"ignore the story. see the soul. remember to love. you will never regret it" --- Seane Corn

"ignore the story. see the soul. remember to love. you will never regret it" --- Seane Corn
it's a jungle out there

Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's Spring Break and I'm the old woman in that fucking shoe

Look what we found. In the park. In the dark. We will take him home. We will call him Clark. He will live at our house. He will grow and grow. Will our mother like this? We don't know...

I'm feeling a little Foster Mom-ish. It's something I've considered doing over the years. Before we had kids, I wanted to foster the HIV babies I used to take care of. Those babies were s.i.c.k. Bruce was like no way Chica, cause I'll get too attached and then they'll die and I won't be able to handle it. Good point. So the foster kid idea moved to the back burner for a while. We had kids of our own. Everyday I see foster kids at work. Some are with families, some are in group homes. And occasionally I find myself thinking... hmmmm....

For a chunk of time when we were teenagers, our house was the house. The house where everyone hung out cause our parents were cool. All summer long there would be a slew of kids in the front yard smoking cigarettes. There may have been beer, I don't quite remember. 18 was legal. nice rationalization whatever. we were kids. And it was fun to have the cool parents and have the house where everyone liked to hang out. Some kids would be there for days cause their family life was... rocky...

I've always wanted to be the cool mom. seems like maybe I kind of am. I think in a few years this may be the house where everyone hangs out sans beer and cigarettes thankyouverymuch

It's Spring Break and we have a revolving door this week. Jack and his posse are playing musical houses. They're awesome, respectful, responsible, good 12 year old boys. So that part's easy.

We've inherited a little girl. Found her in the park, we call her Clark.

Not really.
But kind of.

Ty and Mia met her on Saturday. At the school park. She walked through our revolving door Sunday, and she's kind of been here ever since. She's smart and sweet and explosive and she wets the bed. She walked in the door and a something's not quite right vibe came off her.

Maybe it was the fact her mom dropped her off at 1 pm. Clark said my mom will come in and meet you when she picks me up at 6.

ummm.... ok

my oldest friend in the world old as in friends since we were 12 not as in decrepit was visiting from Chicago with her 17 year old daughter. We looked back and forth at each other and said it's a little weird, but she seems sweet

Bruce said good thing I'm not a pedophile

Well, she didn't go home at 6. At 6 her mom dropped off pajamas. That was the first night she stayed over. She was immediately comfortable. Not shy. Not self conscious. Bruce made a yummy dinner. Clark looked at him sideways and said you made this? it's very good. I like the texture.


she's 9

OK. Then she cleaned out the neglected turtle's cage.
What? you bloggers say... we didn't know you had a turtle. exactly. That's how neglected Yertle is

so at 10:30 that night she cleaned Yertle's cage

Clark is confident and looks you right in the eye when she speaks. She's great.
And she belts out Living On a Prayer like there's no tomorrow.
Clark's mom picked her up at 10 Monday morning. This is when we finally met. I know this mom. This mom is half the moms I see at work every Monday Tuesday and Friday. This mom is young and obese and doesn't brush her teeth. This mom is overwhelmed and stuck.

I ran errands and Clark was back with us at 3. She stayed til 8:30.

Clark called yesterday evening and asked if she could come over for dinner.
sure honey
11 minutes later she walked in. She said I'll just call my mom when you want her to pick me up. Then she handed me a cheeseburger from Burger King and said this is for you. it has extra pickles.

Mia wanted a sleepover at Clark's house. no way jose
Clark was like...ummmm... we don't really have sleepovers at my house. I usually sleep on the floor (my guess is because she wets the bed) my brother sleeps in the top bunk and my mom sleeps in the other bed. And my grandpa walks around all the time without his shirt on. He doesn't like wearing shirts.

All righty then. That's what I thought. Something's not right

At about 7 pm Clark's mom called to see if Clark could spend the night here. She didn't ask to speak with me. She said she had had a rough day and needed to rest. Clark said well her friend is like, harassing her, and she's really stressed out about it.

Is it her boyfriend?

No just a friend. But he's mad cause she's talking to this other guy.

I look her in the eye. Is it safer for you to be here?

She nods her head yes.

No problem honey.

My oldest friend, who's back in Chicago, said super sweet things via text about me looking out for Clark. About me changing people's lives.

Jordana said Clark is great, I love her... hide your valuables. I just looked at her the thought had crossed my mind. Then she grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me til I thought my head would pop off and said you can't save everyone

Bruce came home and said Chica, you need to have a conversation with Clark's mom. You need to set some boundaries, cause this could get really weird. I don't really want to have anything to do with someone who will just dump their 9 yr old daughter with people they don't know.

He's got a point.

But I know me. I'm not so good with boundaries in situations like this. If I have too much conversation with Clark's mom, she'll end up telling me all her shit and then I'll NEVER be able to say no. That's just the way I am. It's what makes me good at work. But at work I can walk out the door and leave them behind. They're not in my living room. This is in my living room. And if I know too much, shit's creek will be flowing right through my house. I'll be like Horton hearing a Who or sitting on that damn egg for ever and ever.


This morning I found myself making pancakes for 6 kids. I thought hey, I could do this. This is kinda neat. Maybe I'll take in a bunch of foster kids. But that would entail lots of laundry lots of cooking lots of refereeing. That's a full time SAHM kinda gig. But quitting work to take in foster kids is not an option. And I could never ask the most awesome babysitter to watch foster kids on top of the 17 kids that are in and out of this house already.

Then I got real and honest with myself and said shit. there's a reason i work 12 hr days. So I come home to a quiet sleeping house. and a clean kitchen. We all know evenings are the hardest. So I pay my most awesome babysitter to do three evenings a week.

SAHM I am I am not.

The hardest thing for me is working an 8 or 9 or 10 hr day, then coming home to dinner, homework, and baths. Some moms love it. I'm not that mom. But I do love the idea of a houseful of kids. The idea. Not always the reality.

Thankfully, I know Bruce will shut this shit right down. He'll humor me, and talk to me about it, and if I really pushed, he'd agree, cause he's never said no to me. But he also knows that once I sit with the idea for a while, I'll come to my senses.


OK. Time to go dig myself a deeper hole.

I'm kinda hoping Clark will just fizzle out when Spring Break is over.



  1. The first time Maya's friend A stayed over we had never met her parents. FUCKING WEIRD. She's a good kid though. You're probably right about things fizzling out after spring break.

  2. Oh, and we're on a crazy Seuss kick over here, so I love the references :)

  3. "good thing I'm not a pedophile."

    I now love him.

    And, honey, I know. It's hard to be a saver. I hope, hope, hope that this resolves itself, but I know you will advocate for your needs and your family's needs when the time comes.

  4. This is so intense. And makes me love you. Really. And I don't even know you. Thank you for articulating all this about saving people and foster kids, etc. etc.

    And I, sadly, know that I'll never be the cool mom. I'll always probably be the mean mom. Sigh.

  5. I am just glad that Clark has a safe place to go while things settle down at the park.

    And, I love the texture comment. What nine year old notices texture?!

  6. Heavy stuff. I think it's lovely when people (like me) need someone to protect them from themselves, they go and marry exactly that person. Works out great.
    You are, like, my hero. So big kiss.

  7. Poor kid- I know how you feel, I want to save everyone. And I've always wanted to be that mom with 50 kids in and out on weekends.

    I know you'll do what you have to for your family, but you've probably made Clark's spring break about 100 times better than it would've been otherwise. So at least there's that, then she'll probably fizzle out.

  8. If I had a bigger house, I'd be the mom who takes in everyone. Especially since my child tends to accumulate friends who need places to hang... ack.

    Awesome post.

  9. I think this will not fizzle out after spring break. I think Clark needs a different home desperately and she has developed skills (cleaning out turtle bowls, complimenting meals, bring hamburger gifts) to try and find one. Believe me, you are not her first cool (almost) foster mama. She has probably worn out more than a few.
    I say this not as a bitter cynic, but as someone who has had other-children live with me before. I don't regret it but I have to say that it has never really benefited anyone in my family or, the child.
    Does this child need help? Yes.
    Are you the one to help her?
    I do not know.
    Time will tell.
    I love you for taking her in. I ask you to be very careful and remember your own children. Always.

  10. Michelle, this is a tricksy one. While I agree with Ms. Moon about caution, I also remember myself as a motherless child, looking for love in the arms of every possible foster mother. None of them fixed things for me, but each of them gave me something I couldn't have lived without. It's possible that you've already given her what you were supposed to give. And I think all of us LOVE YOU (all of you, at your lovely house, 'the' house) for even opening your door to her at all. Love, love.

  11. Ok, so you had me thinking;

    "Send Clark here! I'll take her! My kids shit and piss all over the place!"

    But like you, I work evenings for a reason. I like the idea, but in reality, kids, noise, messes, drive me batshit.

    I do hope she's ok though. I think I'm gonna be worrying about her.

  12. Um, hello? ABANDONMENT? I would be all over calling CPS if someone I didn't know just dropped their kid off at my house and had no idea who I was or what I was about. That is freaky shit, all the way around.

  13. I always wanted to be "that house" when I become I mother. Sometimes though, I think the reality might be to much. I loved reading this.

  14. Michelle, your honesty here is phenomenal.
    And I wish you well as you process this. And you are blessed to have a partner like that. Same here.

    and same on the haunting parts of this. Your family comes first. What you have already given her is priceless. I often wonder what would have become of me without some of those surrogate moms, one in particular. But she did set boundaries. I loved them in a ticked off ripped off way. Because she cared . She lived tough love. Not cruel, or neglectful. Real.

    this is going to stay with me all day, now. our doors revolve constantly , but I'm kind of strict, so would be quicker to call an agency (Big Sisters?) in this case.

    anyway, blessings to you


so... wadaya think?

Your fairy is called Columbine Icedancer
She is a bone chilling bringer of justice for the vulnerable.
She lives in mushroom fields and quiet meadows.
She is only seen when the bees swarm and the crickets chirrup.
She wears lilac and purple like columbine flowers. She has icy blue butterfly wings.