Peace crystals and tough love: A foster care moment 

“Look I found a real live crystal!” His voice bubbling over with the elated joy one usually can only truly experience in childhood. He lifts the stone to the sky and the late afternoon sun fills the stone, exuding a warm pink glow. 

I am sitting on the back porch thumbing through paperwork and setting appointments in my calendar. Becoming a foster parent forced me to change my scattered artist ways and become at least a bit more organized and parent-like. 

He brings the crystal to me. I am surprised he found it. A small piece of rose quartz I had bought years ago from the Native American craft store, Spirit Wind. I am still unsure how the quartz wound up in the backyard. 

“And here’s another one!” He bounds up onto the back porch holding yet another piece of rose quartz laced with bits of topsoil trapped in the cracks and crevices. 
“You keep one and I’ll keep one,” he states decisively as he hands me the dirtier quartz. A late spring breeze blows and expands his oversized t-shirt he insisted on wearing today, and yesterday. 

I smile, as I carefully take the quartz from his hand. “Thank you so much. I will keep it in my room and whenever I see it, I will think of you.” 

“Yes! We both have our special crystals!” He exclaims reaching his stone for the sky in a Power Ranger pose. 

“Let me tell you something else about these crystals bud,” I say bending down at his eye level. “These are really special crystals they are called rose quartz and they are known as the crystals of peace and love.” I rub some of the soil off of the stone and turn in in ways to catch the light. 

“Yes! This is the greatest!” He squeals as he sprints into the house and starts washing the rock with dish soap. He wraps it in paper towels with the gentlest precision, as if he is wrapping an egg. 

I smile as I watch him bring the stone to his room. But as I turn to walk back outside, I hear him say in the softest voice, as if whispering it to the quartz, “Now that I have this, nothing bad will ever happen.” 

My stomach sinks and my soul shrivels. I step away to breathe and gather my words. If only there were a rock like that, I think. 

“Hey buddy,” I knock on his door and I see he’s holding and inspecting the rock under his bedside lamp. “I have to tell you something about this crystal,” I gently take the stone and hold it up eye level. 
“I already know it’s a special..” 

I interject, “No, it’s not a magic rock. It’s just a rock. Bad things will still happen sometimes. Life is full of good things and bad things too. Most of the time we can’t stop them from happening.” 

His smile fades and his chest deflates as his shoulders sink into a slump. He runs his fingers over the crevices and bumps of the pink crystal, the magic, gone. 

“But this rock. Well it is special though,” I say rising my voice on the hopes of age appropriate honesty. “See this rock, well it is a rock of peace and love. Every time you see it, it reminds you that you can make choices out of peace and love, no matter what happens, even when bad things happen.” 

Still slightly slumped, he sighs and says nothing, he is holding the quartz near his heart. “But still…put yours in your room,” he says gently as I close his door. 

I place mine on my windowsill, just like I said I would. The milky pink glow emanates from the stone as the setting sun sheds its last bit of light for the day. I think of him and journey we are on now together, a journey full of good and bad things. I keep looking at that crystal as the sun goes down. 

Who knows, maybe it will end up being a little more magical than I gave it credit for. 

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