I know I've been pretty silent on here for a while. There's been a lot going on (I've had some health issues come up, been being bounced from doctor to doctor), yet at the same time it's felt kind of like there's been nothing going on. That's because since the dramatic and upsetting exit of my foster son a few months ago, my kids have not wanted any new additions to the family. As a matter of fact, they haven't even wanted anyone really coming around at all. They were hurt, and they didn't want to share their mom with any more people.
Thus, my once bustling and busy house became silent and dull, and I hated it. Two of my girls - my "strays" - who have been members of the family for years moved away, too. My Tiffany got married, had a baby and moved to North Carolina. My Kayla got engaged and left for California. So then the now-silent house became even more quiet, and it started to feel like a morgue around here to me. I could still do some volunteer work, take out clothes and food or reach out to kids in ways that didn't involve bringing them home (all as my health / pain level would permit), but coming back to the house was always a let-down. I didn't enjoy being here at home anymore. Especially since my kids are older now and very busy, which means that even though they didn't want to share me, they also weren't here at the house a lot. I found myself making dinners for no one, and eating alone most of the time. Eventually I gave up making dinners and went with frozen stuff, eaten by myself in a quiet house with a book. A far cry from what I've been accustomed to for decades. I was really bummed.
Then yesterday morning I went for a walk and I met Amber. Amber is 19 years old and homeless. Her father is in prison and her mother committed suicide when Amber was just twelve years old, and she doesn't have any real family. She told me that she did have her own apartment for a little while when she was of age to get one, but she lost her job and was soon on the streets again. She carries only a plastic grocery bag with her.
Amber was hungry, so we walked back to my house together and I cooked her breakfast (my kids were still asleep). Then she helped me pull some weeds and rake the yard while we chatted. The things I found most impressive about this young lady were her sweet demeanor and her amazingly positive attitude. While she had her own problems, I often found her looking for ways to encourage me. Really just a very kind and thoughtful person.
While we were in the yard, my son woke up to get ready for school. He saw Amber outside and said to me, "Hey, I've seen that girl around. She's always in the dumpsters." I told him how she'd come over for breakfast and he went outside to introduce himself. They talked for a while as I did the dishes and watched out the window. He did not seem annoyed that I'd brought someone home. My daughter got up next and commented, "She seems nice." So far, so good. It didn't seem like the kids were bothered.
I offered Amber a shower, which she was really happy about, and gave her some clean clothes (I keep teen-appropriate clothing around and fortunately had her size). After that she was on her way. She did leave me a phone number, but her phone is turned off right now. I haven't seen her again, but that was only a day ago.
I do hope Amber will be back. For now, though, I'm just encouraged that my own kids seem to be coming back around. Perhaps some healing has started.