Sometimes I get lost in the minutia. In the minute by minute, play by play game of keeping two boys fed, clothed, reasonably clean and a healthy distance from each others’ throats.
I can miss the forest for the trees. And in foster care, there are a lot of trees.
There’s the normal trees of childhood and sibling rivalry and adolescence and boys being boys. And then there’s the trauma trees of being taken from mom and not knowing if or when you’ll get to go back.
Big trees. That all too often block my view.
Yet not so with my husband. He sees past. He sees out.
And that’s where he works. Where he plants and waters and nurtures.
He has started talking to the boys about being men of responsibility and courage. Naming and calling out the good in them.
At night, he snuggles each one, whispering in their ears all the good choices they made. Encouraging these young lads that they are seen and known and good.
Slowly, they’re making the hard choices. Fighting their desire to fight. The disagreements still come, but with new words.
One night, I watch as Jonathan steps outside to get something without hearing our foster son asking him a question. Tears and angry accusations come from this young boy. But it’s not slurs or hate that raise my eyebrows this time. Instead he’s wrestling with wisdom and truth. “Men of responsibility and courage do not walk out,” he cried.
And suddenly, even I see it. My trees are changing. The forest is growing.