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.

Holiday moods creeping up

The holidays are coming and your mind tends to drift away. You reminisce about the years before. You think back at times when your home was fuller and the laughs seemed louder. Then you come back to where you are today and feel a little less full. Amazing people in your life are gone and seats are empty. That’s when the warm tears fill your eyes and roll down your cheeks. It gets harder to breathe and your chest begins to hurt. You want to cry louder but you hold back. Look out the window to feel some comfort but instead there’s darkness. The rain is falling and it’s like the world is crying too. Still you try to stay strong. Bring back those wonderful sounds of the holidays. Bring back the appreciation of the family and friends you still have around you. Stay strong for the little ones that still have hope shining through their eyes. The life that beams from their bodies and you pull it together and smile again.

Life happens. We lose people that mean so much to us and in the process sometimes lose ourselves. This is when you need to get stronger or reach out to those amazing souls in your life or just look up. The answers are not easy and sometimes the questions are never answered at the moment you need them to be but in time they will.

For now we have to continue to live our best life. Continue to appreciate all the things that surround us and hold on to the memories that keep us smiling. Life is just that LIFE. We are alive so we live until we are not here anymore and then others continue to live and life goes on.

 

I know I will have days that are heavy and sad but then I know I will also have days that will take my breath away. I’ll hold on to those and you should too.

 

Beautiful harmony

Today I got to see the most amazing team in action. When I start my shift in the NICU beautiful miracles are all around me. They are already there and set up comfortably to begin the healing and strengthening process or they are well enough to be heading home with their family. Today was different. Today I saw two arrivals, twins, and I was mesmerized by the amazing team working before my eyes. They immediately swung into action. Each knowing what their position was. Each working together while completing their individual tasks. It was a beautiful symphony being played in harmony before me. They were moving like beautifully played instruments. I stood and watched them. Wide-eyed filled with hope. I could not take my eyes off them.

They were making lives strong. They were giving those two miracles all the tools they needed to grow stronger.

There are many reasons why I am here. Why I volunteer in the NICU every week. Two main reasons are because my twin miracles and of all the help and support we received during our time in the NICU. The others are to witness hope, life, caring and kindness. To see strength like no other and to see this, today, this team working beautifully together.

What a beautiful day!

A knock at the door

Sunday morning making pancakes for the kids when suddenly there’s a knock on the door. We never have morning visitors. Who could it be? We ran to the door to find a sweet neighbor asking if the kids can come out and play. This was a surprise for me because I can’t really think of G and I as being old enough to run out of the house and play but it’s happening. I had to take a moment and step back. The kids were excited to play but knew breakfast and morning routine needed to be completed before they went outside. I never saw them eat ALL of their breakfast so fast and brush their teeth without being told so quickly. They were growing up a little more right in front of me. How could this be?

I looked back and they were fully dressed and out the front door. No longer did I need to sit on the stoop and watch them. They were gone. I could hear them from inside as they communicated with friends, made plans, created new games and had new ideas on the stoop. I just sat back comfortably in the air conditioned filled room with a cappuccino in hand and a smile on my face and took it all in.

There was a shift. It had been coming. I was watching it happen but couldn’t put it all together, at least not until this morning. I was no longer the mediator. I was no longer needed to open this or get that. I didn’t need to watch them and just make sure they would be ok out there.

All I had to do now is let them be. Sure I popped my head out from time to time to make sure I could see them when I no longer heard them on the stoop. I knew they were fine but I just needed to reassure myself that they were. They popped from stoop to stoop but never too far away. More neighbors joined them and soon there were a group of kids bonding and becoming friends not only neighbors.

This morning’s theme seemed to be Harry Potter. The wands came out. The character stickers were retrieved and the spell book was in hand. They had professors (Giovanni) teaching a class while the others listened. The roles were turned and things changed. It was interesting to listen to.

This was it. I have two second graders starting school this week and they were surely acting the part.

I will stop here as tears fill my eyes not only because I am a little sad that they are growing but also because I am so proud of them.

This is motherhood.