We roused ourselves early on Saturday morning. We were all tired and preferred to stay in bed but we had a mission. We were going to pick up little S man. A sleepy 45 minute drive through the final colors of fall lit up by the rising sun brought us to a parking lot. We waited. We anticipated. I tried to peacefully sip my coffee and calm my churning stomach. We listened to Matisyahu. A car drove up and I took off my sunglasses wanting my eyes to be visible. Sleepy, cautious hazel eyes blinked at us from his car seat. We did the car seat shuffle, he hugged his foster sister (whom he obviously had a bond with), and settled quietly into our van.
Snuggled with the blue blanket that he can never be parted from, his serious eyes watched us. We drove back the way we came. Homeward bound. Familiar to us, unknown to him. Jeremiah began to engage. Sparks of interest lit his eyes. Especially when there was a train to see. But for most of the ride he was quiet. Somber. I would even say resigned, as if being put in strange cars and taken strange places were par for the course. Every now and then I would turn and see his eyes on me. Just watching.
We made a detour to CVS when I realized that our house is not equipped with sippy cups.
Arriving “home” he grabbed Aaron’s hand to help him down from the van, and didn’t let go. We all came into the house, him still gripping tight. Jeremiah and Nathaniel eager and chattering. Wanting to show him their things. In their own ways wanting him to feel welcome. He was obviously hesitant and we let him wander. He ended up in the room we are setting up for him. A gigantic Pooh bear grabbed his attention and became his favorite toy for the day. He sat on the floor snuggling the bear, chattering unintelligibly, and playing with cars.
Our next plan was to play outside. We had heard that little S loves to be outside (what 2yr doesn’t?) so we took a snack and wandered out the back door. This was a hit. I held his homemade granola bar while he wandered from one place to the next. The swings. The area where the trucks are. The tight spot between the shed and the fence. He would wander then return to me with arms out stretched, fingers pinching the air, saying “more.” I would feed him a bite and off he would go ready to explore something else. He played on the swings, helped me rake, and followed the boys around amused by their antics.
An hour or so later it was time to think about lunch. I put lunch on the table and we all sat down. Except little S man who decided that he didn’t want to sit still. Exploring the living room and being kept from touching things resulted in loud grunting and yelling. So I bundled him up and took him to his room. He melted into to me. Snuggling his blue blanket he curled into me and relaxed while I sang lullabies. He is a heavy fellow so transferring him to his crib once a sleep was not accomplished easily. He cried when I put him down so the lullabies continued while I rubbed his back and he drifted to sleep.
We all enjoyed a 2 1/2 hour rest! Well, not entirely true. Aaron finished raking and mowing the yard. When I went to get him out of his bed he cuddled in to me again and we sat and snuggled for a few minutes. Aaron came in and he smiled at Aaron from his spot in the crook of my neck. There was more playing in the house and in the yard as we finished up out there. A favorite game was to go to a window and see if we could see Aaron outside. Little S would laugh when Aaron came inside. Somehow as we were getting ready to go he found a black crayon and in true 2yr old style proceeded to color on Jeremiah’s science text book. The situation was easily remedied with some paper that he was told he could draw on and a true orgy of scribbling commenced.
Time again to load up in the van. This time the ride was more animated. Little S loves music and on this trip he sang and moved to the music. We stopped at the dairy where we buy milk. Aaron carried little S in to see the cows. Which resulted in him repeating the “moo” sound in order to get a response out of Aaron. I noticed that his “moo” sound was almost identical to the way he said “more” earlier in the day.
Unfortunately we had promised the boys dinner at McDonald’s because it has an indoor play place. Big mistake. The place was filthy, the food was horrible. We learned something about little S though – he loves to dip everything in ketchup. It was funny because Jeremiah and Nathaniel don’t eat ketchup so it never even occurred to me to get some out for little S. Then he started making noises and trying to grab something from Aaron and we realized it was ketchup. Noted. He loves fries and kept asking for “moo fi’s peas.”
We finally made it to his foster home. He seemed happy and good natured until the phone he was playing with was taken away. Then a complete meltdown ensued and we realized it was time to leave.
We drove the winding mountain roads home again in the dark. My stomach churning again because this is one more step toward the reality of having him placed with us. And I am still battling fear and doubt. As far as first day visits go this was a great one but the reality is that our life is about to change. And I am worried that I can’t do it.