“Mothers… We make it all happen, don’t we?”

This is what the young, pregnant Momma pumping my gas said to me this morning. (Don’t judge! It’s a law in Oregon. It’s actually illegal to pump your own gas. For real.)

I shook my head and answered, “Yep, we sure do.”

And then we went on to discuss the mental load that women carry that only grows exponentially when the little ones start to arrive:

“Did I fill out that permission slip?”

“Have I made the well-child appointment with the doctor yet?”

“What are we all going to eat for dinner tonight?”

“I’ve got to check in to see if that issue got resolved at school.”

And the list goes on and on…

We Mommas are what makes this whole world go round. And I’m not sure about you, but my whole world has been rocked this past week.

I haven’t been able to listen to any testimony, or read the news, or even pass the time scrolling through Facebook because it is JUST. TOO. MUCH. Hell, I can’t even watch the late night show hosts make fun of all that’s been happening, because — it’s not funny.

Our world is hurting right now. There is a sickness, a cancer that’s been growing in the hidden, dark places of our collective body. And unless we look at it under bright light we can’t even make a plan for how we’ll cut it out and move toward recovery.

After having gone through cancer twice in my family — the first time, six months after getting married when my husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and then a decade later when my oldest was seven and diagnosed with leukemia — I feel like I can speak to this metaphor from a place of experience.

There’s a period of time when you know that something’s wrong, terribly wrong, but you don’t want to believe it. Maybe it’s not that big of a deal. Maybe I’m just overthinking this. I need to stay away from learning more and just bury my head in the sand and not discuss it with anyone. Because, let’s face it, I don’t want it to be true.

But then it becomes more obvious, less able to be ignored. It interrupts your day-to-day, and becomes the only thing you can think about — this sickness. So, you go in. You allow others to poke and prod, to test and evaluate, to rule out all the other things it might be.

And you wait.

The waiting is the hardest part. What will be found? What will we have to do? How much will it hurt? Are we strong enough to make it through? Will we survive?

Then the treatment… It’s harsh, it’s painful, it can be humiliating, it makes you feel weak and vulnerable.

It is necessary.

You’re forced to look inside and confront all of the things that you wish could remain hidden. You’re forced to look to others for support and help. You’re forced to take better care of yourself. You’re forced to make the hard decisions, the ones that you don’t want to make, the ones that might cause even more pain.

But you do it anyway.

Because the only way to get to the other side, is to go through this pain, this heartache, this emotional turmoil that will allow you to find a new place of calm, of balance. To finally exhale fully for the first time, in a very, very long time.

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Last night I held my thirteen-year-old daughter while she cried — sobbed, really — for about forty-five minutes. It was hormonal, no doubt. She misses her big sister. She’s sad about people who have died too young. She feels sorry for those she’s wronged.

But she can also feel this cancerous sickness all around her — even though she knows little of the past week’s events other than what she’s seen or heard in the headlines. She’s an empathic person who’s carrying the pain of so many in our hurting world right.

So what do we Mommas do now — for our daughters AND our sons? We do what we’ve always done.

We hold our babies. We love them into existence and we create warm and safe places for them to land. We teach them how to respect themselves and others. We tell them it’s okay to find their voices and then how to use them. We show them how to live — not from a place of fear and scarcity, but from a place of trust and abundance. We encourage them to be lights in this dark world, to expose the sickness that affects us all.

“Mothers… We make it all happen, don’t we?”

Yes. Yes, I believe we do.

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