Yesterday after getting home from meeting with 5 potential new residents I set my stuff down and fell into my big comfy chair. Ahhhhhh… I was happy to be home. It felt good to just sit and rest my body and calm my mind. I love how quickly my body relaxes in my new space. Last week a friend said that she loves they way she feels in my home, she said it felt like being hugged. I laughed at the time, but in the moment a hug is exactly what I needed.
After I settled in… my mind wandered back to an earlier interview.
I was sitting with a beautiful young woman who was both so strong and fragile at the same time. I noticed her hands were trembling as we read through her application together. She shared with me that she found out 2 weeks ago on her 18th birthday that her foster mom told her she needed to move out because she couldn’t afford to keep her anymore. What!?! Her mom couldn’t afford to ‘keep her’ anymore? I was at a loss for words so I just sat quietly and continued to listen. She went on talking about her concern about where she was going to live and what train or bus she would need to take after her night class ended. I reassured her that we would support her in securing a ride so she could get home safely. She then turned her head and tears started streaming down her face. I asked her why she was crying and she said that she’s never had anyone concerned for her safety before. I held back my own tears as I reached out to her. At first she pulled away but then slowly and reluctantly allowed me to embrace her. We sat together for awhile as the waves of sadness moved through her. When her body started to settle, she looked up at me and tried to say something but couldn’t find the words - I checked in to see if she was ok with me comforting her and she shook her head yes. She then said that she’s never had anyone hold her as she cried before… I had to repeat it back to her just to make sure I heard her correctly. I said, you’ve never had anyone hold and comfort you when you were sad? She looked up at me, shook her head no, and said - never.
I don’t know if anything could have prepared me for those words. As I sat alone in my chair I cried harder than I ever have. I cried for her, for all girls, boys, men and women who never had loving support when they needed it the most.
As the dust settled my attention turned towards my mom Ruth Ann Syrell-Rock. She too was raised in and out foster care homes and was never adopted. A wave of gratitude washed over me for how well she cared for me, saw me, celebrated me and loved me. In fact, I could go over to her home right now and crawl in her lap and she would hold me and offer me comfort and reassuring words. Thank you sweet mama <3 Thank you for giving me the unwavering gift of unconditional love and support. Because of you I have the same gift to offer these extraordianry young women. This feels like a full circle moment, your legacy, your love lives within me as a gift to be shared.
Photo: My beautiful momma.