I normally focus my posts on saving money, but being frugal is about more than just money.  It’s about focusing one’s appreciation on the things in life that really matter; things that can’t be bought; things that are priceless and precious like our children and their health.

Today, I had the enormous privilege of going to my friend Julie’s son Ryan’s Kiss Cancer Goodbye party.  Not only was it special because I got to witness all these people come together in love and celebration that this 6-year-old boy overcame cancer, Leukemia if we want to get specific, but it was special because I remember vividly the day Ryan was diagnosed. His mom Julie and I worked together and we were on a staff retreat when she got the call. The word devastation does not seem to go far enough for the moment you hear your child has cancer.

One thing that never entered Julie and her husband’s vocabulary was defeat. They amaze and inspire me.  What has caused some families to succumb to brokenness has instead in their family created healing for their son.

Ryan 5

One day after Julie heard the diagnosis, she was feeling torn and sad that she couldn’t spend more time with her infant daughter because of frequent trips to the hospital for her son’s treatment.  Here is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote for her called Triage On The Parenthood Battlefield. I wrote it for her and mothers everywhere who must watch their children hurt without being able to take the pain away, who feel helpless when their very nature is to help, to fix and mend, and kiss away the tears.

When one child is sick the choice may seem easy. You go to the child who is sick first. But life and motherhood are not so simple. Just because one child may need you a lot more, you still must tend to the other or others. My heart goes out to women who face impossible choices every day; who carry guilt that they can not untangle from their love and devotion. 

I guess all we can do is remind them, remind ourselves, to look up from our medical kits and our bandages and our checklists to see that there are other nurses and doctors in this triage tent of ours. Love can come from more places than we can possibly imagine and though the feeling of responsibility seems so overwhelmingly ours alone, it simply is not. Our children get love and guidance from our close and extended family, friends, friends of family, co-workers and neighbors. 

I think that because mothers are responsible for our children from the moment of conception a part of us never lets go of the ENORMITY of that responsibility but sometimes, just sometimes, it’s ok to allow ourselves to step back and let someone else take over. It’s ENORMOUSLY important for us to relinquish the responsibility to our spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, friend or anyone who loves us enough to take some of the responsibility off our plate. We, as mothers, can not afford to look up from our checklists one day to see that it is no longer our children on the triage cot, but ourselves.

Ryan photo 2

This party was the culmination of thousands of answered prayers and awesome does not begin to describe it. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month so let us never forget the most priceless thing – the precious gift of life.