I know. This is the absolute last thing you want to think about. However, living a life without regrets is no life at all.
Just to make this easier I’ll go first, for instance, highest on my regret list is a seven-year-old boy.
My husband and I became foster parents about three years before this boy entered our hearts and our home. He was a tough nut. His hard exterior was built up over seven years. Those seven years that should have been happy, fun and full of giggles. Instead, he was unsure, and this was his third time in foster care. Can you imagine how you might act if three/fourths of your life you were in and out of foster care?
He opened up to us quickly, and I spent the summer teaching him how to read and to write. Our kiddo was going to be repeating the first grade due to this fact, and I was determined to teach this little boy that he was worth my time, my effort and my love. He was defensive because it was hard and he couldn’t read. He called himself dumb and too stupid to learn how to read because someone along his seven years told him that, that was the value of his worth.
Guys, this was a hard summer. However, there was also so much laughter, great memories and so many new experiences for all of us that it was worth every hard day. School started and when he walked into school on the first day he was scared. I held his hand, and I reminded him how smart and funny he is and that he shouldn’t be afraid.
He walked home from school with a great big smile and whispered a secret into my ear, “I read much better than the other kids”! I was so stinking proud of him!! For the first time in his life he felt worthy, he felt smart, and he knew that hard work got him there.
But emotional issues were so hard on him and it took an enormous toll on our family. The holidays were approaching, and his family kept saying that he would be home by Thanksgiving. We knew that wasn’t at all true. So at about seven months in (right before Thanksgiving), an incident occurred, and he was taken from our family.
Our little boy tried to intentionally hurt himself. I had to call the social worker.
He was sitting with me, both of us crying because we were scared and we didn’t know what would happen next. Then he tried to comfort me. Me. It made me sick to think that he has spent a lifetime taking care of his parent, and desperately trying to comfort his parents for the actions that landed him in foster care.
When he was being picked up by a social worker and brought to a hospital for evaluation. He was still attempting to make me feel better no matter how often I tried to flip it around.
I’ll never forget seeing the social worker pull up and into my driveway. I stood him in front of me and told him that no matter what comes next that I will always love him. The exchange was quick. I kissed him on the head and just like that; he was gone.
Gone forever. We didn’t get to say goodbye to him, we didn’t get to hold and comfort him, and we didn’t get to tell him how proud we were of him. The social worker called the day after the incident telling me to pack up all of his belongings as they would be by later that night to pick it all up. It was as if he had died. And, in a way, I think that was true.
The eight house I spent cleaning everything, folding up all of his clothes, packing up his bike and our reading books I cried. It was one of the hardest days of my life. The social worker came, we packed in all the stuff, and she wasn’t allowed to tell us anything. Not one iota about how he was.
He was part of our family for a short time. But in my heart, he will be a part of this family forever.
This experience is my greatest regret and my deepest wound that will never heal right.
I do not regret him. He was a child born into the wrong family. We will always have all of our laughs, memories, and smiles to remember him. It’ll never be the same. I wish we could have done better for him and for a longer time, but that was taken away from us. I would do it all over again to hear his laughter once again.
In your life, what is your greatest regret currently?
Be brave and share yours?
Photo by: FatCamera and found on iStock