Mother talked about having foster children for so wrong, it came as no surprise to me when she told me we were getting a child. My only thought was What took so Long? I was the oldest daughter of two, and well sometimes it got lonely and Mom had always said she wanted a big family, but after Stephanie was born she found out that she could have no more, having Stephanie nearly killed her.
" Is it a boy or girl Mama? " I asked unable to hide the excitement in my voice.
" A boy about Stephanieís age. " Mama informed me.
Great now I will have two annoying ten year olds to deal with.
" I was hoping for someone my age Mama. "
" We donít always get what we want now do we Samantha. " Mother was not asking a question but making a statement and I knew better than to sass back.
" Help me get the house ready. " Mother ordered.
" But Mama I am suppose to go out with my friends. "
" This is not open for discussion. "
Now I was beginning to wonder why I ever thought having Foster Sisters and brothers was such a good idea, didnít I have enough with looking after Stephanie? I wished I had never asked for any of this, I wanted it to stay just Stephanie, Mom and I forever. Dad had died when Stephanie was a baby.
I huffed as I was working at first, but when Mama put on the radio, I soon forgot and actually started enjoying myself, painting the spare bedroom, which would now be Michaelís bedroom was actually becoming fun, and I found myself smiling and laughing.
" What do you say we call it a day and go change and go out to eat? " Mama asked.
" Kentucky Friend Chicken. " Samantha and I said in unison.
" Okay KFC it is. "
" Weíll take it to go and eat at the park okay? "
" Great. "
" I need to talk to you girls about Michael and I would rather not do it in the restraunt. Ď
" Okay Mama. Ď
We found a secluded spot and pulled out the sheet Mama kept in the car for days like this, when she decided a picnic was in order.
Stephanie and I wasted no time in starting on our pieces of chicken, soon we were covered with greasy fingers and laughing as we wiped them on each other. I did have to admit
Stephanie and I had a fun a lot of the time and it made me feel good to act a bit immature at times and not have to be hollered at about it.
" I want you to treat Michael as if he were part of this family. " Mama said, breaking up our fun. " He needs to feel that he is welcomed. "
" We will Mama I promise. " I said, crossing my heart.
" He has a disability and that makes him feel even more of an outcast I donít want you girls adding to that. "
" Whatís his disability? " Stephanie asked.
" He was born with Muscular Dystrophy, and that makes it hard for him to walk. "
" Will he die from it Mama? " I asked, remembering seeing the Jerry Lewis Telethons on T.V.
" He doesnít have the kind that you are thinking about where you see the kids on T.V. with the breathing machines. The kind he has is called Beckerís mostly adult males get it, but somehow it affected him earlier. " Mama tried to explain.
" Can he take care of his private needs Mama, or does someone need to help him? "
" Samantha Leann that is none of your business, but the answer is yes he can take care of his own private needs, heís not helpless. "
I kept my mouth shut for awhile, my questions were getting me in hot water.
The next day when I got home from school the county car was there with Michael. He looked normal to me sitting in the back seat of that car that had the counties name written all over it. I didnít know what I was expecting him to look like, but it kind of surprised me that he looked so normal.
" Donít just stand there Samantha, help us get Michaelís belongings for him. "
He has nothing other than his chair, an old teddy bear and a single change of clothes the county worker said. It is sad what this poor kid has been through. The young women is caring on as if Michael wasnít right there hearing every word we were saying.
" Well that will be changing right away. " Mama tells the social worker. " We are taking him shopping as soon as we get him settled. A growing boy needs lots of clothes and toys to keep him entertained. Right girls? Ď
" Yes Mama. "
Michael didnít say much on the ride to the mall, just sat in the back of the station wagon with Stephanie, while I rode in front with Mama. I wanted to ask Mama more questions about Michael, but how could I when he was right there with us?
" You girls need new school clothes too, and supplies. " Mama said, go pick out what you need and then tell me what they are, and I will give my approval, you can also pick out two new toys a piece. "
" Thank you Mama. " I said, not bothering to remind her I was to old for toys, truthfully I still liked dolls. I didnít care how abnormal it was for a thirteen year old girl.
When we got home later that evening Mama started dinner right away. She was making homemade Mac and Cheese and a Green Salad, and Corn on the Cob, one of my favorite meals. I was at the kitchen table even before Mama called us.
Michael hardly ate just picked at his food. I could see now why he was so thin, but Mama would change that I was sure of that.
" Michael in this family we all eat together, we pray together, and your bedtime will be the same as the girls. I know it will take a few days for you to get use to it and I understand, but after that their will be no excuses unless you are sick. "
" Yes Maíam " Was all Michael could say.
It didnít take long for Michael to get use to our routine though, or for us to get use to Michael. He may not have been able to walk, but he certainly wasnít helpless, he was actually very helpful, and I was glad to have him as part of our family.
It didnít take long for Mama to fall in love with Michael either, because soon she was asking us what we would think if she adopted Michael and made him our brother. Stephanie and I both loved the idea, we knew it wouldnít be easy, but it was something we wanted, and something Michael needed.
The adoption was finalized weeks before my fifteenth birthday, but he had become part of our family well before that.
Copyright Michelle R Kidwell
Story Four In A Quilt Of Words