What are you carrying?

I’m sitting on my stood thinking about the many memories that lead me to where I am now. Contemplating on life the way it was and how it is today. I feel like I’ve lived worlds within worlds. If that even makes sense.

Sometimes I get confused and my memories are clouded. I wonder with all that I went through as a child and what I continued to go through in each stage of my life brought me here.

Sometimes I remember things differently then what really happened. Is it because I’ve blocked some memories out of my mind or put them away so they wouldn’t hurt so much? Maybe it was to help me become stronger and prepare me for what is going on in my life today. 

When memories come to surface in full force they can be very scary and make you pull back into a shell you worked so hard to come out of.

We find ways to deal with different emotions. Even though you are unaware of what is happening to those emotions your mind does. Now comes the tricky part, when those memories resurface it is attached to feelings you weren’t able to fully feel because your mind found a way to hide them.  At that moment you are caught off guard. You ask yourself if you are strong enough now to deal with it. After all, you are older and wiser. You have gone through lifetimes and are still standing. So why does it still hurt? Why does your mind play tricks on you?

I have to stop for a moment and pull back. Think about all that has passed and what is right in front of me.

I’m a mom of two amazing kids. I have a family and a home.

There are some eye-opening kids books that I have read with my family. One particular one comes to mind. It is about an invisible bucket we all have. When that invisible bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty we are sad. If you do something to fill a person’s bucket you are both happy. It’s a beautiful book with a wonderful message to help kids be kind to one another. Help when it’s needed and to understand feelings not only their own but others as well.

As you grow, you feel the weight of that bucket on you in a different way. The weight you are carrying around is the pain of others that you collected to help them feel better. Combined with the hurt you are carrying makes it so heavy it brings you to your knees. This is when God takes that weight and helps you move again. Sometimes you don’t realize just how much you are carrying until it’s too late. You don’t realize that you have tucked away some really heavy things that you were afraid to carry without even knowing it was breaking pieces and making holes inside of you. It’s like your inside is struggling with the outside. You form protective barriers but what’s already inside continues to grow making it harder to heal. The barrier doesn’t allow others to get close or try to help. It’s a never-ending battle you are losing. The only way to stop the cycle is to understand it is there. Confront those feelings that have been tucked away. Let others in even though you are afraid of getting hurt again. You need to trust in yourself that you are where you need to be and that you are amazing. You need to know that only you are the person you are and there is no one more suited for your heart, you body and your soul then you. You are your own protected shell. We break. We crumble. We pick up the pieces and start bandaging the pieces back together. Some pieces will no longer fit together as it did before. You may see some light shining through those spaces but that’s ok. You are allowing the light to shine through you. That light will help lighten the load and help you bring light to the darkness you experience at times.

We are never completely healed and we will feel hurt sometimes like no other but we are here. We have the gift of life. There are no exchanges or returns. We just need to know how to see the beauty that surrounds us including the beauty inside of you. When you look into the mirror the reflection you see is your gift. Smile you will receive the most perfect smile in return.

Sometimes…

Sometimes you just need to smile through it all to make sure your children don’t see the fear or sadness. Sometimes you smile even when you are hurting because you want to always make those you love smile too. Sometimes it seems like you have it all together but you are holding on to a thin rope that feels like it will break at any moment. Sometimes you try so much for so many and can’t see that you are only good to them when they are receiving something they need from you. The calls stop for a while until something is needed and then you hear a hello. 

Sometimes you just want people to know you are tired not only physically but mentally too. Sometimes people see riches and material rather than your struggle and dedication to get what you’ve work so hard for. The riches I have is not money it’s the children I am blessed with. The husband that loves all of me. Not when it’s convenient for him or when I look the prettiest. He loves me and all my faults which are many. I’m rich in the life I live through faith, love, hope, honesty and being humble. I am rich for the family that reaches out to me just to say hello. For my friends that no matter the distance or days that go by I know they will always be there for me.

I am blessed that no matter what I do or the failure I feel I’ve done, God will never give up on me and for that I am rich.  

Goodbye summer camp

Today was Giovanni and Isannah’s last day at camp. It was also silly day which they were super excited about. They created the outfits they would wear and I did their hair and make up.  Walking to camp they were all smiles, giggling at each others outfits and laughing at their hair. Once we got there we were greeted with the most joyous greeting. Everyone was so happy.

Now fast forward to pick up. The kids each just received their medals. Isannah received selfless and Giovanni received kindness. I watched as Giovanni’s eyes were becoming tear filled. I knew it was going to happen. Tears and gasping breaths began from that boy as he was holding his counselors. Each counselor he hugged made him cry even harder. I then turned to Isannah and a group of new friends that she made ran to her and surrounded her with hugs. Two girls began crying so much because she was leaving. Then Gio’s friends came over to him and gave him hugs as he was still clenching one of his counselors. Other counselors from different groups came over to see them and hug them good bye. This lasted quite a while. I couldn’t pull them from their group. When I turned to look at a few counselors they were crying too. One turned to me and said, it’s hard to see them go. They are really good kids and everyone really loves them. It shows a lot when you see the groups of people surrounding them along with the counselors that began crying too. I was doing well until then. Hearing those words from someone that were with them for only three weeks filled my eyes with tears. It wasn’t long before I joined in the tear fest. What a beautifully sweet moment. What a great bunch of workers and friends at Park Slope Day Camp. They really did have the best experiences there with kind people that really care. I’m so proud of Giovanni and Isannah. Seeing the tears in others eyes, the hugs that they freely gave and the kindness they showed to them had me beaming with pride. It’s things like this that really help you get through another day.

Goodbyes are hard

Sometimes it’s just unbearable to say goodbye even when you know it’s the right thing to do. There’s a pain that fills not only your heart, which is already breaking, but also your body and causes an ache in your soul. You feel it. It’s there. You know the time is coming but the closer it draws near the harder it becomes. You know it’s the right thing to do. You know it will help someone feel better and no longer feel pain but the burning pain inside isn’t going away. Do you continue to be selfish because it makes you feel better or do you say goodbye so there’s no more pain on the other side? 
The thing is love is stronger than you can imagine. Love is what will always grow. The memories you shared through love every step of the way will help you be stronger than you think you are. Sometimes saying goodbye will always be hard.

Good-bye 2nd Grade

I’m sitting in my front room just listening to the kids each play their instruments on different levels in our home and it hits me. Another school year has come and gone. How did that happen? How could my 2nd graders become 3rd graders?

I remember the first day of 2nd grade. I was so nervous for them. I was worried about the new teachers, new classmates and experiences they would have. I was nervous about the transition from 1st to 2nd grade and the curriculum that would take them through the year. As a mom, you hope teachers that will be in their life five days a week are teachers that will nurture, help their minds grow and help them with the tools they need to carry them along their school journey. It is a moms dream to see the happiness on their child’s face when walking out of school. See their interaction with teachers as they say goodbye and are dismissed. These are things plus many more that run through my head. As a parent, you always want the best experiences for your kids but also the experiences that they learn from. Even bad experiences and how they are able to handle them is a learning moment.

Now these two growing twins filling my house with crazy sounds, enjoying their summer and figuring out things on their own. Telling stories about their teachers and things they miss about 2nd grade and yet, it hasn’t been a week.  I couldn’t be prouder of them for being the little people they are today. I can’t believe they are going to 3rd grade. I can’t believe these two premature little peanuts at 4lbs 12oz and 2lbs 10oz are blooming and growing right before my eyes.

I am humbled by the experiences. The kindness the teachers and staff not only showed my two miracles but showed me as well. It was a wonderful 2rd grade at PS32. I’m hoping the new school year will follow the beautiful experiences we’ve had.

He we come 3rd grade. I mean here they come!

Schools of hope

I wrote a passage in 2015 when the kids were starting a new school. I was all nerves not only for them, their experiences but for me and knowing if we made the right decision to put them in PS32. You hear so many different stories about schools and from what you remembered growing up it wasn’t always the best but the principal changed and so did some of the staff. No matter what the stories were or what was being told you knew you were starting your own story. I am thankful that I did. We have been very fortunate with the teachers we’ve had. Some of them were the gems I still hold dear. When you carry a teacher in your heart for years after your child has had them it truly says a lot about that teacher and the impact they made on your family. A principal of a school carries the heart of a school. Her arms extend and covers each student with compassion, love and strength. She is supposed to lift the staff up as they lift her up in harmony for all the students attending the school. I’m thankful and truly feel blessed that my kids are thriving. They enjoy going to school every day. They are sad when they are sick and have to miss a day or two. That shows me that we made the right decision to keep them right where they are. You will always hear stories that will persuade you in a different direction but before you let the stories of others determine what needs to be done for your family, talk to the staff, visit the school and see if a school is right for you.
I can only say from my experience and the story we are creating. It’s been an amazing year. I can’t believe it will all be over soon and we will have to start again with new teachers and hope that the light of teachers in the past continue to light the way for the future. Thank you to all those amazing teachers that hold places in our hearts. You know who you are. Thank you for taking care of our kids and for always making them feel safe and pushing them to strive. May the weeks leading up to summer break be beautiful, blossoming and loving weeks. 
Here’s to all the amazing teachers out there that keep getting up every morning and being present. Thank you!

Don’t stop writing

Every morning you wake is a continued page to a story you have been writing. Sometimes a new chapter begins. Sometimes you are adding to a chapter you are trying to end. Whatever your story, it is yours alone to freely write as you choose. In each book things at times are forced without your permission, which forces your story to move in a different direction. Don’t stop writing. Keep moving as difficult as it may seem at the time. You just move that pen and see where it takes you.

Don’t ever let hurt, pain and confusion force you to put down that pen. You may want to stop for a moment just to be but then you raise that pen once again and keep writing. Others may help you lift that pen if you are feeling to weak so you can continue your journey and that’s ok as long as you keep writing.

Each one of us is creating our own book. It will be colorful yet dark. It will be light at times and then too heavy that it literally takes your breath away. At times, it will feel like you are floating on the letters of love. Experience it all and allow the pages to turn. One day when you are gone that book will tell your story and your life will move through all those you’ve touched.

Is it ever enough?

When you feel you are doing all that you can but it’s still not right or enough. When the cracks in your heart that have been working so hard to mend are pulling apart and your chest feels a little heavier. The heaviness makes it just a little harder to breathe and forces your eyes to burn with tears that you are forcing to control.

How do you change that feeling? How can you make it hurt a little less or learn to accept what you are feeling and move past?

It’s questions like these that cause many to struggle. I know just how real that struggle is. Some will get where they need to be and jump that horrific hurdle. Others will reach it and not have the strength to jump over it so they pull back and retreat in that shell. They go backwards in a downward spiral that makes it greater to ever get back to where they need to be in order to make that jump. Words and kindness from family and friends may soften the feelings for that time but the weight is too heavy to endure and the thoughts in your head take over the words of love and support. It’s a horrible spiral.

Each pain is individual. Yes, some feel the same but no one can ever truly feel the pain within you. Each is tailored to your body’s reaction.

Its days like this that you need to remember more than just that. Look around you as hard as it may be to see outside of what is inside. Whether it’s the beautiful miracles you have and the smiles on their faces each time they see you. Or it’s that one friend that looks at you and their eyes confirm your sadness and it allows you to soften just a little. Whether it’s that song that can take you to a place in time when you were happier than you are feeling at this moment. Each thing as tiny as it seems will try and fill each crack. It takes time and a lot of it but time is what we have right now. Jump that hurdle as hard and how high as it seems to you. Let that weight lift so it’s a little harder to pull you so far down. Reach for that hand. Look above you. Not at the person trying to help in front of you but keep looking higher much higher to the one that is trying to carry you.

I’m sorry for that sadness.

Back in the NICU

I began working in the NICU in November of 2018. At first I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it and I was worried all the emotions I had years ago would come flooding back but I knew I had to try. The first day was a tough one. After my shift was done, I walked out of the building and began crying. I cried so much that my body began aching. I realized at that moment all the emotions I had stored inside me completely resurfaced and I was finally able to let it all go and heal. I didn’t know that I still had that all inside me especially because my twins are 8 years old and flourishing into amazing empathetic, kind, fun loving kids. I couldn’t believe there was something so fragile inside me still.

After I was done crying and began wiping my tears the biggest smile came over my face. I could feel the ache my body was experiencing lift and I was able to stand tall again. It was as though a heavy weight that I had buried way down inside was gone and I was able to breathe freely once again. This confirmed what I was doing was the right thing.

I wanted to be there for mothers that needed to talk or just needed a silent shoulder. I wanted to be there for families that couldn’t be there because they had other children or had to work. I wanted to be that person to hold their crying babies to comfort and cuddle them when they couldn’t be there to do it themselves. Being in the NICU is hard with all the monitors, beeping sounds and flashing lights. Not to mention having your child/children there and feeling hopeless but it’s also finding that hope again. Knowing that they are surrounded by all the amazing staff who are also there fighting to keep your child/children strong.

I get to experience all over again the miracles of life. I get to experience the love and strength of family and staff. I witness the beautiful babies who are fighting to go home and be in the loving arms of family.

I see all of them and feel blessed that I can be a part of something so beautiful. This is why I needed to be back in the NICU. 

The ER

Today I was surrounded by many emotions. It is always difficult being in the emergency room. Even though you are not the one on the stretcher your heart is always sinking and your fear grows stronger with each passing hour. Your mind begins to wonder and the questions become more frequently. You can’t stop but fear the worst but at the same time be the positive voice for all that surrounds you. The things you witness can crush you or make you stronger.

You see people come in with their loved ones at the same time as you and you keep an eye on them in the hopes that what ever brought them in can be repaired and you can watch them leave. You give your comforting smiles and show of hope so they know they are not alone. It’s a scary time for all but for the patients on the beds it’s a scary kind of fear.

We were on our 6th hour in the ER when the horrible screams from three curtains away began to cut through all our hearts. The screams of pain, loss of faith and loss of hope that this would pass was felt through the entire unit. One woman dropped while others tried to lift her and console while all crying themselves. The words mama, mama NO were chilling and the sound of life you heard through the monitor turn into silence of life taken was heart breaking. The staff moved quickly but no matter how much they could help the fact that their mother was gone was final. The unit from that moment on was different. I looked away from the person sitting in front of me for a while because I couldn’t face her. Thoughts came to mind and it was killing me. I knew that I would NEVER be ready for a moment like that. I couldn’t look away any longer so I looked right in front of me to the most amazing woman I have ever seen, my mom. Tears filling her eyes as mine and we just stared. It was a chilling moment. I just looked at my mom and couldn’t NO I wouldn’t imagine a day without her. It really was a moment of no words only tears, feelings and sadness.

At that moment, I looked at my sister who was also lying on the bed with a look of fear and sadness. When something like that happens as you lay on the bed curtains away your emotions are turned up. You just want to get out of there. It’s times like these when your faith is tested. We can only be as strong as our heart allows.

Today, all day, was a difficult one and although we are back home there is more to come. For right now, I am thankful for the strength we had that brought us home. I am thankful for the family and friends that were with us in spirit along the way.

I watched life begin and life taken away all in a day. I saw family pull together and embrace each other to prepare for the journey ahead.

We are all tested in our own ways. It’s not what gets us down that will matter. It is what will bring us back to our feet that will make us stronger and help us walk further.

Although I can not erase those screams and that moment from my memory I can try to remember the moment that I looked in to your eyes and knew you were still here right in front of me and that will last me longer than those screams.