Cricket had a minor surgery last week. She's my first kid that I've experienced surgery with. Heck, I've never even had surgery myself! Having wisdom teeth out doesn't count, right? My only overnight hospital stay was after Dinosaur was born.
Her mom had talked for months about being there for the surgery. She signed the papers, had the info, but wasn't there.
There was something intimate about being there with her for the surgery. Meeting the tons of people coming through her room. Saying goodbye before I went to wait in the family waiting room. Meeting her again in recovery, watching her sleepy eyes open to me, close again, then open a couple hours later. B stayed with her overnight, then I came back to bring her home the next morning. I made up a chart for her medications. I have tended to her slow (but normal) recovery.
Sometimes fulfilling the parental role seems natural, like I'm just doing my parenting thing and she happens to be a foster kid. Sometimes for me it has this other factor, like it brings us together in a unique relationship different from any I've had with another child, through a new and different experience. This other factor sends my heart running full-force to love and nurture and comfort and feel needed by doing so. At the same time, I feel an alarm going off. This isn't supposed to be me here. It's supposed to be her mom. It almost feels like I'm stealing my nurturing role, even though I'm not.
It's how I felt leaving the hospital with Pterodactyl in my arms.
It's how I felt rocking Beetle in his room in the NICU.
Maybe it's hospitals, those places that the closest to you are supposed to be by your side in your vulnerable state. They're a place I see at once how much I'm needed as a foster parent, and at the same time how much I wish I didn't have to be, that their families by birth could be providing this comfort, presence, and care.