“I kind of feel like every day is Mother’s Day,” Lesli Beery said.
Beery said this with complete honesty, but she admits that some days in her household with four children younger than the age of 7 are easier than others.
The days when she experiences a particularly trying day teaching 4-year-olds at Marion County Head Start and is then greeted at her home with the primal screaming needs of a 1-year-old, 2-year-old, 3-year-old, and 6-year-old are difficult.
She cannot afford the luxury of lounging on her couch and unwinding after a tough day in the classroom. Beery has a window of about 90 minutes where she has to keep her four children occupied and happy before her husband Joe gets home from his job as a technician at Midway Motors in McPherson. She also has to prepare dinner.
“(Those three hours) between when I get home and supper time, can get a little hairy,” Beery said.
However, all of the headaches disappear for Beery with the everyday loving moments given by her children.
“My 3-year-old just comes up to me and says, ‘I love you mom,’” Beery said. “Now, I would rather not have my 3-year-old call me mom. I think he should still be saying mommy.”
Without even the prompting of an event like Mother’s Day, Christopher, 6, suggested buying his mother some flowers while the family was shopping.
“For no reason,” Beery explained. “That’s better.”
The two youngest children in the Beery home are foster children; the Beerys have been foster parents for eight years. They take in infants and toddlers for a short period — the longest was a year. The assignments can be emergency placements where a child was taken from a dangerous situation.
“They’re staying with us because their mom and dad can’t take care of them right now,” Beery said of the way Christopher explains the situation.
The Beerys have continued as foster parents even after their own children, Christopher and Harrison, 3, were born. Before Christopher was born, the Beerys would have as many as four foster children at a time.
“You see all their different personalities,” Beery said. “You watch them grow and change. If you don’t feel a little sadness (letting them go) then the attention wasn’t there.”
Beery still keeps up with some of her former foster children. The relative who adopted the first children the Beerys cared for has kept up with Beery family.
“We get Christmas cards, pictures, and letters,” Beery said.
While Beery does not always have the time to cross-stitch or draw a bubble bath, she does not feel she is sacrificing anything for her children.
“I’m very blessed with a supportive husband,” Beery said. “I’ve always been a working mom; I’ve always enjoyed my job at Head Start.”