Back in December I blogged on a week of last things with OB as he prepared to be returned to his family. This week OB has had another week of last things of a completely different sort - he has had his final contacts with his birth family. He won't see any of them again until he chooses to, if that day comes.
As I did in December, I find myself reflecting on our situation. Back then it was me who fully expected to never see him again. Now it is his birth family. What a bittersweet turnaround.
I won't say anything about those contacts on here as it's only fair to respect his confidentiality and, anyway, it's time to put it behind us now and look ahead.
But I find that I can't help looking back with a vague feeling that I wish I had known last year what I know now - that OB would be my son and I would be his forever Mummy. Part of me would like to live that time again with the knowledge that I now have.
What would I have done differently, I wonder? Would I have cared for him more? Loved him more? I don't think that would have been possible! And yet there's still this nagging feeling that things would have been different if I had viewed him as my own son during that time, instead of knowing that I was taking care of him for somebody else.
I think it boils down to memories. Looked-after children move around a lot and often end up with people who weren't there for some or all of their earliest years. I expect we've all eagerly asked our parents for details of our childhood and baby years. What was my first word? What was my favourite toy? It's important that those details are recorded somewhere so that when those questions come in the future, somebody has the answers for them.
So, I worked hard last year to create records of memories for OB. I kept his daily log, noting important events and milestones. I took lots and lots of photos and videos of him doing various different things, from the mundane events (such as the first time he tried broccoli - not a success!!) to the once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like the Royal Wedding.
And that's the point really. I was creating memories for him. I wasn't creating memories for us. I wasn't creating a story of a Mummy and her son, I was creating a story of a little boy to carry with him to an uncertain new life with person or persons unknown.
Now I will have to go back a re-write that story; replace the album of pictures of OB on his own with pictures of him with me and the rest of his family and friends, and create a past for him that will match his future - a story that says that whatever happened at the very beginning, from his earliest months he has been part of a family and community that wanted, loved and cherished him.