In 2011, I was in foster care with my younger sister for some months. In my head it was 9 months but tbh, I am not sure how many months it was. During this time, our mum worked hard enough to get sober (enough), prove she could look after us and get us back home.
Of course, there were times she was drunk but we just wanted to go back home. We didn’t like her drunk; but we preferred her drunk in comparison to not being at home with our one consistent at all.
When we got home in November of that same year, things were better than before. Except that Christmas, when my mum somehow got extremely drunk for days again and a social worker happened to come do a routine check (I think)… lo and behold, we were sent to an Aunty’s house for Christmas. An Aunty we had pretty much never seen, barely spoke to and definitely didn’t know. An Aunty who made her opinion of our mother (“If she loved you, she would stop drinking”) very clear.
It sucked. I mean, who really wants to spend Christmas at a strangers house? Don’t get me wrong, Christmas dinner was nice and we saw cousins we didn’t know but that’s okay, because it’s “family”. But it wasn’t home. It wasn’t our idea of family. It wasn’t our mum, in our house, with our presents.
When we went back home to a hungover but sober mother, our presents were in black bin bags, unwrapped but for us. I don’t remember how this made me feel: was I angry? relieved? Hurt? All of those things and more?
I remember it so it definitely meant something to me. But to be fair, the worst was still to come over the next few years so does it really matter? Who knows.
There’s no real point to this post. Just a reflection at the same time of year as this event.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right?