The Nurse came yesterday to give one of our foster children their annual medical. The local authority sends her.
A lovely woman, we clicked. She did the usual; ten minutes alone with the child to chat about if she was happy, what her eating habits are, sleep patterns and so on.
Then she checked height and weight and the child was let go to play and the nurse and I sat down for a constructive natter about dentist visits and opticians.
She told me the child is coming on very well, and made me feel appreciated.
We gassed a bit about her family, and how her job works for her.
Then out of the blue she asked;
"What was it made you decide to do fostering?"
And for a full minute I trod water trying to remember how the idea came to us.
"Well," I waffled "I suppose we both like children and young people..." (True)
"And they seem to like us..." (As far as one can tell)
"Er...and we both have worked with young people in different ways.." (Volunteers at the local youth club, running a junior football team).
The nurse just listened and kept nodding.
"Gulp..I suppose it's something we thought we might stand a chance of being good at...and..."
I didn't want to say the last reason out loud, it would be bound to sound pious.
But it's true, so what the heck. I said:
"We both want the world to be a slightly better place when we leave it than when we found it, if only for our children and their children and everybody's children."
The nurse seized the point and replied;
"Yes! Even by an amount so small you can't imagine it, but it's worth a try."
When she left it occurred to me that she had the same motives for being a nurse.
Then something else occurred to me.
She was thinking about becoming a foster mum.
She'd wanted to know how it fitted with my own children and told me she had children of her own. She wanted to know what were the highs and lows of fostering. She told me she saw something of herself in me, and that we shared a number of views and sympathies.
Dammit, I missed a moment, I should have encouraged her.
After she'd gone I found she'd left her tape measure behind. Right in the middle of the kitchen table where we'd sat for an hour. It's bright orange, you couldn't miss it.
I remember a Blue Sky training session on child psychology, the lecturer quoted Freud and said "There are no such things as accidents", meaning we do things we don't mean because of unconscious forces.
I have to phone the nurse in the morning to get an address to post her the tape measure.
And in the course of the phone call I'll give her Blue Sky's number.
See you at the Blue Sky Christmas Dinner nursey!