I can hardly begin to compose myself to write this blog tonight. Today was – simply – one of the TOP 5 BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE. Yup, weddings, babies, then today. That’s how my list would go.
#499 on the invisible, unwritten Bucket List of my heart – completed.
Eleven beautiful, stunning, ROCKSTAR Mamas walked into my life today, and changed me forever. They were in Sedona to be part of Camp Soaring Eagle’s Winter Oncology Retreat, designed specifically for families of children who have cancer.
For three days, dozens of businesses, and an amazing team at Camp Soaring Eagle made it possible for these families, whose lives walk the line of life and death daily, to simply be – family – enjoying one fun-filled weekend of magic, and respite from the traumas of childhood cancer.
Allie Olson of Allie Ollie Boutique participated in giving each one of these women a complete head-to-toe makeover today. It was my pleasure to be there to meet these women, watch their remarkable transformations unfold, and hear their stories of “mini-miracles” and strength.
“I feel like I woke up this morning and went to a fantasy land, and I haven’t left yet!” said Mary, whose 14-year old daughter has been fighting leukemia bravely for the last year plus. I fought back tears when she began to unveil the rest of her story. Her daughter’s name is Hope – and how fitting – because for Mary, Hope is her hero. She just started losing her hair again, but she still gets straight A’s in school. Her Dad had a heart attack just before Christmas, so now both parents are now taking time off work to focus on the health of their little family. But Hope keeps…well, hope. One day her Dad said to her, “Hope, God has a plan for your life!” And Hope replied enthusiastically, “Well, it must be a good one!”
Another ROCKSTAR Mama (whose privacy I suddenly feel a Mama-bear instinct to protect so I’ll just call her Susie) was the face of the day for me. Her story almost seems too shocking to share, too unbelievable to be real and true, and sitting in an arm chair at a boutique across from me. I asked Susie if her husband was here at Camp with her and she replied, “No, my, uh, ex-husband shot me with a shotgun, and now he’s in prison.” Now, her seven-year old son has leukemia, and she must face it alone as a single mother to two young boys.
I’ve handled a lot of pain in my short life, but it doesn’t begin to skim the surface of the daily tragedies these ROCKSTAR MAMAS face. Tragedies of having to explain what cancer is to a two year old, or having to bolster your fourteen-year old daughter’s confidence in the midst of losing her hair again, or helping your seven-year-old son understand why his friends don’t come around to play anymore.
I came home from my experience of fussing happily over these ROCKSTAR Mamas, who earn that title for nothing less then simply showing up for every day of their lives, and I looked at my daughter, whose faced so many of her own personal tragedies losing places and people, with new eyes. A simple evening turned profoundly blissful in it. Tickle fests, handstand races, cuddles and giggles with Mommy and Daddy were a mini-miracle for us, because for all the mourning, a perfect evening is a miraculous reprieve. For us, a joyous night that comes not on the heels of any recent tragedy, is a memory worth treasuring.
I’m humbled, though, at imagining the mini-miracles these eleven Moms find each day – theirs could be as simple as “My child didn’t vomit today,” or “My child laughed today,” or, “My child didn’t die today.” It makes my mini-miracle moments more grand in light of theirs, and it made spending a day with these ROCKSTAR MAMAS well…BLISS.
It made today…one of my personal TOP FIVE. Yes, absolutely, one of my TOP FIVE.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this incredible story on how we can KICK CANCER’S ASS!
I named these Mamas from today ROCKSTAR Mamas for another ROCKSTAR Mama who moves me. Her son Ronan recently died from Neuroblastoma Cancer at the age of 3. Her blog has received 2.9 million hits for voicing the raw bravery she was must muster every day just to go on without her little boy. She named her website ROCKSTAR Ronan. I name her a ROCKSTAR Mama, among the lovelies I met today.
Of course, I couldn’t write this without giving you an opportunity to feel what I felt today – if you feel so moved to participate in what Camp Soaring Eagle does in any small way, they host these retreats twice a year and many more camper weekends throughout the year. They are a non-profit organization focused on supporting the whole family, giving them one memorable weekend, or even just a day, away from hospital bills and medical treatments. In many cases, the memories they grant these families are some of the last they have together before a child passes away. It’s nothing short of miraculous what they are doing, and words can hardly begin to convey how deeply I feel that. Here’s their website.