsters are real. Sometimes it feels like too much, and it is. But here we are anyway.

Because if we weren’t here – where would they be?

Ana is asleep again, and I might even eat dinner in a few minutes (the time being 8:19pm, so my phone tells me). I was awake at 4:30am with Baby, before a full day of work. I’m very tired. But I’m glad I can be her ship. She deserves some smooth seas.

This is hard; this isn’t about me; this is foster care.

Yesterday I was minding my own business at work, deep into a pile of deadline projects (due tomorrow). My husband CT was prepping for his third round of an interview for a dream job. My daughter Issy would be returning from her dad’s that day. Our next respite weekend with the babies was another week and a half away.

That morning, I’d received a gorgeous box of candy and doughnuts from a friend, an amazing gift she sent because she thought we deserved some kindness after all we do for the babies 💗

IT WAS ALL AMAZING.

Talk about divine timing. Or irony.

After lunch, we got the call. The babies needed a place to stay – their whanau caregiver was in hospital. At least tonight, maybe tomorrow, maybe longer.

Why now, I thought. Of all the days.

CT freaked. He needed to prep for his interview. He needed to sleep well. I was up to my eyeballs at work. I could not take half days or work from home.

Is there anyone else? I asked. Any other whanau?

No, no one. The girls would likely be split up and put into different foster homes.

Nightmare scenario.

So CT and I hashed it out. And said yes, because I couldn’t live with myself if we’d said no.

To manage this, we hyper-extended ourselves. I collected the girls and they cried for 75% of the 75-minute drive. Ana because she was over being in her seat, and Baby because she had been sleeping when I got her, awoke, realised I was there but she couldn’t get to me, and lost her sh*t for 40 minutes.

CT and I struggled through the girls’ marathon 2-hour bedtimes, tag teaming so he could study his material. We were up today at 5:30am on broken sleep, trying to get me out the door early with the babies to take them to their daycare on the other side of town.

We left late. I got lost. It took me 2 hours to get to work.

Coming home mid-afternoon, traffic was diabolical. Another 90 minutes. I lost my sh*t. I cried for 10 of the 90 minutes.

You know, only light sobbing, so as not to traumatise the kids.

Tonight, we braced ourselves for a long-haul visit, beyond a few days, because you never know. To prepare, I decided to re-sleep-train the kids with controlled timed crying, so as to save our sanity and back muscles. We’d done this when they lived with us full-time, and it saved everyone’s lives. I also can’t get onside with Ana newly needing a bottle of milk to fall asleep at nearly 2 years old plus 2 hours of music and shhh-ing and cuddles, or Baby needing 15 minutes of back patting and 20 minutes of wrestling her back into the crib before that. We couldn’t survive like that if they stayed longer.

Well. It was very painful. Baby was furious. Ana was a snotty, tearful mess. It was hard but they both were out within 30 minutes (of many intervals with soothing back rubs).

I still had to do work. I haven’t finished it yet. It’s due by 9:30 tomorrow. I’m still awake. At least, I felt, it’s great that the babies’ sleep would once again be sorted within a few days of the method.

Got the text. Girls going back tomorrow.

Now I feel terrible. Both girls were crying for me at bedtime; both call me Mama or Mummy as of yesterday. I’m officially their Other Mother. And I put them through rounds of shrieking and ugly sobs for nothing.

Mamaaa! No!

They only wanted to be close. Now they’re leaving again. Little beings who love me and call me Mama.

Life feels unfair. I feel like a monster. I still know they need that sleep training. I’m so tired.

As I brushed my teeth tonight, I glanced at the little tub we got for them within the shower, at all their bath toys, and tried to remember that they’d had a nice time here, that they feel safe here, that they love us. It feels like a huge responsibility, a blessing, and a natural disaster all at once.

Goodnight, world. See you again at 5am. Good thing there’s still lots of candy left for tomorrow when they’re gone.