I'm a foster parent! I never thought I'd say those words. I don't give things up easily and it seems to me that fostering is all about eventually giving something up that you've grown attached to. I suppose i was a foster parent before, now I think of it. We looked after my step-daughter Nessa's dog, Sally, while Nessa was away at school. It was that or she had to give Sally away and we couldn't see that happening. But I never let myself get too attached to Sally although she was tremendous company and comfort when our old dog, Trixie, died around the same time.
Dad and Sandy are now in Florida for 5 months but before they left Dad asked if I would look after three plants for them until they got back. I said I would so long as they wouldn't be too upset if I managed to kill the plants in that time. One of the plants happens to be a Christmas cactus in flower (red) so I placed it next to my ancient flowering Christmas cactus (pinkish white) for support. So far so good. It's been less than a week but all the plants are still healthy.
Today my counselling appointment was cancelled. I'd been feeling a little off this past week--hard on myself, critical of the state of the house and the state of myself. Bra shopping last night didn't help. One of my cousins, about 13 years younger than me, died over the weekend. I only knew her as a toddler when I left England and we'd never been in touch but I still felt upset, especially for my aunt. When I said bye to Dad, I cried a little.. Dane had planned to call on Sunday but those plans fell through So I was looking forward to seeing my counselor, Lisa, and felt disappointed when the session had to be cancelled. I had gone to tai chi this morning which always helps everything but I was still feeling a mite sorry for myself when I got home. I dabbed nag champa oil on myself to help lift my spirits. I made myself a special tea and for lunch I went to open a can of chicken noodle soup then decided to make myself some home made soup. Home made soup gets me back on track. Everything about it smacks of health and self care and I had lots of time. So I made a big pot full, some for Rob when he came home if he wanted, and a few bowls for me. The discovery of bok choy in the fridge delighted me no end. I watched The Great Canadian Baking Show and an old episode of Vera while eating my soup then I fell asleep on the couch for about half an hour. All just what I needed.
I always feel very adult when I make soup, as it is such an act of self care (and nurturing others if I'm sharing!). Years ago i recall sitting in my doctor's office on the white crinkly paper across the bed and reading a big poster, you know the kind, one of those with commands and suggestions on it. One in particular tickled something in me. "Pick your own wild flowers" it read. That stuck with me. Even on days when plans with others fall through or others disappoint us, hell even when we disappoint ourselves, we can still pick our own wild flowers. Or make ourselves a pot of healthy, home made soup.
How do you foster your self-care? What can you do right now to buck your spirits? (haha. Halloween--no pun intended! Below is an ATC that I made on the theme of Halloween)
"So you have no blood relatives living in Thunder Bay right now?" my friend Jo-Anne asked over lunch last week. In context, not meant maliciously. More statement than question. But true. Yet not true if worded slightly differently. My son Dane is my only true blood relative on this continent (at least that I'm aware of) and he now lives in Arizona. Jo-Anne herself is adopted and her sons and growing 'blood' family are obviously very important to her. Yet her and I have also called ourselves sisters. And this to me is family.
Ask me, "So you have no family living in Thunder Bay right now?" and I will reply, "Absolutely not true!" I am surrounded by family and am embraced by some of the most loving and accepting people you could ever hope to meet. I explained to Jo-Anne that if I had an earth lesson this time around, it was that family can be any being that lives in your heart for however long. Although I learned that a long long time ago when, as an only child, my pets became my siblings. And to this day it is my belief that we are all of us family, however distant, linked through this experience of being alive at the same time.
Perhaps because this past weekend was Thanksgiving and six years to the day that Mam died, perhaps because that seemed especially pronounced this year when the days and dates matched up to exactly the same as the year she died, perhaps because of those two things, Jo-Anne's question lingered. I shared the exchange with Rob as we drove up to Shebandowan to have Thanksgiving dinner with Dad and Sandy and Sandy's family on Monday. On Saturday, we had spent a lovely time at his ex's Judy's with the 'kids' and grandkids. I am extremely fortunate, ever-thankful, to be so readily included in both sets of families. And I have never felt anything but welcome in both.
On Sunday I chatted on the phone with my dear friend, Linda, from BC for 2 hours 58 minutes. It felt more like a visit and we ended with "Love you"s. We're both only children and considered ourselves as chosen family many many years ago.
I consider my sisters-in-law from my marriage to Dane's dad to be sisters, too. We keep in close touch. In trying to explain our link to others, Lea jokingly says "My brother got divorced and we kept Sue."
Back to Monday when Rob and I arrived at Dad and Sandy's to big smiles and hugs. I had made a prism for Sandy's daughter-in-law Nathalie and her family as they had recently lost their sweet chocolate lab, Fudge. As I tell everyone whom I make the prisms for, I gave Nathalie the prism in a pretty sealed envelope with a copy of Rainbow Bridge inside and advised her, "Open it when you feel strong."
Back at home that evening after a heartwarming get together and delicious dinner, Nathalie sent me the following message through f/b messenger, all the sweeter cos of her last words:
Yesterday I got an email from my step-daughter Carole that she had sent as a group email to myself, Rob and Judy simply titled 'parents'. My heart swelled again.
Much as I miss Dane, ask me if I have any blood relatives in Thunder Bay and my answer today would be "No but I'm surrounded by family."
May you feel love surround you today. And if you regularly read my blog, know I consider you chosen family.
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.