Today I have been doing a little last minute present making for my niece, but whilst I was sewing my mind took a wander over the past year and how things have changed.
The progress little X has made since she arrived as an emergency placement last christmas eve has been wonderful to watch and we all love her dearly. She is now a very valued member of our family. We still don't know how long she will be here, and that is very hard, so I don't go there.
My daughter said the other day we have to make this christmas very special for her as she might not be here next year. Again, I don't want to think about that. Instead I concentrate on the bright, funny, confident, happy child she has become and the way she sings around the house. Her favourite at the moment is old McDonald :)
Makes me glad I decided to get us all into this fostering stuff. Probably the best decision I ever made. Not without it's complications and disappointments but these are not directly related to X, more to the system within which we now find ourselves and the bureaucracy which grinds so exceedingly slow, and makes such incomprehensible decisions.
I have met some wonderful, strong, generous women this year and I have been surprised and delighted to find myself among them as an equal. I have made a friend I think I will have for the rest of my life, although we will most likely never meet face to face. I have started this blog and begun the painful process of a visual journal - still to learn the 'visual' bit :) I have watched my birth children mature and display huge openness to new experiences and demands, and cope with them with care and compassion. My boys are nearly men and my DD is almost a woman and continues to be a challenge to parent in new and rewarding ways. I work hard to be a good mum to her, but she repays every ounce of concern and anxiety. My DS' are still a joy and a blessing and I think myself a very lucky woman to be here to watch them grow. DH and I have had some difficult moments around X and her future but we have had them together and he continues to amaze me with what he is capable of, the quiet gentle and loving man that he is, is a continual joy and to know the support he gives me when I remember to include him and ask for his help is humbling. I need to practice this asking and not to try to be so self sufficient, otherwise I overlook his undoubted abilities. 'Parenting' in an equal partnership has been a new experience for me and it took some adjusting to back in the spring when we were learning how to do this fostering thing. I have wondered many times what would my life have been like if he had been around when my big kids were little? I am grateful everyday that I met him and that I feel even more in love eight years after I met him than I did when I first fell head over heels for him. I must remember to tell him more often how much I value his being here with me.
SO 2005 has been an amazing year and has brought me riches I never imagined or predicted. I am sad to see it go, but roll on 2006 :) And all of that doesn't even begin to cover the things I have learnt about sewing :)