On the way home, I made small talk hoping to find something we could bond over, something that would show them I was a safe person. My mind was processing, I thought back to the moments before, I was met at the door, handed trash bags of clothing, toys and three children. My brave five year old son, clung to his “parent” who gave him a pat on the back and a brief “you will be fine, she seems nice.” He looked at me eyes wide with fear and bravely took my hand. Those steps to the car were long, he was quiet, holding on, his little heart needed something to cling to.
The five minute car ride seemed so much longer, as I wondered what this new season of life looked like. I watched in the mirror as my big girl, seven years old, comforted everyone with pats and words of encouragement. Much like a mama trying to calm her babies, whispering “it would be okay.” Her job was being the one person that kept them together and safe. She was the “oldest” seven year old I had ever seen, life had taught her she had to be in charge. I decided it would be different and maybe hard, I truly in that moment had no idea what was to come. My mind quickly and desperately tried to recall all I had learned in my classes. We pulled up to the house, I helped them unbuckle, they were so scared, eyes wide and filled with tears. I tried to comfort them, as much as a stranger can.
We climbed the stairs to the house, where we began unloading their things. We all sat down around the table for dinner, we ate pizza and carrots. Each of them slowly opening up, sharing a phrase here and there. After dinner we unpacked their tattered clothing, took baths and began our new bedtime routine. I tucked everyone in their new beds and whispered a goodnight. Praying over each of them as they slept, what a strange thing it is to tuck strangers into bed.
Once they were quiet, I sat down and began going through their clothing, feeling frustrated that they had been wearing this stained, tattered clothing, sorting things into piles. I wondered where had these babies been, what had they seen, where have they lived? They were 7,5 and 3, though their bodies were tiny, they were old souls, they had been through so much.
I did one final check on them and climbed into my bed, only to be awakened shortly there after by sobs. My sweet three year old, was sobbing, she had some kind of nightmare. I scooped her up and went into my living room and rocked her. I wondered what does it feel like to seek comfort in a stranger. She clung to me, she was sweaty and shaking, her little heart so heavy. I rocked her and the tears streamed down my face as I wondered what this soul carried. She eventually stopped and her breathing got deep and methodical, I laid her back in bed and tucked her in, this time with a kiss on the forehead.
I climbed back into my bed, heavy hearted and honestly unsure if I could do this, feeling so ill-equipped. That was our first night of forever. At 27, I had become a mom of three overnight... suddenly it was as if the instructions on my box read, “just add kids.”