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.

First Grade Content Share…The Experience

I just witnessed hard work, dedication, kindness, support and excitement. That is what happens when students, teachers and staff come together and work on a common goal. Today was our schools First Grade Content Share. The event was broken down into four businesses. Each business created an experience you would take with you.

It all started with the Subway. Wonderful things happened once you entered this subway station. Students were selling Limited Edition Subway Cards that they created for purchase. The cost was a whopping $0.25 and it was all worth it to get the wonderful experience. To enter the train and all other businesses you needed a subway card that would be punched by each conductor at the classroom door. The creativity was overflowing throughout the floor. The students were excited and so happy to serve and show you all that they created.

The grocery store boasted with many items for purchase as well as warm out of the oven goodies you could buy. Students assisted with the purchases and had a cash register to take your money and give you change if needed. The learning that was going on in this room was wonderful. The smiles were contagious and the pleasant thank you and laughter stayed with me on my next adventure. Off to the mailroom where I could create letters that would be mailed and delivered to students later on in the day. The Post Office was a pleasant experience with helpers willing to assist and direct you to where you needed to be. Finally it was the restaurant and my face lit up when I saw the conductor of this business punching away at subway cards that were presented to him before entry. This young man was taking his job very seriously but with a smile. He made sure that each person entering the room had a subway card and if they didn’t he to directed them to the subway so they could be sure to get one. The restaurant was getting quite busy, as you needed to patiently wait for a server to take your order. They had pancakes, bacon, eggs, etc… You could be seated and enjoy your selection with a kind server bringing you food. You also had the options of smoothies, coffee and other amazing treats. The restaurant was reaching capacity so the conductor up front made sure to hold the customers at the door until people came out and then he would allow others to go in.

I was so happy to be able to witness such a wonderful event at my kid’s school. The dedication and hard work to make this happen was glowing through all that was done today. Parents didn’t want to leave because the experience was truly amazing.

I know that there are always complaints from any school you are in. Teachers that you are not fond of or experiences you have that pull you from your comfort zone at your children’s school but no matter what is said and done, today was one of a kind. Today PS32 shines brightly because of the amazing dedication the first grade students, teachers and staff showed.

I was happy to witness and experience it all. I am one very proud mom.

Hip, hip hooray to the first grade!!!

Help Gio and Isa’s Miracles

It’s that time again so on this snowy Wednesday afternoon think about donating to a wonderful cause. Please share our story and our team page wherever you can. Help our team meet our goal and help so many families that don’t have the support during a very scary time. Thank you for your support. No amount is ever to small and always very much appreciated. Let’s go Gio and Isa’s Miracles! Helping families one step at a time.

 

https://www.marchforbabies.org/caramia626

 

https://www.marchforbabies.org/caramia626

The Funk

Sometimes a feeling takes over you and you feel something inside you that leaves you paralyzed. You don’t know what it is or where it came from but you feel motionless and a warm wave of sadness starts within you and spreads throughout your body. You try to fight it but the feeling is so strong. It’s like a tug of war from the inside out until you realize you can’t win. You drop your shoulders from the weight and give up. You feel your head drop and eyes fill with tears. It’s not until the first tear drop falls that you see yourself drifting. Slowly drifting but you can’t stop it and realize you don’t even want to try so you don’t. From that moment on it gets harder and harder to pull yourself out of “the funk.”

Let me explain what “the funk” means to me. It’s a little less than depression but in the direction of depression. It’s where it hurts to smile even though you want to. It’s a weight that pushes you under water. Even though you kick and lift your head to keep above water there’s an invisible weight that holds your head steady down and you feel like you are drowning and the heaviness makes your body limp. This feeling carries on for days. You don’t let others know what’s happening. You do your best to stay positive outside so that others don’t see the sadness you are feeling inside. You smile and make sure all those around you are happy, comfortable and well but that only makes you feel more tired. You’re exhausted but you can’t let anyone in. You just can’t until one day something happens. He looks at you in a certain way that brings light into your darkness or you hear a laughter from one of your children that tries to break your trace or your best friend from far away calls out of the blue and knows something is going on. That’s when the wall “the funk” finally crumbles down and you are able to breathe again. You breathe and it no longer hurts. Your body feels light again and not achy. The smile comes to the surface from deep down within and your whole body smiles. Your life is your own again…until the next funk but until then you do your best to enjoy your life and all the blessings you are surrounded by.

That is my funk. It just happens but I know it will go away. I always hope it does.

 

I am Abraham…

Tonight for Isannah’s reading assignment she chose to read another book that wasn’t in her school baggie. She wanted to read I am Abraham Lincoln. It’s a longer book and words are definitely harder but she was determined. When we got to the part in the book about slaves and she saw the picture of slaves chained up on a boat she was very upset. She didn’t understand why they were chained and what was going on. I asked her to finish reading that part and we would talk about it. Once she finished reading those two pages we paused for a moment to discuss. Giovanni was listening in and was so happy to hear about Abraham Lincoln’s speech about freeing slaves and that all men are created equal.
We briefly spoke about the Civil War and the Gettysburg Address. It was a nice conversation with questions and lot’s of listening. They want to be like Lincoln and stand up for what’s right. Isannah said that she was going to make sure that she would do what is right but if others didn’t do it she wouldn’t stand and be with them. She would be alone if she had to but Giovanni immediately jumped in saying she wouldn’t be alone because he is doing the right thing too so they can do it together.
It truly is beautiful listening and watching the love and kindness that is within them. I wish it will only continue and become stronger. I hope that this world doesn’t destroy that faith, hope and kindness they have and want to pour unto others.
I wish we could all see things purely through the eyes of kids.

First separate birthday party

G and I began talking about their party ideas for their 7th birthday party, which was sneaking up quicker than I had planned. They both had different ideas and wanted to do different things. Then out of nowhere they both decided they wanted to do separate parties. Wait, what? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My two soon to be 7 year old twins no longer wanted a birthday party together. This blew my mind. I wasn’t ready for it. What just happened? I knew this day would come but I expected I had a few more years. I was hoping this thought wouldn’t come up until they hit 11 or 12 but I was wrong. It was happening now. Right in front of me. They were deciding and planning what was going to happen. Not only that but they turned to me and asked if they could invite their own guests. My chin just hit the table and my mouth remained open.

Did this mean not all their classmates would be invited? Did this mean no childhood friends? Wait, what did this mean? Giovanni kindly told me that he wanted to only invite his everyday friends meaning friends he saw every day. He wanted to pick and I would write his list down. Isannah then said the same thing. Here I was grabbing a pen and paper and writing down each name as they shouted them to me. I kept looking at the list and thinking about people I would like to invite but just kept my mouth shut. I was letting them take the wheel. I wanted them to feel like this was their time. After the names were shouted and after I stopped writing they each looked at their list. They were smiling and so proud of themselves for doing it all on their own. I couldn’t crush their joy. Not their moment so I sucked it up and let it go.

Fast forward to Giovanni’s party. It’s here. It’s TODAY and the excitement was real. He woke up asking me how many more hours for his party. He must’ve asked me 20 times if it was time to leave. This was what he picked and he was so excited to share his chocolate making experience with his everyday friends.

I planned all the details and when we walked in his face lit up. He was excited to show his sister the place and explained to her all the fun things they would be doing. As his guests were arriving he greeted them with smiles. It was like he was turning older than 7. I was frantic as always to make sure everything was going smoothly and all who were coming were happy but I calmed when I looked at him. He was just enjoying his day. What I loved more was that his sister was letting him be the person for this time. She allowed him to have the attention and was supportive.

Everything was going well. The kids were screaming with excitement. Singing at the top of their lungs and dancing like no one was watching. It was great. I looked around the room and was happy for him and for everything that was going on.

It wasn’t until it was cake time that I felt my chest cave in and tears began falling on the inside rather than outside. I was crying inside because when the party host placed his cake in front of him I knew it was just his celebration. It wasn’t a cake with both names on it. It wasn’t a cake placed in front of G and I to celebrate both of them. It was only placed in front of Giovanni. He sat there and looked at his cake and listened to everyone sing happy birthday and when the song was over he proudly blew out his candles and I quietly cried.

It was harder than I thought to see that happen. I was happy for him and proud but I couldn’t help feeling a little sad that it wasn’t both of them together.

I pushed that feeling away because I couldn’t let it take over me. This was a happy day. This was Giovanni’s day and this was just happiness. I remembered that Isannah would get her solo birthday party and celebrate it the way she wants. That day will be a day of friends, happiness and joy.

Let’s just say I can’t promise not feeling a little something when a cake is placed in front of her that day. I guess its just part of a being a mama of twins.

 

Make it count

You wake up and take your first thank you breath and at that moment, you have to decide if it’s going to be a good day. No matter what you are going through or the craziness you know you are surrounded by, you need to make that decision. Try really hard to just think of all the good in your life. Think about the beautiful memories you’ve created. Think about the person that makes you smile and just remind yourself you made it to another day. After you thought about all that, get on your feet and begin this day as a gift. Make it count. You may be the face that person needs to bring a smile to their face. The hope they needed to see today. Make it count.
The kindness that you have inside you spread it around. Let it infect others so that it keeps going. Today is a gift. Make sure to share it with others.