Have you ever experienced happiness and sadness simultaneously? All mixed together, each emotion fighting for control. I’m not sure I can adequately explain this dilemma. Writing the words down on paper provides little clarity, as I continue to inch back and forth between these two emotions.
We finally had contact with our friend Marie! Her new home is not close to us, and her foster mom graciously offered to meet us for lunch. Rachel and I were so happy to see her! After seeing her regularly over the past year, this would be our first visit in two months. There had only been one phone conversation. I understood. Adjusting to a new home, especially after all the trauma she has suffered, is difficult, and I wanted her to have the time she needed.
As soon as Marie saw us she hugged us and asked, “Did you miss me?” Oh, sweet girl! Seeing her smiling and joking with her foster mom brought great relief. They have obviously bonded, and she is being well cared for. When it was time to order drinks her mom asked if she wanted lemonade. I smiled…lemonade is her favorite.
We enjoyed chatting and laughing over lunch. Looking through the photo album Rachel and I made for her brought smiles and happy memories from this past year. So why did feelings of sadness start creeping in when it was time to say goodbye? I fought back my tears, not wanting Marie to think something was wrong. And trust me, she would notice.
Where did our visit leave me? Somewhere between happy and sad, inching my way back to happy. This sweet child has been through so much, but now she is living in a home with a family. For that I am thankful. My role in her life will continue to change, and that is ok. Yesterday I was teacher and advocate. Today I am a friend. And that is something we all need…always.
Marie called this evening. We talked about the week, her new school, friends, and family. The conversation was a happy one. But oh her questions…”Do you miss me? Will you see me tomorrow?” As our phone call ended, once again I found myself in that space between happy and sad. Somehow I kept my tears at bay, realizing it would be selfish of me to allow the sadness to win. At this moment, the reasons for happiness where Marie is concerned far outweigh the sad.