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Challenge: Gratitude & Giving

To the women who step up when I need to fall back

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Does anyone else feel like they’ve been tossed into a blender and set on high speed lately? Or, maybe more accurately, like you're trying to put out all these little fires but they're those trick-candle kind of flames where, when you blow one out, another relights?

Our past few weeks have included a 13-hour road trip, a broken washing machine, a heart attack in the family, an inaccurate and hefty bill we get to spend time disputing, and a leaky roof. (I’ll spare you the “when it rains it pours” pun, but it’s there.)

Add to that the usual stress of everyday life...

I’m just waiting for my one-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club to arrive so I feel justified in screaming “Hallelujah! Holy s**t! Where’s the Tylenol?“

The toughest by far, though, has been watching our boy struggle with being sick and trying to figure out why — let me tell ya, I’d take all those little stresses a thousand times over to have him feeling good again. It’s nothing major and he’ll be okay — for that I'm grateful — but, my God, is there really anything else in this world that puts life on hold or has you on your knees like worrying about your baby?

Well, maybe the waiting...

The only anxiety worse than knowing something’s wrong with your child is the waiting to find out what’s wrong.

Trying to figure all this out, watching him not act like himself, watching him struggle, having to take off work — it's mentally and emotionally consuming. And this isn't even really anything all that serious in the grand scheme of things. This little mini-storm has us so out of sorts, I can’t help thinking of the parents dealing with big storms — a chronic or more serious illness — and I just have such appreciation for how difficult it must be to keep the balls of life in the air when your baby is struggling; for how consuming it must be. It's a humbling reminder that if your child is in good health, then — all in all — life is pretty good.

And I'll tell you what else I'm reminded of every time I go through a rough patch like this — that I'm so blessed to have a solid group of women in my life that swoops in seamlessly when stuff hits the fan. The kind of coworkers who, when you get that call, just say "GO — we've got this"; who keep reminding you when you feel guilty for being away that family comes first. The kind of mom who wakes up extra early and drives out of her way to help out so you can catch up. The kind of doctor who walks you through your anxiety and thousand questions beyond office hours (and way beyond what her patience should tolerate).

It’s these women who, when working together — without even knowing it — create this little safety net under you when you fall off track. They step in and keep the balls in the air so that you can give all you have to your little one (or big one). Yes, they do it to be supportive, but they also do it because there’s this unspoken thread running through and connecting moms — the knowing that there's no kind of stress like worried-about-your-baby stress.

That's what I love most about us as women — the way we pay it forward, backward and sideways because we’ve all been there and know how supported you feel when another mom looks at you and says exactly what you need to hear, whether it’s “He’ll be okay” or simply just “Go — we’ve got this.”

I don't know if it takes a village to raise a child anymore, but it certainly takes the support of a solid group of women — not just to raise the child, but to raise the momma up too when she needs it.

And, for mine, I'm feeling especially grateful.


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