I had another super-productive weekend this week! I managed to disassemble, move, and reassemble the crib upstairs all by myself. I organized toys and arranged the nursery the way I wanted it. The twins came over and "helped" me finish an art project for the nursery, and all I have left to do up there is paint a couple of shelves and hang a few art pieces and mirrors!
I love that my niece and nephew are so excited about me getting another foster baby. They still have a hard time understanding exactly what foster care is and why the kids can't live with me forever. It's hard to explain in words that two 5-year-olds can understand. I've explained that we get to love and take care of these kiddos because their mommies and daddies can't do it right now, but when they watch me being a mommy to them for so long, they have a really hard time understanding why they're not staying. That's a scary thing for little kids... Thinking that they won't get to stay with their mommy, and I know that's what was going through their little heads when the Booger Bear went to live with his daddy. It was easier with the Munchkin because she was only with me for a week, so they felt more like I was "babysitting" her.
It was really confusing for them when I had both the Booger and Angel. We had numerous conversations over the year about who the Booger's mommy was because they knew that he called Angel "Mama," but they also knew that I was the one who did everything that a "Mama" does to take care of him. They seemed to be satisfied with the answer that he was lucky enough to have two mommies... Angel was his mommy because he was in her tummy and because she loved him, and that I was also his mommy because I loved him and took care of him and kept him safe like mommies do.
When we were decorating the nursery for this next baby, Buddy thought it would be neat to put all of my kids' names on one of the walls. He said, "That way, we can see their names and always remember them." As he was spelling out their names, the twins asked me if Angel and the Booger Bear were still our "family." That led to a long talk about what makes a "family" and the different kinds of families that a person can have.
We talked about being "related." We talked about being a "family." And I think I explained it in a way that they seemed to understand. I told them that your "family" is all of the people who love you the absolute most out of everyone in the world, and who you love back just as much. That your "family" is the people who you want to see and spend time with every day, even if you can't actually do that. And that your "family" is the people who want to take care of you, love you, and keep you happy and safe, and who you want to take care of, and love, and make happy. I told them that sometimes, you might not be able to see someone as often as you would like to or sometimes even at all, but that if you still love them just as much as you did when you could see them all of the time, they are still your family and that won't change. I told them that what really makes a family is love.
They both smiled and said, "Good! Then Booger and Angel are still our family!" :-)
My niece and nephew have these big, beautiful hearts with more than enough love to share with all of the kids who come into my life. As sad as it makes me to know that they are losing daily contact with their "cousins" each time one of my children goes home, it makes me happy that they are gaining a new perspective on what "family" is. That these little kids are opening up their lives and their hearts so freely to other kids who desperately need to feel the love of "family..." Those two never cease to amaze me with their insight and love. I have to say, I am one extremely proud aunt. :-)