In recent months and weeks, the news has been hard for many mamas to take. Stories of children being separated from their parents, or mothers and fathers mourning children lost in tragedies can be heavy on the hearts of parents who know what it's like to love a child.
We read the news, and we hold our own children closer, and we feel for the fellow mamas who can't hold theirs. Fortunately, the big story making headlines right now is one that has empathic mothers around the world breathing a sigh of relief, knowing that a dozen mothers who thought their children were lost will soon be holding them.
All 12 boys on a Thai soccer team that went missing on June 23 have been found, alive. And parents around the world are breathing a sigh of relief.
The boys, all between the ages of 11 and 16, are members of the Wild Boar soccer team. According to CNN, they entered a cave system nine days ago during a team outing with their 25-year-old coach and got trapped in the dark tunnels after a sudden rainfall.
Rescue workers from Thailand, Australia, China, Myanmar, Laos the US and the UK worked together to find the boys and their coach, and on July 2 a dive crew found all 13 people inside the cave. The Thai Navy posted a video clip of the moment to its Facebook page, and the boys' families—many of whom have been waiting together for any update from rescuers—watched the clip, knowing finally that their sons are safe.
In the video one of the rescuers entering the cave calls out, in English, "How many of you?"
When one of the stranded boys calls back, the rescuer is overjoyed at the number.
"Thirteen? Brilliant!" they shout to the boys. "We are coming, it's OK, many people are coming ... we are the first."
Above ground, the families saw their sons faces on smartphone and tablet screens. After nine days, their hope was alive and so were their sons. The BBC reports the boys' relatives were crying and hugging, overjoyed at the news.
"I'm so happy I can't put it into words," one man reportedly told media as tears streamed down his cheeks.
The news is amazing, but the rescue efforts aren't over yet. The boys are still trapped in the cave. "They are all safe but the mission is not completed," a Thai official said at a press conference at the cave entrance, according to the BBC.
Speaking to CNN, rescue consultant Pat Moret explains that moving the boys, who are very weak, will be a long process, and it won't happen immediately. The boys could be in the cave for another day or two and may have to be assisted in diving out, although efforts to drain the caves continue.
"They'll need fluids replacing (and) possibly feeding. They're going to need reheating. They've possibly been lying still for days now. And sensory faculties won't be what they should be. So I would think that they're not really fit to move for maybe 12 hours or so really."
Thai officials say doctors and nurses will be diving in to stabilize the boys, and as soon as they are physically strong enough to be moved, they will be reunited with their families.
It's good news for the parents who've been standing vigil, and good news for a world that hasn't had enough of that kind lately.