Yesterday was by far my most difficult day of fostering. A new little one came to stay the day before yesterday, but he's not the cause of my troubles - he's absolutely lovely! No, what happened yesterday was that a wave of 'missing the boy' came crashing over me for the first time since he left way before Christmas.
My first little one was adorable and I had him for eight months. When he came, he was a tiny bottle-fed thing, and he stayed with me long enough for me to celebrate his first birthday with him. Plenty long enough for him to become a big part of my life.
But actually, despite my worries, handing him back wasn't anything near as bad as I thought it would be, and the weeks I have spent without him have been fine really. In fact I have spent most of that time looking forward eagerly to my next new arrival.
But now that the boy mark II is here, I find that everything about him reminds me of his predecessor. They look nothing like each other and are completely different ages, with different routines, different backgrounds, different likes and dislikes, just as you'd expect from two totally unrelated children. But when I watch him playing with the toys and cuddling up to sleep in the cot, I can't help remembering all the times my first little one did that and my heart aches just a bit. Even taking the new boy shopping for clothes yesterday nearly caused me to start crying in the aisle!
So, I have the new addition I hoped and prayed for and, finally, 'the boy' is really being replaced, nearly a month after he actually left. I know I don't have to forget the boy - how could I? - but I do have to let go of him now or how could I give the new boy the love and comfort that he is craving?
The new boy is a sweetie and I'm sure we'll have lots of adventures together. I'm sure I'll soon learn to love him, especially as he is so free with his cuddles and kisses. I know we'll adapt to each other's routines and get comfortable with each other.
But just for a couple of days, I'm going to let myself grieve just a little for my first boy.