I wrote this in June of 2007 for my Hot Mamas team when we participated in Cleveland's inaugural 3Day 60 Mile Breast Cancer Walk. With the Cleveland Walk scheduled for July 31st, my BFF Brenda and all of this year's walkers are walking every day and putting in 14, 16, 18 miles a day on the weekends. This is for them.
As you sit on the edge of your bed at the crack of dawn, the weight of your obligations lands on you like a boulder.
Last week's clean clothes are still in a basket in your laundry room. Your house if full of dust bunnies, your garden is full of weeds and your car is full of protein bar wrappers and empty sports drink bottles. Your dog growls at you like you're a stranger.
Your boss can't wait until you inevitably give up this little whim so he can have back his dedicated employee who was never preoccupied and always wore high heels.
Your friends who are not in the 3Day are beginning to look at you differently. Girls night out happened last week without you.
Your husband doesn't understand why you're doing all of this. All he understands is that he wants you home - in body and mind.
Your children don't understand. All they know is they hate the color pink and want their mommy back.
And then there's your body. You can barely recover from walking one day to do it all over again the next. You go to bed achy and stiff. You wake up achy and stiff. Your suntan is an outline of a sports bra and shorts. It's a nice surprise when you don't have hat head. Your feet have blisters, calluses and corns in places you've never had them. You've lost another toenail.
Why on earth are you putting yourself through this??
Like a warm sunbeam, you suddenly realize that you can make this all go away. You have the power to make your husband happy, be a mommy again, get that raise, go Martha Stewart on your house, have margaritas with the girls, sleep in and say goodbye to blisters forever.
You take a minute to think about it.
You can have a normal life again.
But then it dawns on you.
So what if the kids' underwear didn't get folded and put away? At least you washed it.
And you'll still be able to harvest a garden after the Walk - that's why God made zucchini.
Your boss - he'll never get it. But you do, and that damn job can just wait for another few weeks.
Your friends don't understand why you're doing this, but you do. If they were being very honest, they might even confess they're a little in awe of you. Well, next year they can just get off their pampered little tushies and make a commitment to something bigger than themselves for once in their lives.
Your husband may not understand why this is so urgent, but you do. You understand that by some wondrous quirk of genetics and fate he still has you around to be missed.
Your children don't understand what this is all for, but you do. You don't want them to have to think about mommies who go away because they're sick and then don't get to come home. In a few weeks, you'll be back and you will hug them like you'll never let go.
And then you realize something else. You could be sitting on the edge of your bed dreading yet another bout of chemo and wondering if you can make it all the way home this time before you throw up.
You could be trying not to cry as you look at your mastectomy incision for the first time.
You could be counting the minutes that seem like hours until the hospice nurse can give you another shot of morphine.
So maybe you won't quit today.
This will be all over in a few weeks. And if you're lucky, things won't ever be the same again.
Because you will have turned your blisters into dollars for research and medical breakthroughs and mammograms for the poor.
Because someday your children will rememeber all this and realize they really can change the world.
Because someone will look at the pink wristband you gave them and write another check.
Because a woman you don't even know trusts you to walk for her because she can't.
Because the friends you've made in training and friends you'll meet on the Walk will stay with you forever.
So maybe you'll face the challenge of fitting it all in and getting it all done for one more day.
Maybe you'll walk the six miles you'd planned once the kids are in bed tonight and not think about the dishes in the sink.
Maybe you'll ignore your feet and ignore your sunburn and ignore your sore hips.
Maybe you'll remember how fortunate you are to be able to get up off the edge of the bed and make a difference.