The kids left last Thursday. My husband and I had very different reactions. I was so happy they were leaving; I'm still happy they're gone, actually. He, on the other hand, had a bit of a cry when they left. Even yesterday, he teared up a bit when I asked how he felt.
I've thought a lot about our different reactions. Part of it was our feelings going into fostering these kids. We knew they would be tempoary, and after having dealt with them for a few days, I realised that I did not want to adopt them, even if we got the chance. So I've always thought of them as, basically, transient kids that I had to take care of. I'm not saying I didn't bond with them or get attached. (That's what my husband thought.) I'm just saying that our beginning approach was different. He wanted to save these kids, reform them a bit; make them better and they would love him and be grateful to him forever. I wanted to get parenting experience and not have anyone kill each other.
Also, I woke the kids up, helped them with homework, made them do their chores, took them to appointments, met with teachers, bought their underwear. My husband came home to the kids mostly done with their homework and dinner ready. So all he had to do was play games, watch TV with them, finish up homework, and then put them to bed. He didn't really have to deal with the 10 year old's tantrums, her arguing, trying to get her to understand 2nd grade work (she was in 5th), etc.
I told our counselor that I felt like I'd had to do all the hard work and he got to be the fun dad. She laughed and said that probably everyone who has ever been main caregiver has felt like that. She's probably right.
But I hope our next experience with kids is better. Things are looking pretty good that we might get the sibling set we've been trying for. I would have things in common with these kids. These kids are intelligent and can (hopefully) carry on a halfway intelligent conversation. Not going to lie, I'm kind of idealistic about this family.
And I know there will be fights. But they'll be new fights. About new things, and hopefully new ways of fighting. I'm ready for a change of pace. I'm ready to be a parent to kids that are more like me. Because the truth of it is, our first foster experience probably wasn't the best fit. But we stuck it out for 5 months, and hopefully gave the kids a safe place to land while the parents figured their stuff out.
Were we perfect? Of course not. Yet we worked together and figured most things out. I have high hopes for our ability to parent in the future.
Now we're taking a break from kids for a few weeks so I can have my gallbladder taken out. (Incidentally, there will be no review tomorrow, and possibly Friday depending on how out of it I am) I'm looking forward to the break-mostly because my poor guy will have to do EVERYTHING around the house while I lay in bed. :D