Even though they were here less than a month, they made a huge impact on me. Do you remember when you were a kid, dentists would come to the school and give little dental kits with pink chewables you were supposed to gnaw and spit after brushing to see where you'd missed? All the spots that you didn't brush well enough were bright pink. In the same way, Sassy Girl and Mr Jingle Pants served as metaphorical disclosing tablets to me, personally. It was easy to say, "I brushed," or "I'm compassionate and have a heart for children." And yet the bright pink areas soon showed in my own selfishness and impatience.
Their toothbrushes are still in my bathroom.
Sassy Girl and Mr Jingle Pants went for a weekend visit with mom and never came back. For the past week, I've been coming across their things in the laundry and wondering. Waiting to hear from their mom, either to arrange for them to come back, or to get their stuff to them. Wishing they were in school, where they should be.
Someone said, "Think of the impact you've had on their lives." Only, I'm not sure there was any. This was just a place they had to stay when their mom couldn't take care of them for a little while. In a year, they won't remember our names, and in 10 years, they may not even remember the hosting experience at all. I'd rather think about and learn from the impact they've had on MY life.
I hope I won't be so quick to take my things for granted, now that I've seen them through the eyes of kids with next to nothing. I've gained a new perspective on the reality that not everyone grows up in a traditional, typical family situation. Sassy had some grating behaviors. But they were a result of her cumulative experiences in the 7 short years of her life so far. Just like we learned with Hannah that not every child has someone sit down and teach them colors when they begin to speak, we've now realized that not every child has someone teach them the same standards of behavior.
For someone who thought they were compassionate, I've learned that when the rubber met the road, I wasn't very good about putting my faith into action. Oh, I can go from pillow to driveway with 9 kids in one hour. I can do the tasks that encompass parenting easily enough. But on the inside? I have a long way to go. I realized that when I was not happy about having to get up 15 minutes earlier to get everyone out the door to get Sassy Girl to the bus on time. 15 minutes. Really? So much for eternal perspective.
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