Why? Because I agreed to help families. I agreed to support reunification. I agreed to love these children like my own and that doesn't stop when their address changes. And also because her Mom couldn't be there.
It was quite a beautiful moment for me. While I was sad that Maria couldn't make it, I was happy to be her stand in. I am still a Mom. Perhaps not THE Mom, but "A" Mom, at least at this event.
As I sat there watching, her worried face turn to relief when she realized she had people in the audience. i sat there thinking how lucky I got. Not only to have this awesome responsibility of being a support for this child and her family but also that the woman sitting beside was who I learned how to be "A" Mom from.
Of course I showed up. She always did. And still is. She didn't chose to become a foster grandma. I chose it for her. But that doesn't matter to her.
I say we are going to take Maria and the kids on vacation for the weekend- she says I'll make dinner for everyone.
I call panicked because I'm being sent for a psych intake with a suicidal 8 year old she comes and gets the other kids.
Meeting with the district attorney - she scoops the children up for school.
Headed on vacation for my Mother-in-law's birthday. She moves into my house for the week.
I called her less than 24 hours from the time we needed to be at the show, she didn't hesitate. I knew she wouldn't. I have the benefit of knowing that my Mom will ALWAYS show up. Jelly Bean has not.
But she does now. A Mom and a back-up Mom and a Grandma also.
I sat there with tears in my eyes hoping for at least another 10 years of school moments like this. And all the other moments in her life. Grateful that I was included. And relieved that I don't have to wonder about her. And then the singing began.
Lucky for Jelly Bean she was exposed to all kids of music in my home. And despite her being new to this school (as in a few weeks - she was moved to a special class) she knew all the songs. Even "Lean On Me" which we used to sing along to in the car all the time. We did a little twist on it. When the lyrics say, "for It won't be long" you sing (for) FIVE (it won't be long) TOO SHORT. Complete with hand motions. So as Jelly Bean was singing I did the hand motions and she giggled at me from across the room.
I posted a picture on Facebook. Maria commented thanking me for my support and asking God to bless me and my family.
Not bad for a back-up Mom.