* My Journal * On a recent Saturday morning our obgyn doctor friend, Tom, called me about a woman who is an elementary school teacher in our community. He told me that Jackie had been the wonderful kindergarten teacher for two of their three boys. Tom had to "ruin her day" with a phone call telling her that her biopsy came back positive for breast cancer. He called me just after giving her the "crummy" news. He asked me, with Jackie's permission, if I wouldn't mind calling her to give her some needed support. So of course I called. This dedicated teacher was in her classroom at school diligently preparing for the new school year. She was thrown "a curve ball" in her life just minutes before I called. Now here we were, neither of us having met, but we had something seriously in common...."the big C"... was instantly a part of both our lives as of the summer of 2011. I felt her shock of this unwanted and untimely news. (When is there ever a good time?) I did not envy her day, nor what she has to face in the months to come, but I also know she is going to be fine. I won't go into details about her cancer "situation". My focus here is about women...our caregivers..... and Jackie is this. I instantly saw her as a very special caregiver...but typical of many women in our lives. (Sorry men, I will get to you later!) Jackie's first thoughts expressed to me was her concern for being absent in school because of breast cancer treatments and the necessity of needing to be there for her students in this new school year. I recognized her commitment and dedication as an educator. I told her for the sake of our children and our community, she needed to focus on herself now. That can be a difficult and awkward position for women such as Jackie. Jackie is a "poster child" example of women who are innate and indispensable caregivers of the world. As I thought about Jackie and this role that many women hold, I also thought of Ella, just seven years old, who I have admired and observed at church. She is always taking care of her four-year-old brother, Nolan, who has downs syndrome. She intuitively has become his little "caretaker". She watches over him... she puts her finger to her lips to "shhhh" him when she thinks she needs to... she holds his hand... she puts her arm around him when she feels necessary... and she acknowledges his "oh SO" precious smile. This very young girl, inexperienced in life, is caring, loving, and "mothering" over her special little brother at such a tender age. Today I celebrate all the "Jackies" and the "Ellas"....young and old, who are the strength... the glue... and critical to our lives in our world as caregivers. We need you. I pray for good health and time to rest for you. We can not live without you. Our caregivers in our lives... are not to be taken for granted. We want to hold on to them. They are a priceless blessing. And I do believe celebrating them is a very good thing.