“The Sun is Up! It’s Time to Play.” Those are jarring words. Especially at 6 a.m. in the morning. In our house, 6-anything is doggone early. But on one particular morning, the little bitty package shouting those words jolted us to life in 3.1 seconds flat. And that day didn’t stop, not even for a second.
A few years ago, we had the awesome opportunity to provide respite care for the cutest 4-year-old on the planet. I imagine staying at a strangers’ house is stressful, but he rolled with the punches and ruled the roost.
The rules governing where a foster child can sleep are understandably strict. Respite care is when a foster family cares for a another foster family’s child for a short time. It generally allows a family to get a short rest from intense special needs. Other times, like this one, the family’s schedules caused the need for alternate care for a few days.
I had it so easy. I helped about.. not much. My wife on the other hand, had her literal hands full with this little guy from sunup to sundown. Juggling three little ones (told ya this was a while back) with trauma issues isn’t easy.
For me, I helped little man get from level 1,000, where his energy level was locked-in, to recharge mode. Watching the fits and starts of sleep (and trying to reach out for his truck) reminded me why we do this: to give God’s children a place of refuge from a terrible world.
Our boys learned the joys of having a sibling. Little did they know what kind of preparation this would be. They helped our little guy navigate the house, show him the ropes and most importantly demonstrate a kind of love that’s been missing for much of his life.
The best part? His foster family is friends of ours. So this energetic little guy is like part of our extended family.