This writing prompt made me laugh. My life has been everything but predictable, so the thought of being able to even guess at 5 years from now is a very interesting exercise. My life, my heart, and my ministry all revolve around the parenting journey I have chosen.
With that in mind, I will have to share these thoughts with all the possibilities for my children within the next 5 years.
Inez and Joanna and Katerina
The Littles, also known as Inez, Joanna, and Katerina are my granddaughters. I do not know if they will be living with me in 5 years, but they will obviously still be in my life. In 5 years, they will be 12 and 10 and 10 years old, so our lives will still revolve around school, extracurricular activities (I predict dance, gymnastics, swimming and/or rock climbing), and healing from early trauma. Their situation is difficult as their mama will still be in prison in 5 years’ time and, while their father is in the army, he is, at best, an uninvolved parent. He spends time with them on weekends but does little to be involved in their school life, their activities or even their play. Because of this situation, I expect I will still be parenting them in 5 years (at least I hope I will get to continue to be a safe, stable place for them to be).
Henry will be 17… almost 18 years old in 5
Within the foster care/adoption journeys of many of us parents, we have children who are “runners.” Henry shows some indication at this point that he may be one of my kids who choose to run away as his way of managing difficult feelings and situations. It is scary to go through as a parent, but I have dealt with it several times over the years with other kids and it is part of the parenting journey I have chosen. The bottom line, though, is that I know I am the safest place for Jenry and he really relies on me in many ways. Also, he has a good extended family who lives a couple of hours north of us and we may be able to mitigate some the ‘running’ by building in time with his granddad and bio-brothers and their families. Just thinking out loud.
In five years, my son Gavin will be 19 years old. Wow! He is in 8th grade this year and for the first time has switched his mindset from hating school to wanting to do well at school. It’s still a struggle as his anxiety frequently derails his brain in the learning process. He continues to get mind/body reactions from past abuse at any kind of perceived ‘trouble.’ At school, that means that if he makes a mistake he is triggered into a panic that his life is in danger. He KNOWS that is not true, but his body does not know that yet. Still… he is persisting (as opposed to resisting last year) in keeping up with assignments and self-monitoring his grades and progress. I can’t foresee his future yet, but he is “planning” on doing college swimming, so higher education seems to be his goal. He has no ideas on a field of study yet, but swimming seems to be the draw. Yay!
Freddy is my 15-year-old, so he will be 20 years old in 5 years. He will (or should be) done with high school and hopefully studying what he wants. He is my child with high functioning autism and his current career goals include being an airplane engineer. School is a challenge for Henry, but he is brilliant. It’s a hard mixture, but he has grown so much in the past 3 years AND he does not give up when he is on the trail of something, so I’m sure in 5 years we will at least be working towards education and independence.
Eleanor will be 21 years old by then and has every intention of going to college. She has not decided on a career path yet, but she has a lot of ideas. I suspect her chosen field will be something having to do with children. She is my right-hand helper with the Littles and she is really good with children. She is learning a lot of great parenting skills along the way. She is also a Teaching Assistant with the medically fragile students at her high school and I hear how much the staff and students love her…she helps with feeding, field trips, and other activities like hot/cold, rough/smooth, and other learning experiences. She’s even figured out the moods and wishes of one of her favorite non-verbal friends.
Dixie and Clara and Beatrice and Alice
Dixie, Clara, and Beatrice will be full-grown adults in 5 years, though I hope they will still be around. Actually, mostly I hope they are happy and living lives they love. By then, they will be 24, 26, and 29 years old respectively and I won’t even try to guess where their own journeys will take them. My eldest daughter, Alice be 38-years-old by then and still in prison, though getting closer to release. That will be a whole new journey! Helping a daughter re-acclimate with be a true joy.
Five Years Into the Future
It’s pretty apparent that I will still be pretty much where I am right now. I, myself will be 65 years old. Who knows? I might still have time to foster a few more teens before I’m too old. Turns out I’m fairly predictable after all!
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