Thursday, April 23, 2009

Not Quitting Yet

After my post about my lack of enthusiasm for jumping through the various hoops for re-licensing FosterAbba asked if we were going to quit. We are certainly not going to be quitting as long as Gary needs us. Roland collected stuff today and we will be sending them into the licensing worker. We will certainly do all this again next year so that we will be licensed for Gary's senior year.

Now, up until I replied to FosterAbba's question, I had assumed that we would have to get licensed at the end of Gary's senior year so that he could stay with us until he was ready to leave. Gary will turn 18 at the beginning of his senior year. He can stay in comprehensive care until 90 days after graduation, and the license we will get next year will be good for about 21 days after he graduates. I had been thinking that we had to get re-licensed so that he could stay the whole 90 days.

And I just realized that no...we would have to be licensed in order to be paid room and board for those 90 days. He will be 18 and a high school graduate. We can let him live with us if we want.

The way I imagined it before we would be licensed for almost a whole year after Gary left. I've been telling people that I imagine we would "lie low" but that whether we quit doing care would depend upon whether they came up with a kid we couldn't say no to, and, I tell people, they are pretty good at coming up with kids I can't say no to. So my attitude has sort of been, "Well, maybe we will quit after Gary leaves, but I am going to just see what happens." In the back of my mind a resigned and tired voice says, "And you know they will find one. It's like working for the mob. Once you get in you can never leave." Another voice reminds me that I always get excited about new kids, but that voice is quieter and less convincing recently.

Now it occurs to me that we could quit. Not now of course, but in two years.

In two years I could just let the license expire. Gary would be officially moved from "comprehensive care" to "transitional services" some 70 days earlier than otherwise, but all that would mean from his perspective was that he got a new social worker.

My heart jumped when I realized that.

I have such mixed feelings about continuing to do care. I have some real anxieties about what life after kids would look like. I'm afraid that Roland and I won't have anything to talk about, that we will realize we don't really have anything in common. I'm afraid that I won't have anything to distract me and I will sink into depression. I'm afraid that I will feel obliged to become more deeply committed to my job. I won't have an excuse not to go to the events student affairs invites us to. I won't be the foster parent who is too busy Doing Good Things and will instead merely be the grumpy professor who doesn't enjoy any sports, doesn't like leaving her house for student plays she would probably enjoy if she went, and has absolutely no desire AT ALL to cook pancakes at midnight during finals week, thank you very much.

I also imagine that maybe Roland and I would enjoy being able to spend time together and renew our relationship. We might find the energy for sex. I might be able to do things like quilt and knit. I could cook foods I like every night. I could enjoy the quiet.

I could finally offer to adopt the boys. I keep putting that off because want to do it for everyone all at once. Don't ask for a rational explanation of that. I can talk more about the reasons, but they are emotional reasons that don't completely make sense to me.

Anyway, thinking that maybe I could just let my license expire as Gary graduates from high school was like noticing an escape route. It really felt like that.

I would have to not tell anyone at the agency, or the scheming workers would start presenting kids to me before Gary leaves and not quietly accept my usual response, "I won't even think about a new kid while I am letting go of the current one." I'd have to look like I was going to get re-licensed right up to the point that I said, "Um...I decided not to." [hmm...on a side note maybe this is why I keep having fantasies about being taken into the witness protection program.]

I also can't tell Roland I'm even thinking about it. If I do, he will think I told him that I definitely have decided to quit, and if I change my mind he will be all grumpy and surprised and insist that he knows I told him I was going to quit. He could accept that I changed my mind, but he would never believe that I spent two years just keeping a door open and not making a decision. I would get frustrated because I didn't change my mind and I didn't have a reason, I had just decided, okay? The he would say that he was sure I told him I was going to quit. I would say something like, "Well, do you want us to quit?" and he would say, "Not if you don't want to" and then I would point out that this was a stupid argument and he would say, "It's just that I know you told me you were going to quit." Then I would have to go get Snarky Mom and ask her to go all Buffy on his *ss for me.

No, this will have to be a private fantasy just between you and me. So don't tell anyone.


  1. ROFL. Start a garden, you'll never wonder if you have enough going on in your life again.

    It sounds like you're looking forward to the break, so take it. Wanting some time off from the day-to-day parenting after 20 years of it isn't exactly a sin. You've done great things and you're great people. Saying "no" once in a while doesn't diminish that.

    And seriously, heuchella, euphorbia, air-layering, open pollinators, nitrogen content, double mock orange... this could be your new vocabulary

  2. hmm.. i think two years is far away in a sense, and you should think about getting excited for your future 'retirement'! and i like the idea of not telling roland - totally the same thing with mine :)

  3. A garden? You mean like, in the dirt? that would require being outside in the sunlight, I think. I don't know about that. sounds dangerous.

  4. Here, something for your hobbits:

  5. I like the way you can have a whole argument in your head with your husband, and know who is going to say what, without even having to talk to him. Saves time. :-)

  6. Okay, I promise I won't tell. Funny how quitting takes just as much thinking and pondering as starting did....


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