Well I never did turn into that bird. Tracey didn’t get any better either. She used to say to me all the time she wished I would go back where I came from. Told me I was more trouble than what I was worth. I really didn’t understand why she would say those things to me. I had not been getting in any trouble, I had been doing my school work. I think she was just ready to be rid of the extra responsibility. I don’t know that she got any other foster children after I left. But she was rid of me and I was rid of her. I wondered when I would ever be someplace where I felt wanted and loved. When I went to live with the third family, Sharon and Joe, they had four foster kids and two children of their own. When I first got there, everyone welcomed me with open arms, smiles, hugs, and such… I instantly felt a connection with everyone there.

“I’m so glad to have you here, Tuesday,” Sharon said the first night at dinner.

“Thanks,” I said rather dryly; seeing that I didn’t know yet if I was actually glad to be there.

“So tell the family a little bit about yourself. What is your favorite food?” she asked.

“Well, I like chicken. And macaroni and cheese mostly,” I said, starting to open up.

“That’s good!” she said excitedly. “Because we love ourselves some fried chicken around here! That’s one of my best dishes!”

I knew that Sharon was going to be the happy-go-lucky type. Always smiling and bubbly. I didn’t mind it. It was kind of fun to watch. Joe was okay. He worked a lot so when he was around, he didn’t do too much talking. He read the newspaper in the morning at the table and watched the news from the dining room in the evening when we ate dinner. He would sit at the table with everyone else, he would just be focused on the news most of the time. Sharon wouldn’t have him sitting away from the table, which is what I really felt like he wanted to do. One day though he got off work early and he started up a conversation with me.

“Tuesday,” he said kind of hesitantly. “You know we read about your mom in your file before you came here, but there was nothing in there about your father. Did you ever know him?”

“No,” I said, not really wanting to elaborate.

“Have you ever had a father type person in your life?” he asked.

“Um, no, not really.”

“Well I work a lot, but if you ever want to talk to me about anything that is on your mind, you can always come to me. I want you to feel comfortable enough around me to say what it is you feel, ok?”

“Ok,” I really didn’t know what else to say. I really had never had a “father-daughter” relationship with a man before. But I felt kind of glad that he at least would say that I could come to him if I needed to.

When my birthday came around that year, I didn’t really know what to expect. When the other kids had birthdays, Sharon and Joe had small parties for them and invited the neighborhood kids. I didn’t know how things would go on my birthday, but when it came, it was nothing like I expected. I turned ten so I was finally in the double digits. They showered me with gifts, a huge party, lots of kids from the neighborhood came and their parents. I had never had a birthday party. I was excited and I think I smiled all day; which was not usual for me since I was sad a lot. But that day, I had the best birthday ever!

My eleventh birthday wasn’t nearly as big as my tenth. But Sharon and Joe did still give me a party and a few gifts. I was with them for almost two full years. I started being more open and sociable with them. More than I ever had with anyone else in the three years and two other  foster homes I’d been in. I felt like my life was turning around. But what happened about five months after my birthday hit me like a ton of bricks. My grandma died. The social worker who had been over my case and my placements came to visit me one Saturday afternoon in the middle of May. I remember it like it was yesterday.

“Tuesday!” Sharon yelled for me to come to the living room.

“Yes?” I said once I got there, a little surprised to see Mrs. Jackson, and a bit worried too. I thought maybe she was coming to tell me I was leaving and going to another foster home. But then I had to think, “it’s Saturday, she never comes on the weekend.”

“Come sit down honey,” Sharon said reaching her arm out for me.

“Hello, Tuesday. How are you doing this afternoon?”

“I’m ok, I guess,” I said still wondering what was to come.

“I was sitting here talking to your foster mom and she was telling me how good you have been doing here.”

“Yeah. I like it pretty good.”

“Well Tuesday, I didn’t come all the way over here on a Saturday just to check in on you. I’m really sorry, but I have some bad news,” she said. I was starting to really get worried when she said that. Even if I was being moved, it wouldn’t warrant a visit on the weekend and she’s never used the phrase “bad news” when I’ve had to leave one home to go to another.

“Ok…” I said slowly, wondering what she was going to say next.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this honey, but your Grandmother passed away last night. I found out first thing this morning and I didn’t want to wait to tell you on Monday.”

“Are you okay, honey?” Sharon asked as she put her arm around my shoulder to hug me.

“So what do I do now?” I asked. “I don’t have any other family left,” I had begun to cry. “I didn’t even get to say good-bye to her or see her one last time.” I was crying heavily by this point. It had really hit me that there was no one else left in my family.

“For as long as you’re here with us, Tuesday, we’re your family. Even if you leave us, I hope you can still consider us as family because we love you and we want to be here for you through this time,” Sharon said reassuringly. “Mrs. Jackson, do you know how the nursing home is going to handle the funeral arrangements?”

“No, not at this time. I will try to find out more on Monday morning,” Mrs. Jackson answered Sharon. “Tuesday, do you want to go to your room and have some time to yourself?” Mrs. Jackson had asked me. I simply nodded and got up and walked away. I’m sure they talked more about the funeral and other things related to my Grandmother.

I didn’t go to my room, which wasn’t really my room since I did share it with the other girls there. I went outside to the back yard and sat down beside this big tree. All I could do was cry and think about my Grandma. In the year and a half I had been with Joe and Sharon, they took me to see my grandma pretty regularly in the beginning. I would ask to go and see her, and they would never say no. But after my tenth birthday, I can only remember them taking me to see her three or four times. I think I only went to see her once after I turned eleven. She was always glad to see me, and I her. She asked me how I was doing and was I being treated right. I would tell her yes. I didn’t know what it was then, but now that I think back, I would always notice a certain look in her eyes; one of despair. Like she wished she could be there for me the way I needed her to be. I knew she would not have me in the foster care system if she could see about me herself. But that warm day in May changed my life. Losing my grandma hurt me more than losing my mama did. And even now, I still miss her every day.

Advertisements