too young to understand

June 30, 2008
By Sadie Pipes, Janesville, CA

When I was about two years old, I was put into a foster home. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time, but would soon find out my mom was in jail. My first home began in Chester California. A town so small you won’t find it on the map. My foster parents names were Cindy and Tim. I don’t remember their kids’ names. They were a good family, a Christian family. We went to church every Sunday and awanas every Thursday, no nonsense. The only reason for not going to Church would be if someone was sick. And there was a rule for the reward of Awanas. You had to eat all of your dinner, or else you could not go. Now that may not seem like a big deal, but in that household it was. If you did not follow the rules you were sent to your room for punishment, no questions asked. They were an incredibly strict family.

I can remember countless times when I would let words slip, and in doing so, got into major trouble. You wouldn’t know it now, but I used to have a mouth that just ran and ran. And I learned a lot of discouraging words from my brother and from the other kids in the family. When I would say a cuss word (and it happened often) Cindy would se me on the bathroom counter, and I would have to put soap in my mouth for at least a minute. But, If I was REALLY BAD, sometimes I would have a half bar of soap in my mouth for one to two minutes. Let me tell you, if you have never had soap in your mouth, it burns like nothing else. I would cry and scream It hurt my mouth so much. I quickly learned my lesson after the first ten times of repeating the words from others around me.

Living with Cindy and Tim taught me some of the basics that every child should learn. I learned how to tie my shoes(with great frustration I might add) and how to make my bed. Apart from the basics, I learned something that maybe wasn’t so basic to me. This lesson really is about paying attention and learning I suppose. I call this one the Cup-Of Milk experience. We were all having dinner together one night, and each kid had a cup. Cindy had told us before she gave us our cups of milk, that out names were written on the bottom. So, everybody’s eating and enjoying the food, everything was normal. Which it was, until I decided to see if Cindy was really telling the truth. I put my fork down picked up my cup of milk and looked at the bottom of the cup. I kept looking but I didn’t quite see it. Instead of picking the cup straight up I decided to tilt it just a little bit. Well it turned out I tilted it a little bit too far, you can guess what happened next. The milk spilled everywhere. And I ended up getting yelled at by everyone and sent to my room.

What I learned from making that stupid childish mistake was and still is clear. I’m not going to worry about weather or not my name is actually on the bottom of my cup. I’d rather just drink whatever’s in the cup while saving myself from causing too much trouble.

Memories continue to flood my mind as I write about my time as a young child. I have memories of baking cookies and using cookie cutters to make holiday designs. I remember when I went to Pre-school. I took naps and listened to my teacher Mrs. Hartigan (who I will see again later on) read stories to us. I don’t remember the naps and stories as much as I remember playing house. There was this corner where there were babies and cribs to put them into. Mrs. Hartigan would tell me to come over with the rest of the kids to play games. But, I never wanted to leave the babies.

I always enjoyed the games we played. They were simple yet fun ones like criss cross apple sauce, we did that one a lot. I don’t recall any other games that really grabbed my attention and kept me entertained for very long. As soon as we were done I raced back to the dolls/baby section to check on all of them. After games were over, it was time for the nap. I don’t think I ever fell asleep. I would just lay there. Sometimes I would pretend I was sleeping. I was excellent at acting like I was doing something when I really wasn’t.

Since I was so young, I never understood what had happened to my mom, or why my brother and I were not living with her. And although it’s a vague memory, I still remember bits and pieces of the time I saw my mother in jail. We were in this room supervised by guards, and there was this table for all of us to sit at. My mom was wearing an extremely disturbing orange suit. She was in handcuffs. It had frightened me to see her in this way. I don’t remember all that was said, but I know I did a lot of crying whenever I saw her. Mainly because I didn’t comprehend what was happening, nothing made sense to me. The world kept spinning even if I stopped. It would not wait for me to get back up on my feet. I couldn’t make it stop even if I wanted to. We said our goodbyes to one another as we parted ways. I had so many questions that demanded answers in which, I just didn’t have. Will I see my mom again? What’s going to happen to her? What did she do that was so horrible? Do these people realize how much I need a mom? Do they even care? Weather I was ready for it or not, Life as I knew it, continued on.

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