Didn't sleep much again. Stressed about the pending lunch. Missing my own bed. This is the longest I have ever been away from my kids.
Wake up dreaming about our morning routine. Coffee on the couch with Shel, a snuggly Caden sitting on my lap, Tanner sitting across from us rambling on endlessly about his latest book, a grouchy Eric mumbling in the kitchen (its a long half hour until those morning pills kick in) and all of us calling down the hall trying to rouse our sleeping teenager.
I am craving safety and security I think. And today I alternate between some extremes in emotion. Anger. Fear. Relief. Sadness. Regret. Peace.
Greg and I go to breakfast together. Its nice. We get dressed, I pack for the day and together we head out on our adventure to find WalMart.
I dont think I have mentioned here yet but I am in love with Vicki. Vicki is the GPS I borrowed from home. Vicki is my best and closest friend while I am down here. I will forever hear her calm voice telling me "Turn left in 200 meters, Arrive at destination" Without Vicki, the GPS, I would be lost. LITERALLY! And scoring bonus points, Vicki knows where every Walmart is. Greg and I arrive.
A man is fund raising in the parking lot for a woman's shelter and I donate, of course. Shel might be a sucker over the phone for such things, but I am a sucker in person. The man reaches over, takes my hand and says "May your day be truly blessed". Thank You my friend, you have no idea how much I needed that.
I print pictures off for the "Memories" Shadow box I am making for L as a good bye gift on Friday morning. Greg plays DS. I find a couple hilarious t-shirts that make me think of a dear friend. I wander. Wasting time. 11, 11:10, 11:12 ... I have to pick up Lisa at noon.
We arrive at the house. Greg isnt saying anything but I can tell he is nervous. He isnt moving from the car until I get out and I am sorting through my purse, organizing some of the pictures. He sits beside me. The girls are jumping on the front lawn waiting for us. I give hugs and go into the house. Greg stays outside.
L comes out of the back room. She and the girls are wearing their Canada t-shirts. I appreciate and understand the gesture. She seems very nervous, isnt making eye contact. She goes outside to stand on the porch seeing the kids out there. Greg immediately comes in and sits beside me. He is more upset than he let on to me. I can tell now.
Grandma insists on Greg going to sit beside her and taking some pictures. Her pain makes her overbearing, and Greg uncomfortable. He is polite, but squirmy. Definitely time to go.
We leave. Greg hasn't said a word since we arrived. We drive to Ruby Tuesday's. I do enjoy these different restaurants. Small talk, small talk, small talk. I wonder if I will ever be able to have a deep conversation again I am so engrained in "keep the conversation moving, lets talk" these past two weeks.
We are sitting in a booth. Greg and L across from me. Greg sits on the very outside edge, L hugs the wall. They wont make eye contact. I approach things gently.
"L, Greg has some things he would like to know and he has asked me to ask them of you. First, what was your childhood like? Do you have any memories you could share with Greg?"
"It was fine"
Greg looks at me. I am eating as fast as I can. So is Greg. L is picking at her food. She knows what question is coming next. She's terrified. So, in a weird way, am I. If she denies anything Greg will write her off, and she has no idea.
"Greg would like to know what you remember about when he was a baby" We all know where this question is leading. Greg wants to know WHY and HOW did things fall apart and he ended up in foster care.
"I am just sorry I put them in that position" she says looking at me, her hand covering the side of her face so any eye contact with Greg isnt possible. "Can you say that to HIM?" I ask her. She shakes her head no.
She goes on to share a few private details about what happened during that time. Mostly she blames the boys' father, Sr. Its ok, Greg needed to hear a sorry. He heard one, sort of.
We wrap up lunch. I spend some time when Greg is in the washroom explaining a bit of what he is feeling, but it ends good. L is relieved its over, Greg is relieved its over and Holy Cow am I relieved its over too.
We drive back to the house. At this point L says that OF COURSE brother can hang out with us tonight, but he has plans for the afternoon. We are heading to Rocheport, Mo to visit a winery and hang out with my net buddy Addie and her husband for a picnic. The girls are clinging to Greg and I again. Yes, of course they can come. I still cant get over this arrangement. But I do admit, its fun getting some girl time in and they are absolutely lovely.
We leave. L gives Greg a half hug. He grunts.
As we drive away Greg volunteers that yesterday, through brother, Lisa asked if Greg was wanting to stay here with this family. Greg said, "I said NO Mom"
I reply appropriately, sympathetically, and ask probing questions. Inside I am furious. F-Freaking-Furious. No wonder! No wonder he wouldn't go there last night. No wonder he wants nothing to do with her today. The conversation last night where he vented and said "They act like I dont have a family and you aren't my mom" makes sense. I thought he was picking up an undercurrent. He was basing it on his actions.
I understand, also, the fear this brings up in him. No matter what, at the heart of this story is a little boy, now 13, but who was once a baby hurt and abused. A baby taken, for his own safety, from the family he knew and placed into another at age 18 months. He learned to love, trust and smile again there. Then, 3 years later, he again was taken away and placed in a new family. We have worked so hard to teach our boys that we are NEVER being taken away. We are NEVER going to leave them. That our family is a safe zone for them and we will be here forever. L's selfish question would trigger all those fears in Greg. She wouldn't know it, but I sure would.
I am glad its a long drive to see Addie. I need to process.