Fiona arrived yesterday mid afternoon. It was great timing as I had just gotten home from work about 10 minutes earlier. We had a lovely afternoon and evening together. Nothing too high powered or dramatic; I was trying to keep things low key for this, her first overnight home in more years than I can say. Actually I could say, but that part hurts too much so we will leave it at "a long time."
She liked watching movies with the kids, seeing our Christmas decorations, and just hanging out. She always notices how many pictures there are of her in our home. Fi is very present in our thoughts even when she is not physically with us and I think the family galleries (yup, plural!) show that.
Lissa went up to bed and she got to play for a while with KC and Rob. Then it was KC's turn to say goodnight and it was just she and Rob. They wound up watching a show on Disney that she enjoys. I know Rob would not choose it but he was great about it and I loved working in the other room and hearing the two of them laughing.
Long ago I was expressing my fears about keeping Rob safe and away from further trauma. Fi was raging a lot in our home and it was very scary to both Rob and to Chet. The social worker I spoke with blithely told me that the kids just had to "write new stories" of their relationship together. The problem was, if Fiona stayed in our home it wasn't a new story. It was the same old story of bullying raging and abuse. Over and over. There seemed to be no alternative but the residential placement. To this day I don't know if there WAS another option had I been more informed or had I had more support. There are regrets of how everything played out that I will live with every day of my life.
But what I don't regret is that in the end, I think those stories are being written. Long years later, but written none the less. Rob has had the years to come into himself, to mature and to feel both safe and physically strong. He and Fi still have the bond of biological family but the dynamic of their relationship has shifted and Rob is more the protector and his easy going demeanor helps keep her on a more even keel. Chet has had a harder time with a "new story." His autism means that he tends to fixate on things and this is true of Fiona's rage in the past. He was very fearful that she was going to "tear up the house, " on this visit even though she has been home many times and there have been no problems. I am hopeful that this visit will help him to supplant some of the negative images he takes so to heart.
KC and Lissa know nothing of those early days and so they bring to the story of our lives a fresh and unfettered perspective. They see only a beautiful, artistic big sister who loves to play with them and who they admire and cherish.
It is our story. All of it. And I am so lucky to be part of it.