The first thing I’d like to say is- I feel I cut the last blog about my childhood off pretty suddenly. I didn’t mean to, it’s just the gaps in my memory.
After the second long-term care, I believe we went back to my mothers for a while. I have a lot of happy memories with my family (I doted on my sisters and my cousins especially) even if my cousins did practice wrestling moves on me! I remember family holidays to Newquay West Wales, Bradley Bear and day trips to Aberystwyth anyone?!
Life was really happy for the most part.
I was also watching my mother sleep her days away and developing a major fear of the cutlery drawer being opened at night. If the cutlery drawer was opened, it generally meant my mother was self harming. Sometimes I went downstairs and listened to her talk and cry. Others, I held my blanket over my head and tried to block out the sounds. I still have a fear of that sound at night.
Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that I found my mother to be a bad mother. I didn’t. I genuinely loved every moment I spent with her. Her cuddles were second to none, as were her senses of love and humour.
The self harm must have gotten too frequent or too severe though as my sisters and I ended up in a new foster home. I don’t actually know how this happened.
The new home, my last foster home, was a farm. The husband wasn’t about much as he was very active in his farm work. The wife was around all the time though. I don’t know if she was actually awful or if I thought this because I’d been so happy at home. She was definitely not the cleanest though, I hated eating her dinners. My sister once found an earwig in her swede (ewww). Luckily there were plenty of dogs and a goat that we could feed our unwanted Cheerios to!
It wasn’t bad being on the farm really, we had a lot of space to play and so many animals to play with. I got to collect eggs from the chickens regularly and was allowed to help shear a sheep. I am clearly still buzzing about that…
Our mother even visited us there once, we spent the day playing in the fields with the Labrador’s. I found out a few years later that this was not a planned visit. She just rocked up. What a rebel!
We also saw our Dad and his girlfriend frequently for the first few months or so. She was younger than him so four step daughters were not something she took to easily. I believe she tried her best none the less. She had a good go at taming my unruly curls, taught us some Welsh and painted with us.
Things must have been too difficult for her as not long after she moved out and left my Dad with nothing. She even took all of the cutlery and crockery. He must have struggled with this a lot as our visits began to dwindle, then one day we waited for what felt like hours and he just never showed. He didn’t show up again until a few years later.
I felt completely rejected and abandoned for a very long time afterwards. In recent years, my Dad and I have spoken at length about this and he regrets his choice everyday so I will never lord it over him. I think he was extremely brave to come back to us and am grateful for his place in my life.
While he was gone I was asked a lot of questions by peers about why my Dad was not around. I used to tell people that my Dad was Will Smith and couldn’t see me often due to filming in Hollywood. I don’t know whats worse, the fact I said that or the fact that a few kids believed me for quite a long time. Cringe!
During all this time in care, my Mother had been fighting tooth and nail for us to come home to her permanently. I don’t remember how the battle was won or even when really. But, I will never forget the day that we were sat down in my Mothers living room and told that we didn’t have to go back to the farm. It was like a dream. Still is…
Life was about to change dramatically for us. We were no longer fostered children and would never be again.