Today I want to tell you about my Aunt Mary Lou and a mother’s love.

By Ann McAlpin, Executive Director | CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County

Ann McAlpinI wrote this letter before this pandemic, but I wanted to share it with you on this day dedicated to celebrating mothers. Because every child deserves to be loved the way my Aunt Mary Lou loved her daughter, Martha.


I grew up playing with my crazy cousin Martha.

Last spring, Martha’s mom—my aunt—learned that Martha was in the hospital in Florida.

Aunt Mary Lou was 83, had always been a bit on the ditzy side, didn’t own a credit card, hadn’t driven in years, and regularly got lost in Walgreens. My sister, who lives in Florida, offered to pick up Aunt Mary Lou at the airport in the next day or two if her son could help her get a flight. A couple of hours later my sister got a call from another relative.

Aunt Mary Lou was on her way to Florida!

She had rummaged through her stacks of discarded mail, found a pre-approved card offer, and gotten it activated.

She called Delta, the only airline she knew, and bought herself a one-way ticket to Florida.

She talked her son into giving her a ride to the airport, and did not mention that she had no one to pick her up at the other end, a full three rural hours away from Martha.

She got to the airport with no real ID—hey, she didn’t know—and talked her way onto the plane with her shiny new credit card and a pill bottle with her name on it.

It was like she was a mother-missile with an internal guidance system primed and pointed at Martha. Her daughter needed her, and she was going to get there. She—was—going—to—get—there!

And she did.

The next morning, in spite of the doctor’s predictions, Martha died with her mom by her side.

Shouldn’t every kid have a mom or dad who loves them like that? A mom or dad who shows their love unabashedly, in the day-to-day things like food and laundry and school pickups, and in things that take parents far out of their comfort zone, like my Aunt Mary Lou going to be with Martha.

Every child deserves to be safe and lovedAt CASA, this is our hope, our work, and our resolve for every child who’s had the undeserved misfortune to be abused or neglected by someone who should love them the most, like my Aunt Mary Lou loved her Martha.

Help a child now.

Happy Mother’s Day to you who ARE this mother, this grandmother, this “bonus mom.” No one will ever be more important to the child than you.

And thank you, Advocates and Donors, for all you do to make sure that every child has a mother like Aunt Mary Lou. You are helping find people who will love our kids, to serve as ‘angels’ by their side.

You are making the world better.

Give a child a chance. Donate here.