The transition from a family of four to a family of five was hardest on Evelyn.
This is Evelyn’s signature look. Where Charlotte was always a social and talkative, Evelyn is introspective and curious.
Earlier this week the two of us had just over two uninterrupted hours together alone. We spent them at the park.
Evelyn has long since adjusted to her status as a middle child, but these moments alone are few and far between and we both eat them up. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of her – standing in the yard giggling as she watches Charlotte’s antics, sitting in the swing at the park listening intently as I recite poems to her, chirping with excitement as she runs through the house, carefully picking up blueberries and savoring their taste – and I am hit with a wave of guilt and panic and frustration.
I’ll catch myself wondering what I have done to my baby.
When we welcomed our foster daughter into our family, we knew that our time and resources would be divided even further and that there would be difficulties. Sometimes, though, knowing a thing and living that reality are vastly different. For the first couple weeks after our placement, I frequently found myself awake at night worrying about the affect this would have on my second-born. I missed holding her all the time, nursing her whenever the mood struck her, relishing every little change as she grew.
But once or twice a month, I find myself in the lucky position of having a few hours with only Evelyn. Next to our foster daughter, Evelyn often seems much older and more capable than she is. I sometimes feel like her babyhood and her toddlerhood are slipping through my fingers. But when we’re alone I see her as she is. I see my baby in those moments and I soak it up, memorizing every inch of her, trying hard to hold onto her sounds and silly antics.
The time passes too quickly, of course, but it is then when I can see that she’s okay. I can see that she is doing well.