I saw a quote by Patti LuPone this morning. She basically informed a reporter she hates 45’s fucking guts. I got the impression she was reluctant to respond at all, and when pushed, she told it like it is (SNAP.) In celebration of this moment of honesty from a strikingly beautiful and talented woman, I’m going to state the obvious. I love her. I know. Who doesn’t? Welp… 45 doesn’t anymore. Poor pathetic Putin puppet. The modern day Helen of Troy thinks you’re wasting oxygen, too. Dayum!
I spent several hours answering questions for my Prodigy last night. It cracked me up how she initiated the session. She emailed me a contract. She basically asked me to promise not to withhold information based solely on her age. I didn’t need to think about it for very long. Doing so would be incredibly hypocritical. I didn’t believe I was a child when I was her age, either. I remember how offended I used to get when people assumed otherwise. I’m pretty sure she knew I would agree.
I ended up telling her about my foster siblings. There were over 100 before I joined the Army. My parents fostered six kids at a time. Most were severely developmentally disabled. Some died in our home. (I still have nightmares.) I think because we didn’t talk about them after they passed. The Foster Babies, as I called them, were a constant source of joy in my life. There was always a baby I could rock. I assigned myself the duty of night watch when I was little. (It began as an excuse to be up past my bedtime.) A few times a night, I would peek into their cribs to make sure they were still breathing.
My parents had baby monitors, but I preferred in-person checks. We had a baby with microcephaly, Spina Bifida, and intellectual disabilities. His mom was gravely ill when she carried him (Anorexia Nervosa), and she had a difficult time with (irrational IMO) feelings of guilt after he came to live with us. Seeing her weep when she visited her baby hurt so much. Just remembering it has tears welling. He lived with us for two years, then passed when I was eight. I still remember how kissable his cheeks were. If you said his name in a sing-song voice, he would light up and laugh. I try to remember those details, and forget the ones that still haunt my sleep.
When he died, I was putting on my uniform for school. My parents ordered us to go to our rooms when the coroner came, but I disobeyed. His skin was bluish gray. I watched them take my baby foster brother away forever. I remember not knowing how to feel. I saw his mom at Best Buy once as an adult. I walked up to her and gave her probably the longest hug I’ve ever given anyone. I wanted desperately to tell her something, but I didn’t have the words. So I just kept hugging. I hope she understood.
A few were older than me when they lived with us. I have a Native American foster sister who used to babysit me. I see her about town once in a while. She’s married and seems happy. She’s intellectually disabled. She was on the strict side but kept me safe. I remember when one of my brothers called her the R word, and she slapped the shit out of him. The slapping part was hilarious. He knew he couldn’t tell on her for it, which made it funnier. (My parents made it extremely clear we would not survive the consequences of harming one of the foster kids.)
Unfortunately, they weren’t always able to prevent asshole moments like above. My older siblings were embarrassed by the foster babies as teenagers. My oldest brother tried to convince my mom to let me go live with him and his wife because he didn’t think it was a healthy environment for me to grow up in. (She said no.) Gar is the brother who taught me how to read, used to make us call him Garfunkle, and has a ridic high IQ. He’s fascinating, but I don’t think he’s terribly compassionate. I love him, but I’ve always kept him at arm’s length. He told me when I was twelve he thought it was more merciful to kill the foster babies than help prolong their lives. It painfully annihilated my ability to trust him.
It was hard to leave the foster babies when I left for basic training. When I got out of the service, my parents were retired. I visited a little brother, who was three when I left, at his new foster home. It sucked. He was “too old” to be picked up and showered with kisses. He loved his new foster family. His new dad owned an auto body shop. It was testosterone heaven, and my adorable baby brother thought the idea of giving me a hug was funny. That day sucked ass.
Shannon is probably the one I remember most strongly. Before my parents brought her home, they had a talk with us about her condition. She had a facial deformity. She couldn’t open her eyes, and she had a severe cleft palate. I remember being a little nervous as it was the first time we had such a talk. It was for naught. Shannon was the most affectionate and loving person I’ve ever met in my life. She had bright red hair, porcelain skin, and I got a peek at one of her cobalt blue eyes through a tiny slit where the skin opened. I think it was just enough for her to detect light.
She had plastic surgery soon after she came to live with us. They repaired her palate and nose. There was barely a scar. She was less than a year old when she came to live with us and was blind and deaf. I loved her so much. My mom got really attached to her, too. When you picked her up from her crib, she would hug you, kiss you, and pat you on the back. She knew who was holding her by touching our faces and hair. When she hugged my mom, she would make cooing sounds, like she was comforting her. She lived with us until she turned six, and was sent to an institution. That sucked, too. I’m so glad I got to know her. She was love personified. I’m off to read.