Friday, January 22, 2010

Another life changed by cancer...

You can follow Layla Grace on Twitter: @LaylaGrace

So I logged onto my computer tonight to hear that a sweet, tiny little girl named Layla Grace was given two months to live. Her poor body has been battling cancer, and they just discovered new tumors. Because of her medical condition, she is only eligible for one treatment, which may only give her a little more time if it can slow the tumor growth.

I first learned about Layla Grace a few months ago when Miss Priss Tutu's was doing an auction for the family to raise money to help cover medical costs. I bid on the auction and won, and I'm looking at the tutus still sitting here in my dining room and feeling guilty and thankful all at once; guilty that I am so thankful and have two perfect, healthy little ones.

This sweet little girl has only been here a couple years. She smiles and sees the best in those around her; she trusts with all of her heart. She plays with her sisters and while she might feel pain and know she's sick, her main focus is the joy in her life. How amazing she is simply for that - to have the courage to battle this, and still smile every day. I admire her far more than I admire most.

My heart physically aches for her parents, and her siblings. They have done so much, and have never asked for anything but better health for Layla. They have given up so much, never even considering it giving anything up, because they simply do it out of love. And here they are, facing an unimaginable hardship. I think about it and the very thought of either of my little ones sick is so beyond heartbreaking that no words have been invented to describe it yet. When Peyton had a stomach virus this week, just watching her feel unwell was so gut-wrenching. I would have preferred to have the flu myself for a week than have her suffer for even 10 minutes. I cannot even fathom having to watch her battle what little Layla has. Layla's parents have a strength beyond what anyone should ever posses, and I don't think there are any stronger people in the world than those who have to care for a sick child and continue to smile and hold in the tears and keep providing the same joyous life that child had lived before, all while wanting to break down and cry. Simply astounding and so very admirable.

I tuck in my babies tonight, and I thank God for every moment that I have with them. Sometimes it's difficult, and sometimes motherhood isn't all that I expected it to be. And then I read about people like Layla and her family, and even on our very worst day, it's never as hard as they have it. The love I feel for and from my children has far surpassed what I ever expected love to feel like, and I am so grateful for that. My heart will pray for Layla and her family, with the hope that someday, we never have to read these stories again.

Layla will live on forever despite what the doctors have said, because she has touched my heart in a way I never thought possible. I will carry her around as a constant reminder to love every moment of motherhood; every kiss from a peanut butter and jelly mouth; every snotty nose that ends up wiped on my shirt; every tantrum; every smile; every laugh; and most of all, every hug, because somewhere out there at this very moment is a parent wishing they could hear one more tantrum. I will never take any of it for granted again.

Learn more about cancer, and what you can do to help in the fight:
American Cancer Society

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