We’re foster parents again. A couple of weeks ago Thing 1 and Thing 2 came back to us. Their mother is in trouble again. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so conflicted about anything in my life.
On the one hand, of course I’m happy to have them back with us. They’re great kids, both of them. But on the other hand…
I’m not even sure how to say what I want to say. It’s easy to have opinions about things that don’t affect you. You see an item on the news and you’re immediately able to form an opinion. Gunman shoots up a mall, kid commits suicide after being bullied, mom leaves her baby in a trash can, you see these things and you think you’ve got the answer, simple and obvious. If only you’d been there things would have turned out different. If it had been you in that situation you’d have never made that decision. Only it wasn’t you. You didn’t live that life. Maybe you would have done things differently. Maybe not.
So yeah, it’s easy to say “some parents aren’t responsible enough to properly take care of their children and after a certain point they’ve lost the right to be parents. The kids are in danger, worse they’re growing up in an environment that could corrupt them for life.”
But you’re not the kid. You’re not the one who says goodbye to his mother knowing he’s forever lost the chance to be raised by the one he loves most in the world. You’re not the one starting over from zero. You’ve got your Christmas. You’ve got your family.
Looking at it from the outside I know the state made the right decision. But from the inside…
We were watching Doctor Who last night, “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. Great episode. And after the Doctor and his associates defeat the evil bad guy and save the day, one of the characters who’s new to the whole TARDIS thing tells the doctor, “There’s something I want to see.” Now I’ve seen this episode before. I know that Brian Pond is going to sit at the door of the TARDIS with his legs dangling off into empty space, tea cup in his hand, and stare down at the blue expanse of the earth below him. But when Thing 2 hears “There’s something I want to see,” he pipes up and says, “I bet it’s his mom.”
Think about that. Put yourself in the TARDIS. You can go anywhere in the entirety of time and space. And the one most important thing to you in the universe is being able to see your mother; the mother that anyone with half a brain could tell you is unfit, irresponsible, a bad influence. But you don’t care about any of that.
Because you’re eight years old, and it’s Christmas, and your mom is never going to tuck you into bed again.
So yeah, I’m glad to have the boys back for a while. In my head I know it’s probably for the best in the long run. But in my heart I can’t quite square it. Because sometimes the best path isn’t a good path. Sometimes life is so screwed up pretty much every available option sucks.
There’s no conclusion here, no simple but poignant thought, no cute little wrap-up. This is life. Sometimes it sucks. When it doesn’t, be thankful.