Of course I was concerned for his physical safety. I didn't trust to leave him with anyone but Jamey for the first little while. And I even reminded Jamey (repeatedly-you can ask him) that we needed to be even more deliberate about proper supervision to ensure his complete safety. I know stumbles and scrapes happen, but I was
At least not for awhile.
But life goes on and from time to time there have been occasions when I've needed someone else to watch him. Two or three times we've need a babysitter so Jamey and I could complete our yearly foster care training hours. We tried to tell each other that these were dates. While there were no children to tend to, we were only able to talk in the car to and from the agency. It was better than nothing but wasn't what we needed.
And then there's the whole issue of who can watch him. When a child is in foster care, you can't just call your regular teenage babysitter. Ours are extremely responsible but we understand completely why there are rules in place. Not only does the sitter need to be an adult but they need to fill out paperwork, have it notarized and undergo a background check which can take six weeks for approval. I was quick to get that ball rolling when he first arrived but six weeks is still quite awhile.
Thankfully, one of our friends is already a foster mom so they approved her quickly. I also asked my sister and a close friend/neighbor to round out my approved babysitter posse. The rules for using your approved sitters are different, too. We're only to use them for a couple hours at a time- for doctor's appointments, dinner out, etc. If we need longer care, we call the agency and they ask another foster family to provide respite.
So, he's been with us now for almost six months. A few weeks ago Jamey called one of our dear, approved sitters and we went out on a date. We dressed up, had meaningful (uninterrupted) conversation, repeatedly had to convince ourselves that it was okay that we chose such an expensive place since we never go out, and lingered over the most delicious meal.
I didn't realize how much I needed that. More than just about anything, keeping connected with your spouse during these years of child-rearing is so very important. It seems silly but when so much of my focus is on children, I need to be reminded that I am in a relationship with a man and that relationship really is at the core of my earthly life and all my other relationships. I needed to be reminded that Jamey chose me. And still chooses me every day. I needed to be reminded that when these children are grown and gone, we'll still have each other. We need to invest in us.
So while it may be a little while until we venture out alone again, our recent date will carry me a ways. This life, as challenging and tiring as it may be is worth the craziness, the diapers and occasional tears over school work because the people in my house deserve the best I can give them. Most of the time that means being here for their many needs but sometimes it means grounding myself by getting away with my partner in this amazing life.