Looking at the pictures from the past two days, it doesn’t look like I’ve made much progress with the puzzle. I hope that I can finish, or at least come close to finishing it today or tonight. As you may be able to tell, I concentrated on the colors that showed the greatest contrast first, and now I’m left with the ones that pretty much just blend together. There are fewer pieces, but they are harder to fit together. I’ve moved from looking for patters, and now I’m looking for shapes. This is more grunt work. I’m not holding out much hope for a finish today, but who knows.
I started this series of posts explaining that I wrote the short autobiography because we had taken Nickie (yes, I spelled her name wrong in the first post) in as a foster child. So far, though, I haven’t told you anything about her. I’ll start by saying that she was, and maybe still is, a puzzle.
When I first met Nickie and her CASA to talk about her coming to live with us, I wanted to know about her and what her life goals were. She told us that she loved sports, wanted to finish high school, and wanted to go to college. Children, in the court system like Nickie, could have their tuition covered by the state, so I thought that it was a wise decision. I have forgotten what she said she wanted to do after college. I thought she seemed a bit immature, but then, she was 14 or 15.
She was telling us about herself when she mentioned that she didn’t like people who didn’t tell the truth. Then she said, “I am so honest.” Hmmm.
Well, Nickie became our foster child, and it went smoothly for a while. Cindy was working and then taking classes at night at Purdue, working on her Master’s degree in mental health counseling. That meant that I was spending more time with the girls than Cindy was. That was OK.
Then things began to change. Trina’s attitude toward Nickie became somewhat strained when she realized that we were trying to treat the girls equally. If Cindy and I left town for a meeting we would invariably get a phone call from the girls, or Grandma Betty who watched them, because they were either arguing or getting into trouble.
Another change was that Nickie decided that her sexual orientation had changed. She didn’t understand why we didn’t then allow her to invite girls over for a sleepover. So, she then asked if she could invite boys for a sleepover. We denied that as well. Despite the fact that she now liked girls, she went out of her way to flirt with Trina’s boyfriend.
Nickie started skipping school. We found out that she was doing so when the school called me to verify that I had written an excuse. I hadn’t.
In our discussions with Nickie, she kept repeating, “I am so honest.” After about the third iteration it dawned on me that when she said “I am so honest,” I was flashing on Richard Nixon saying that he was not a crook. I’m not sure why I believed her the first two times he said it.
When Nickie turned 16 she quit school. I called it her birthday present to herself. When I asked her why she threw away her college plans she told me that she had never wanted to college. She said she had just told us that so we would take her in. That did it for me.
After Nickie had been with us for a year, she moved out. I don’t remember where she went, perhaps back with her mother. She later joined the military, and I don’t know where she is today.
What did I learn? I can’t solve all puzzles. I think she was a puzzle as much to herself as to the rest of us.
Oh, and I’m pretty sure stole my favorite baseball cap when she left. It was navy blue, corduroy, and had Grand Canyon stitched in it. So is you see it…you know…