“If I could wish for anything, I think it would be a family,” the young girl said, sitting across from me; while she twisted her long locks between her fingers.
Another average foster child, another one wishing for love from another. In my line of work, I have counseled many children, all the same, wishing for a family to sweep them off their feet and make them feel like a prince or princess. Sadly for this girl, she was beyond the age of people wanting to adopt; adopting a spirted twelve year old is different than a newborn or someone under the age of five. This is the sixth visit we have had. “Lizzy, what would a family do for you?” asking an obvious question, but my job demands these stupid ones.
“I would feel that feeling that everyone speaks of…” she pondered a moment, “being protected, being loved unconditionally, feeling that amazing feeling you get when someone gives you a sincere hug. I want to experience the feeling of being seen as more than just a charitable cause.”
These kids…they would melt your heart if you could see the small tears forming at the eyes. “Anything new happening for you?” I wish I could pick my own questions.
“Nothing so far… there is a family that walks by our gate every morning. The mom is so beautiful, the kids are smiling and laughing, they are the typical perfect family. I’m older than the children by maybe two years; they always stare at me wondering why I stay day after day in the yard of this house…”
Her eyes just drifted into nothingness, seeing so much hope and sadness in a young person is heartbreaking…
“BEEP, BEEP, BEEP…” my blaring alarm stopping my train of thought.
“Well that’s it for the day, did us talking help you at all?” Another stupid question because it only does so much.
“Yes it did Miss Ann. You always help me relax and settle before our next session. You keep me calm through the week.” She said with a smile, but a broken smile.
I’m not allowed to, it’s against the rules as a counselor but, “Lizzy, would it give you more strength if… would you like a hug?”
“No thank you, Miss Ann, I want my first real hug to be from someone who truly loves me.”
‘That could be me,’ I thought to myself, not daring to utter the words. “Alrighty, Lizzy,” I said as I gathered my belongings and hid my rejected feelings away. “I’ll see you next week.” I left the almost teen in the doorway as I always did, but I left with an indescribable feeling.
Again sitting across the child, with a new feelings towards her. This past week had been crazy and strenuous, but finally Tuesday had come. “How…” before I could finish I was cut off…
“Miss Ann, guess what, guess what?! That family that walks by every day, the younger boy gave me this,” she produced from her cubby a laurel, but this one had small flowers woven between the leaves.
“Its beautiful Lizzy, it is a beautiful laurel.” I said hoping to move onto more pressing matters.
“A laurel that’s what it’s called. I was wondering and now I know!” She placed it on her head and sat with poise like she was a princess. “He said he would be here tomorrow to talk to me about something, I’m so excited! I’m going to be part of a family!”
My heart shrank, and I stuffed the folder I had produced back into my briefcase. “That sounds wonderful my…Lizzy. I’m so happy you will have your wish come true,” saying this as best as I could, hiding my true feelings.
“Yes, Miss Ann, you are a genie to all kids, you use your power to grant everyone’s wishes. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!” she ran towards me and gave me a hug…a hug…
“Wait Lizzy, you are wasting your first hug…” I let go of her, even though I wanted to keep that hug forever.
“No, I decided my genie deserved the first hug.” She gave me the sweetest smile and scurried off.
Our scheduled meetings were not mandatory, if she didn’t need to talk she didn’t have to stay.
She popped her back in the room, “I will be your genie; I give you one wish. You can cash in the wish whenever and it will come true even if I am no longer here. Goodbye Miss Ann. Thank you for everything!” Her head disappeared into the house.
The woman of the house came in, “Did you tell her? She seemed quite excited…Miss?”
“I’m sorry, no, I never got the chance. She has a family stopping by tomorrow to see her so I didn’t want to ruin her wish.”
“Yes, the family did call, but I don’t think…”
I cut her off before she could say what I know she would say, “All is fine. I just wanted to change her life, and she would have changed mine as well. I will be transferring out of this house as the counselor, I’ll make sure someone good takes my place. Thank you for helping me this last week with the paper work. No matter what happens please don’t contact me about the result of tomorrow. I wish her all the best” I gave the woman the folder I would no longer need, and I walk towards the door I will never enter again.
“I heard she gave you a wish, was she…” She asked the question, she already knew the answer…
“Yeah, she was my wish and I had hoped I was hers.” I walked away from this life, and into hopefully a less heartbreaking one.
…To Be Continued…