THE memories of my first Christmas in foster care have all emerged and although I am trying to structure these blog posts in the order of occurrence, it is difficult.
Hazel never let on that she loved Christmas. Maybe she didn’t. But she cared about making it a good day. At the beginning of each year she would buy a tin money box (the one printed with a $50 on the side where you could only open it with a can opener). She would sit it under the TV on the cupboard in the corner, and every week after she went shopping she would put her spare change in it. Everyone else in the family contributed at some point in the year as well.
Sometimes at the end of the year I would lift the money box and see how heavy it was. Sometimes I could barely lift it.
Here, Christmas was about togetherness and nothing to do with guilt.
At my real home we would wake early in the morning and it was everybody for themselves. We would rip all our own presents at once and then maybe have breakfast after.
But Hazel warned me that what we did in her home was have breakfast, sit in a circle and each take turns opening one present while everybody else watched. We might not even get started until 9am and it could take an hour.
At my real home one of us would go out and cut down a tree branch and maybe put the skinny, dying thing on the wood stove or in the corner.
We used a large, fake evergreen which reached the lounge roof, at my foster home.
The weeks before the planned Christmas shopping I rewrote what I aimed to give everyone this year.
Christmas in foster care? Maybe it could be good.