I don’t need to step over the baby gate anymore, so I won’t. It’s been taken down.
I don’t need to fumble with the child-proof locks on the cabinets, so I won’t. They’re not there anymore.
I don’t need to check and see if there are any bottles made for tonight, so I won’t. Nobody here looking to drink them.
I don’t need to keep shushing the boys: there’s no one sleeping for them to wake up.
I don’t need to worry if he ate enough today, but I’m going to. I can’t help it.
I don’t need to hope that he has a good night’s sleep tonight, but I am. Old habits die hard.
I don’t need to worry about him being safe. I know that I don’t need to and I know that he’s fine, but I’m going to.
I don’t need to look forward to him greeting me at the door tomorrow when I get home from work, but I’m going to.
…. I am going to. And it’s going to suck all over again when he’s not there to tell me that I’m home.
I am happy for him to be back where he belongs with his family that loves him, and I’m happy for them that they have him.
But for now I will hope and worry, and I’ll look forward to seeing him again. He’s not here anymore, but I will.
For as long as I need to.
Brett Chabek and his wife Pammie have been foster parents with Cuyahoga County in Ohio for eight years. They have fostered five children, and adopted one.