And it's nothing that I did either.
So it’s no secret that Mother’s Day is coming up.
It’s traditional for Moms everywhere to post baby pictures or share their breakfast in bed stories. Maybe they share a memory about staying up all night with newborn twins or they remark about how time has flown.
And we all know the mantra – enjoy every moment.
But all Moms are not good Moms.
My Mom (who’s a good one) works as a child advocate for an organization called Court Appointed Special Advocates or CASA. This organization acts as a voice for children who have no voice.
From their website: “Thousands of children are abused or neglected every day in the United States. They are the victims of people who are unable or refuse to accept the responsibilities of raising a child. And through no fault of their own, these children are cast into a complex, chaotic and uncertain environment of courtrooms and foster care. They are alone and often times they are scared.
Williamson County CASA helps children in this situation every day. Speaking on their behalf in courtrooms, identifying safe homes for them to live in and listening to their stories. That means managing and documenting all aspects of the case, making recommendations to the court on permanent living arrangements, communicating consistently with the child to ensure his or her best interests are being met for the short and long-term, and remaining actively engaged until the court discharges the case.”
You see that second sentence? “They are the victims of people who are unable or refuse to accept the responsibilities of raising a child.” In other words – Dads.
Moms who will be in jail on Mother’s Day. Moms strung out on drugs and going through withdrawal in rehab. Moms who don’t feed their kids. Moms who leave their babies in car seats for hours upon hours. Moms who neglect, abuse and forever alter the path that their children are on.
When I say my Mom is in jail this Mother's Day it's because she is - she's visiting the Moms of the children she represents.
Isn’t that so strange to understand?
As a child advocate for CASA, my Mom is responsible for assessing the situation a child is in and making recommendations that are in the best interests of the child.
I consider my Mom to be an expert in childhood education and development. She has two undergrad degrees. One in early childhood education and one in sociology and holds a Master's in Education Administration and Supervision. She was an elementary school teacher. Then a reading specialist. Then a vice principal. Then a principal. She raised three children while doing all of this and adores her many grandchildren. CASA is lucky to have her.
But this type of job is more than just an assessment. It involves real babies. Real little boys and girls. Real teenagers. Who have suffered real damage. And they are looking to her to nurture, support, and positively guide them through and out of their horrible situations.
In other words – be their Mom.
She’s their Mom.
You don’t have to birth a child to be his or her Mom. You can love a child deeply and wholly no matter what your situation is. My sister’s son is adopted. I’m a stepmom.
My Mom is a child advocate/mom. The children she rescues are born of the women who neglect and abuse them.
I don’t know how she does it. She’s not allowed to speak of the details of any case – but I don’t need to know any specifics – I just have to turn on the TV and watch what’s on the news.
She looks into the eyes of the devastated children that she works with and says, “Don’t worry. I’m here for you and I’m going to help you. I’m going to make it okay.” And you can’t just say that. You have to mean it. She provides a glimmer to these downtrodden souls that maybe, just maybe, for the first time in their lives that there is HOPE. And you’d better believe when that lady sets her mind to something that she definitely gets it.
You don’t save children by being a chicken, people.
That’s MY Mom, y’all.
That’s Mother Cusser’s Mother.
Mom, glad you’re a Mom to so many lost children who need you. You’ve set an example for me and others that I hope we can learn from and aspire to. I get my empathy from you. I get my bravery from you. I get my conviction from you. I would not be anywhere I am -without you. I love you.
Happy Mother’s Day.
PS - Do I still have to get you a card?
PPS - For more information on the CASA - go here