Mary’s Story

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There’s a boy in my house. He’s tall and lanky, with brown eyes and curly dark hair cropped close to his head. He plays video games and actually craves my meatloaf. Each afternoon I see him from the kitchen window. Even on the coldest days he romps with the two dogs in the backyard.

They play chase, tug o’ war, and Frisbee until he falls down on purpose and flaps around in the snow like a wounded duck.

The dogs bark, circling round and round and licking his face, and then they pant and cry and beg for more play time. The boy usually obliges until his appetite calls him in. Then I pile his plate high with food and fill one of our tallest glasses with ice-cold chocolate milk. He’s a champion eater!

There’s a girl in my house. She does not look like her brother. She’s blonde with riveting blue eyes. Her favorite treat is Moose Tracks ice cream with whipped topping and rainbow sprinkles, and she drinks orange juice with every meal. She isn’t quite a teenager yet, but aspires to be 25. Her ear is permanently attached to her cell phone and her fingertips fly across the keyboard of our laptop computer. She is shy and not quite so sure of herself, but she is strong. They both are because they have been through so much together.

They are foster children who moved in with me and my husband about a month ago. My job is to protect them, and that includes what is left of their privacy since they became wards of the state. All I can tell you is they are good children who have had an unbelievable run of bad luck – so bad that “heartbreaking” is the only word you could use to describe it. But I can’t think about that right now because the boy needs meatloaf and the girl needs her ice cream and a little confidence. They both could use a bit of spoiling, something my husband and I are very good at. And while we have them here, we are taking the opportunity to put plenty of ideas in their heads.

The boy is smart, very smart; and handsome too. We tell him over and over he could go to college someday. She is younger, but we are trying to plant a few seeds with her as well. She has an incredible eye for taking photographs. Many of the pictures she snaps with the digital camera she got for Christmas are stunning.

I have no idea if we will have them long enough to nurture their talents or make a difference in their lives. I hope so! We need to keep spoiling them – doing the laundry, chauffeuring them around, hosting their friends, washing the dishes, buying the groceries and making plenty of meatloaf. There’s a boy in my house and a girl too. And I’m happier than I have been in a very long time.