They came as we were driving away. We had unloaded the babies and all of their things. We had gone over the foster care paperwork with the family. We had gotten hugs and kisses and last “I love you”s. Then we turned to drive down the long driveway and that’s when the tears came.

Yesterday when I was heading out to the store, Little Boy had a major meltdown because I was leaving. This hasn’t happened much, but a couple of times recently.

As we drove away this morning, I wondered if he was going to cry and throw a fit because we left. And then I realized that even if he did, I probably would never find out. These people aren’t babysitting. They are keeping. And no one needs to give me a report anymore. I am no longer holding the torch. I passed it. His meltdowns are no longer in my jurisdiction.

I was so surprised to find that that was the spark that started the tears. The loss of responsibility. Of all the times I wanted to stand in the kitchen and drink my coffee in silence while the babies took turns throwing food and yelling for bottles and making each other cry, it was the fact I am no longer needed that kicked off my cry fest.

Bootsy sat in the backseat – alone – and cried quietly into his shoulder. At the first red light, I joined him back there and we both looked out the window and wiped tears from our eyes while Rod drove us silently home.

I cried at the finality of it. The loss of the chance for these two to be mine. The ache for what child will need us next. The worry that my children – MINE – might very well be alive out there right this second and living with people who don’t love them well.

Lord, have mercy.

Photo by Brian Wolfe(y) 

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