“My piece of bread only belongs to me when I know that everyone else has a share, and that no one starves while I eat.” ~ Leo Tolstoy
Today, I would like to take you on a little journey…one that began nearly fourteen years ago.
It was a cold winter day that welcomed the birth of our daughter. Rebekah. Our second child (of what would be three). Our only daughter.
While I speak from my (very male) perspective – the whole birthing process that day was one of much ease. A baby girl…a tiny baby girl. While my memory fades me as to the exact details of this moment, I very much remember the joy of a healthy, happy baby.
Our first moments alone with this new life, a few short hours after birth…cuddling a small, precious, new life.
(just each of us were at our birth…precious and new life)
And in a moment…
In a moment…it all changed. From a little baby wiggling her toes, cooing, crying…to blue. Blue, the color. Blue, her skin.
Panic. An urgent search for a nurse, someone, anyone, to help.
She was whisked away. Gone from our arms. And for what seemed like an eternity (although it was mere minutes), we didn't know. We didn't know where she was, what was going on, what had happened.
Alone. Not knowing. A sinking feeling.
(some of the most challenging moments as a parent)
A few minutes later, the nurse returned. Although, she had stopped breathing for a brief period, Rebekah would be okay,. Because of this experience, she would stay mostly in an incubator, with constant monitoring while at her hospital stay.
Within a few days, she came home.
What a wonderful feeling, and one, perhaps, that we didn't even fully realize at the time.
Life. Is Precious. Is so worth fighting for. Is beautiful. Is such an amazing experience we are given.
We Are The Lucky Ones
…one of the lucky ones…
She is loved, she is cared for…by many.
She has an education…one that continues for this thriving thirteen year old.
She leads an active and healthy lifestyle.
She has a place of safety and comfort…home…always there for her.
She has opportunities that some cannot even imagine.
She has love and support that some cannot begin to even fathom.
And Those Not So Lucky
Not all girls are so lucky. In fact, all too many girls have to face difficult moments alone, have to do or be things that no child should have to endure, have to bear too much of the harsh realities of their world at an age that is way too young for these things.
Lost in so much more than the physical sense. Lost emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically.
Life snatched away.
We can look around the corner in the neighborhoods we live in (it's there), we can look to the inner cities around our world, we can look to under developed countries, we can look to families that seemingly have it all.
And this exists. Girls…lost…at an age when they should still be celebrating the joy of their childhood.
The Girl Effect
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What if every girl, across our global community, was loved for who she is.
What if every girl, across our global community, was cared for in times of need.
What if every girl, across our global community, was treated with respect for the amazing soul that she is.
What if every girl, across our global community, was given the opportunity to become educated.
What if each of us, in some way, went out today, and made a difference. To a girl.
This piece today is part of an effort to bring greater awareness to the effect we can each have, by helping to give every girl, everywhere, a life filled with promise and hope.
To learn more, visit The Girl Effect. We can all make a difference.
A special thank you to Tara Sophia Mohr, for creating a space for writers to share in spreading this message of hope and inspiration.