What to do the week after you decide a long-term foster child has problems too big for you? Listen to online Buddhist talks and use her empty bedroom to lay out a wedding quilt:
I am sorry if that sound crass. I know you all were rooting for us. But when a person heaps negativity on you, day after day, until it's hard to get out of the bed in the morning, you can be pretty sure that you're reflecting some of it back at her, not to mention out in the world. If it helps you to feel more charitably toward me, she had a soft landing, with someone local for whom she is still salt or leaven and not rocks in the pockets. In other words, they're honeymooning. It was a clean turnover: no harm, no foul.
"Clean" and modern is the feeling I wanted this quilt to have. I am so happy for the wedding couple. He is the late bloomer of my closest cousin's four sons, and still has the sweet, slightly awkward, puppy-dog appeal he's had since he was a tyke. Not knowing much about the couple's aesthetic tastes, I went with primaries + black and white, and the ever-popular chevron pattern.
("Ever"? Well, note that fads hit the Midwest later than they do the coasts. I give this chevron fad at least two more years, by which time the couple might have the down comforter they really want. Perhaps this can be their honeymoon quilt!)
The Buddhist talk I enjoyed so much was recommended by the groom's mother, who makes Buddhism her practice. One of its themes is how happiness is multiplicative, how it propagates from one person to another through the mysteries of oxytocin, and nothing is lost. So, lo and behold, while feeling some joy for my reclaimed life, last night it multiplied, as I attended a wonderful friend's 60th birthday party, and connected happily with his grown son and daughter, who are doing very well. The son is getting married in August.
And my stepson gets married in June.
So really, that's a whole lot of big bed quilts to make, and a whole lot of good fortune and happiness to meditate upon. My desire for connection is strong, and I need not be shy. Though I have no biological --and so far, no legally adopted--children of my own, I need not feel alone. I can step forward and say, "I share your joy. Thank you for sharing it with me."
There are plenty of people to love.