The school play, bit of a drag. Nativity, end-of-school show,concert, or straightforward school play.
They're always about 30% too long, and your child never gets a big enough part, never mind the issues they throw up for foster parents.
If you're a child in care you want your real parents there in the audience so that the universe is in alignment. Unfortunately their real parents probably never attended the plays or weren't very supportive if they did.
So they're stuck with two adult strangers who have to make sure that nobody is allowed to take photographs.
The majority of children - well, okay, about 52% - have a nice twinset of parents waving and winking and the 48% look out across the darkened hall and see broken marriages, absent parents or substitute parents.
That's us foster carers; the substitute parents.
There's nothing for it but to go along and keep smiling and clapping.
Often it's just yet another occasion for children in care to remember they aren't up to much.
We had one foster child, he was selected for the school choir. Brilliant. Then it turned out the teacher won a cup once for her school choir, about 1957 by the sounds of it. The teacher wanted those days back, so instead of the choir being a chance to sing your socks off and enjoy it was all about getting tuned up for competition. They were barked at, cajoled and coached for their lives. They entered three in the time my child was in the choir, and came last in each.
The child had an episode on getting home after the first of the competitions and it was triggered by the expectation, the stress, then the humiliation and the re-awakening of the verdict on him: useless.
Child stopped singing, even in the shower.
As for the school play, foster children never get a good part. Oh, they get on stage sometimes as there's a PC requirement in Primary schools for nobody to get left out. But every play has its stars and its token spear carriers. The last school play I went to, the Head stood up afterwards and asked for a special round of applause for the six stars. My child, stood at the back, who had about three lines, was overlooked. Again.
Anyway, I found out the very next day that the child who was the star of the play was being bullied by other pupils in the playground. My foster child was indignant about this and led a delegation of fellow pupils to the Head teacher no less, to alert the staff to what was going on.
This act of caring for another child, one who my foster child could just as easily have resented like the rest of the class, gave me huge hope for the child's future.
I was more proud of the child for sticking up for a victim than if the child had joined the Royal Shakespeare or got to Broadway.