This was a long Harry Potter journey that started several years ago when Giovanni and Isannah were about 5 or 6. Their dad began reading Harry Potter books at night while the kids were in bed.They formed a bond like no other and a love for Harry Potter. The rule was no movie could be watched until the book was completed. It seemed like the books were getting longer and longer. Some days we ran late and the kids needed to get in bed so there was no time for reading. Sometimes many days passed before the book was opened again but they always came back to it.
They are now both 10 and still absolutely love Harry Potter books. This helped make the decision to sign them up for one week of Camp Hogwarts during summer break. The camp week was almost here but the last book was not complete. In fear that the camp would have spoilers or camp friends would discuss details of the last book, they made it their mission to complete the last book before camp started. They were reading longer and more frequently. Sometimes my husband read to them during the day and then again at night. There were still too many pages to read but that didn’t stop them. At one point my husband realized he needed a little help since he’s been working so hard, that he turned to Jim Dale. Jim Dale is the audible voice of Harry Potter books. Although my husband had read almost every page of those books to the kids, time was running out and he needed a little help to get to the finish line quicker.
Today was that day. The three of them got together as they always do to finish the book. He read and read until there were no words left in the book. The excitement was real! They completed the last book and camp was the very next day. It was the perfect end to an amazing Harry Potter journey.
We will be watching the last movie on Tuesday for family movie night. I can’t wait to see the expressions on their faces and hear all about what’s missing in the movie. They really love the books so much more but the movie is such a treat.
Big things happened this weekend. Saturday was a really special and important day. It was recital time. Isannah worked so hard on her ballet dance. It was the first in person, on a stage platform performance since COVID began. This was HUGE especially because the Nutcracker was cancelled and so was the summer in person recital she’s done every year. Due to COVID families were limited to one guest per show. Isannah was torn as she really wanted her dad to see her dance too. There was a little conflict since it was also Giovanni’s baseball game and Asher is assistant coach. The timing was tough but since we were limited to one guest, I confirmed a spot to be there.
Just a couple of days before her recital strict restrictions were lifted slightly and another guest was allowed to come to her recital. Isannah was beaming with joy as this meant her dad could be there too.
Here’s the little hiccup, Giovanni’s game was still at the same time and he needed to get there. We spoke to Giovanni to see if he felt comfortable walking through the park from the baseball fields to the entrance without us. He said he was. We had amazing baseball parents look over him during the game but he would walk to meet my parents outside the park on his own.
This allowed Asher time to get to the recital, which he did, with plenty of time to see Isannah before she went in to get ready. Although, I was confident Giovanni could do it, as a parent so many scenarios run through your mind.
It was recital time and the parents were allowed to enter the venue. Asher and I found our seats and I couldn’t help but just stare at Isannah. She was in position and she looked so beautiful. I can see her nerves behind her smile even through the mask she had on but that made her even more stunning. I got chills as the music began to play and her confidence was back. Her face changed and her moves were graceful. Her arms and legs carried her like an angel floating through the air. The way she moved her hands and arms was mesmerizing. I have always loved and will always love to watch her perform in ballet.
From the twinkle twos where she began at the same ballet school until now at age 10. To see her grow and blossom through the years is an experience like no other. Watching her perform now brought images of her from 2 years leading up to this moment. I saw pictures flashing before me as you do in a movie flashback montage. The photos were so crisp and clear but in between them all I was brought back to the current recital. I was glad they did the dance twice because I didn’t want to miss a moment of it. But I was so happy to see all the images in my head as I did. The music carried me and allowed me to reminisce on all the stages of her ballet classes. It was a beautiful moment but what made it complete was looking to my left and seeing the priceless expression on my husband’s face as he watched his daughter float through the room. Once the dances were over and we were able to go up to Isannah she reached out to hug us. She was proud and so excited and we were proud and so excited for her. Pictures were taken of her, us and her ballet bestfriend. The journey they are both experiencing together will be with them wherever they go. Friendships and moments like this last a lifetime.
As we were saying our good-byes to friends and the amazing Cobble Hill Ballet staff my mind was racing back to Giovanni. How was his game? Did he notice I wasn’t cheering at the top of my lungs and did it bother him? Did he make it across the fields and through the park to meet my parents at the entrance? How did it go and how is he feeling?
I text my mom and kept in close communication until Isannah, Asher and I arrived home. Not shortly after Giovanni walked in smiling with my parents trailing in behind him. He was so excited and told us all about being at the game on his own (without us for the first time) and how easy it was to get to where Nonna was waiting. He spoke about the game and all that happened. It was his very first time walking through the park alone. What an experience for him!
It was a Saturday filled with many things, many emotions and accomplishments. I was so proud of both.
Let’s get to Sunday. We had to all rise bright and early for Giovanni’s make up baseball game that was initially cancelled due to rain. We had to be at the ballpark at 8:30am and on a Sunday. The sun was already bursting with heat. The heat was coming down on the players hard but they kept on going. The Imposters were losing 1-0 until Giovanni was up at bat. First swing was a strike, second a ball, the third went to him and he swung with all his might. Contact and a hit to first base driving home a run. Although Giovanni was out at first he tied the game. A runner came in and it was 1-1. The excitement and cheers filled the park. We have a great team, coaches and parents. The energy is always so alive and supportive.
Giovanni’s next at bat was a strong hit. He got to first and I can see his face was lighting up even through his mask. He was ready to go. After stealing second and third he was waiting for his team to bring him home which they did. I believe this was one of Giovanni’s best at bats.
It was a beautiful weekend. The weather was great. The people we encountered and met along the way were comforting and the kids were motivating, inspiring, happy and supportive which made us proud.
Special thanks to the family and friends that made this weekend possible so we didn’t miss moments that will be carried and lift us in memories throughout our journey.
I’m not sure where to begin so I guess I’ll start with the happy news about our March for Babies walk. It was a bit different this year as the walk was virtually going on all over. This year I decided to have our team walk around Prospect Park rather than go to the city. We were asked to film live, take pictures and then send it all in so it would stream live on the Experience page during the walk. I invited family and friends who wanted to come out and enjoy a fun walk with us. Really I just wanted to be surrounded by so much love on this special day which I definitely felt.
My dad was even there in a Gio and Isa’s Miracles shirt. As tight as it may have looked on him, he still wore it for us which was special to see in photos. I didn’t make this year’s individual t-shirts for our team like I do every year because I wanted everyone in a t-shirt from years past. I wanted each shirt worn that day to represent a year we walked leading up to our 10th anniversary. I still can’t believe we have been walking in honor of Giovanni and Isannah for 10 years. Team Gio and Isa’s Miracles is 10! It is a day of hope, faith, reflection, love, kindness and family. It’s a day filled with many emotions and this year didn’t fail.
Although my dad showed up, he didn’t walk. He stayed behind until we were done. He felt tired and it seemed like he was having trouble breathing. From a day of such love, joy and life the night turned a little different.
By the next day, my father was having problems with his breathing again and his oxygen levels were decreasing. It was a quick trip to his doctor’s, followed by an emergency chest x-ray. He was back home waiting on results while monitoring his oxygen level. Even on his oxygen machine his levels were struggling to stay above 88. Something was definitely wrong. Early in the morning his levels dropped to 64 and the machine was no longer helping him. Back to the ER he went. More tests and scans taking place. They heard fluid in his lungs and began treating him for pneumonia. My mom, who is Wonder Woman, got him to the hospital just in time against all his fussing. He was admitted and put on Bi-PAP. This has sadly become a common routine due to his COPD. This was all adding to the many emotions that were already floating around.
All this was going on when we were in the middle of preparing for Isannah’s return to in school learning. It was an exciting and sad time. She was finally ready to go to school and meet her new teachers but sad she would be leaving her remote teacher, whom she loves behind. The first day was a success and the smile on her face during pick up said it all. She was happy to be back in the building seeing friends and staff members faces. This motivated Giovanni even more and he became super excited to join his new teacher.
Day 2 for Isannah went well. During pick up Giovanni saw his new teacher and they spoke about his work, procedures and how excited they both were to see him in school on Thursday but that didn’t happen. A late email from Isannah’s ballet school shook all the plans we had. Someone in her school possibly tested positive for Covid. We had to explain to a very excited boy that he would not be going to school after all. He was heartbroken and literally dropped to his knees and cried. He didn’t even start and already he was not able to attend. We promised to make it up to him and do something special. At the time, it didn’t seem like that would work but things changed a little in the morning when they rejoined their remote classes. Familiar faces and voices kept their spirits up.
During all of this and the possibility that Covid was close once again, my father was still in the hospital. The days were getting longer and I was becoming more tired but we all just kept going. Drives to and from the hospital. Calls to the nurses and doctors. Communication with insurance and social workers. My mind was all over and about to explode but there was no time to crumble and fall back, all I could do was keep moving ahead.
Remember when I mentioned doing something extra special for the kids? Well, on my way back from another appointment I stopped by It’s Sugar. Giovanni’s most favorite thing is a 3.5 ft long sour power strip. He only had it once and he absolutely LOVED it. I knew this would lift his spirits so I brought home two. One for him and one for his sister. He was so unbelievably excited. All I wanted was to see him smiling like that and it worked. They were both happy.
I watched them as they enjoyed and giggled at the length of this sour strip. It wasn’t until I looked over at Isannah and saw her spitting something out. She said there was something hard in that bite and apologized for spitting it in her napkin at the table. When I looked over at her, I noticed that the cap of her front tooth was missing. We looked in the bite she discarded and noticed right in the center was her cap.
I did something to put a smile on their face but now I took away Isannah’s smile. Her tooth was missing from a few years back but a cap fixed it until now. At this moment. It started all over again. This was turning into another one of those days.
We spoke to her and made her understand we were going to get it capped again and she shouldn’t worry but I could feel her fear just by looking at her. She was missing part of her front tooth. Her adult tooth was missing once again and she had to deal with it all over until it was repaired.
I immediately called the dentist who won’t be in the office for weeks. I know she couldn’t wait that long. I had to make an appointment with someone she’s never seen before. I’m staying hopeful that all goes well. In the meantime, masks need to be worn at all times in school unless she’s eating so it won’t be so bad.
Right now I’m sitting back thinking about how so many things could go wrong, and seem lately to do just that, but that one thing that goes right at just the right time can change the outcome of it all. This is when you have to search within yourself to find a better way to see it all. Try your hardest even at your weakest, or at times when you are most afraid, you need to reach deep within and let the love that fills you, carry you to the next moment.
Before I end my rambling thoughts here, let me say that daddy is back home. Healing slowly with the help of oxygen and machines and a wife that tirelessly gives of herself.
Isannah is smiling again despite the missing piece of her tooth. Giovanni found his excitement again for his new first day back to school and the sun was shining all day.
We are going to continue to reach within and find the positives and hope they outweigh all the negatives that keep coming our way.
There are no words that can possibly express the happiness, love, support and all the emotions I felt today. This was Gio and Isa’s Miracles 10th year anniversary. This was the first time since Walk for Babies 2019 that we were able to come together with family and walk as we did every year since our miracles were born.
Today we laughed and cried.
Today was another year of gratitude, love and acceptance.
Today was about two truly amazing people, Giovanni and Isannah, who came into this world fighting and continued to fight to be here.
Today was to help the fight carry on so that one day it will be won.
Today and leading up to today, and thereafter, is to raise awareness and show generosity. To donate and help so many families like us going through some scary times to find hope as we did.
Today is about growth and finding strength even at your weakest. It’s about love. This is all about love. I am humbled by you.
Thank you to those who, no matter what, are there. Those who through all the uncertainty show up. Thank you for always being by our side, whether to the left or right you are there. This year wasn’t like the many years in the past but we made it happen and we did it our way.
Thank you to all our supporters. We couldn’t have done it without you. Please remember although we completed the walk today, you can still visit our page and donate. Thank you for putting up with me during this time of year and allowing me to take you on our journey.
There is still so much going on about schools opening, opting in or out, blended learning, fully remote, etc… There’s a lot of people that truly don’t have the children’s best interest at heart but you also have those that care so unbelievably much you can see it bursting from their eyes. We have been fully remote since last year when COVID all began. We wanted to make sure our families were safe and remained safe. We wanted to help others stay safe and stop the spread. We did our best like many others to be informed and follow doctors advice and listen to all that was going on. It was all so new and everyone had an opinion. People were harsh and became obnoxious, conspiracies and hoax rumors began. This all while we saw life fading. People dying right in front of our eyes. People we knew and loved. People we never even met but felt the loss deeply.
We saw hospitals being filled over capacity. Patients set up on the open streets surrounding the hospitals and in parking lots. Tents were set up, equipment was needed. We saw the tired passionate faces of medical staff and workers. First responders were working horribly extended hours too. We saw refrigerated trailer trucks pulling up to hospitals to store bodies of those who didn’t make it, to make room in hospitals for other patients. I can still these images playing in slow motion in my head. Visions that will never leave me.
Our eyes were permanently glued to the news as we cringed and watched in fear. The unknowing is the fear that builds so rapidly in our bodies. This feels like a lifetime ago but it was a year ago, and at the same time feels like only yesterday. And it’s still not over, but the relief I’m sure we all felt was when those refrigerated trailer trucks pulled away from hospitals never to return. Vaccinations becoming available.
Now we can continue our part by getting vaccinated. Helping those that can’t get to a vaccination site or can’t complete the proper protocols needed to get an appointment. We need to continue to help each other so that more lives aren’t rapidly taken away from us. So that hospitals aren’t once again over filled. We need to keep COVID away or help reduce the deathly scary symptoms. The vaccine doesn’t make it go away but it reduces the risks of hospitalization, being put on a ventilator, and helping to maintain the symptoms especially for our elderly and immunocompromised family and friends. Together we can help. There’s no room for selfishness here. We are one world under God. Let’s help him help us.
Now let me go back to why I began my ramble about schools. There has been a lot of confusion. A lot of lies being told both to families and school staff. I get it. No one knows and people are all trying to do what’s right. We are tired. We are scared for many reasons. As a parent there’s a lot of fear. Fear for our kids safety and health. Fear of making the wrong decisions for our children. Will they learn or regress? Are they so far away from real socialization that it’s taking a toll on their growth and well being. There are so many factors and feelings going on in my head as I’m sure many others are going through similar emotions.
I keep beating myself up trying to figure out what is right at this stage.
Vaccinations are more available now. We are fully vaccinated. There seems to be light coming in through all the linings that have been forming around us. The opt-in that was told to us in the very beginning is now available to families once again. Things are feeling a bit better but things aren’t over and not close to being over. But there is now hope. A hope that was fading is now coming to life.
I heard such horrible stories about schools and staff but I am thankful for the school my children attend. Thankful for all they have been doing to stay vigilant, a head of it all (even though it seems impossible), to keep us informed, truly caring about their students, even if it comes at a higher price at times. As much as I always want my kids in school, I am thankful that we had the ability to keep them home throughout all this time. We finally found a groove and consistency that worked for our family with the help of amazing teachers and staff. My fear of our kids lacking or not learning disappeared after seeing how excited they were about seeing their teacher. Hearing the excitement they still had for school.
After our first parent teacher conference, I truly got to see the love their teacher displayed for not only our kids but all her students. Then the second parent teacher conference hit and she spoke of our children’s growth, participation and all the wonderful things she shared thereafter. It opened my eyes to confirm how resilient children really are and how hard they keep trying and striving to do the best they can even in these crazy circumstances. Of course, we have the outbursts out of the school day. Little things you can see they have picked up as their way to cope and deal with all that is happening right before them.
How can they not? As a parent and an adult, I struggle and I try to find my own ways to deal with all that is going on so that my children do not suffer or pay for my actions.
We are all dealing with it the best way we can. Even struggling not only within ourselves but also with family members. Trying to figure out what is best for our family with different minds coming together can be hard. Agreeing isn’t always there but we look past that to see the bigger picture. Maybe the decision is one sided and needs getting used to or maybe we come together after a lot of “what ifs” but we do it.
It’s not without heavy hearts, and constant discussions pleasant or not, it’s what has to be done.
What helps is that I know my school has protocols in place that are being followed. I know teachers (who I call friends) truly care about their kids. They care so much that it hurts them when they can’t hug students and comfort their kids when it is needed but they have found other ways to get them through it. They are “not” babysitters but educators. They are the inspiration that keeps children looking up and moving forward. They are providers of tools that they need each day to reach higher. Each teacher in their own field provides so much for the mind and soul. They keep our kids happy and learning, moving and growing, singing and dancing. They are steps that help them climb to a new level. Sometimes while stumbling they provide support so they don’t fall and if they happen to fall, they make sure they know someone is always there while at school to help.
Not all teachers, principals, and school staff are the same but if you have that special group, you are one of the lucky few.
All this doesn’t mean I’m not afraid or my heart doesn’t sink several times a day, it just means we are getting through it all, we have to.
I’m grateful every day that I have someone at my side to be my strength when I’m crumbling. I am thankful that through it all he’s been a pillar of strength and flat out bluntness. That he’s researched every aspect of every situation and gave me the ability to see things more clearly. Even when I am frustrated and we see things differently, which definitely happens he allows me to feel it through. Who agrees anyhow, right? But for right now, it’s going to carry us and damn, it has to!
It’s the time of year when I ask family and friends to join us on our journey through March for Babies. It’s a personal, touch my heart pull at my strings kind of time. It’s meaningful and very emotional. It’s about strength, hope, faith and love. It’s about sharing losses with so many mom’s and families. While also sharing and honoring those that are growing and thriving each day. This year like last is very difficult for many of us. Last year with Covid increasingly growing and taking beautiful lives with it, I halted my fundraising efforts to allow people to grieve and grab onto all they could and needed to get by. I know we are still in this craziness of Covid, and I understand that you are limited in donating but I need to fulfill my duty in spreading the word and love to all that can hear me. I am sharing our story with you as I do every year. Most of you have taken the journey right along with us. Sometimes walking side by side with us or by your words of support, your donations and your outpouring of love. We thank you. This year we are going to try and walk that walk proudly and very far apart, if allowed. If this year continues to be done virtually we will be there as we did last year. We are honoring our sweet twins Giovanni and Isannah during this special time. Even though we are thankful for every moment of the day, even when they make me want to jump out the window, we support them. We honor them for their strength and determination to be here. To be present and live in this crazy world.
During this journey we remember infant lives taken too soon and we walk for them. We walk for friends and family who went through similar experiences as we did. We walk for the angels that are watching over us. We walk for friends and many others that go through it every day. We walk for hope that one day all babies win this fight.
Please read our story at https://www.marchforbabies.org/caramia626 and donate if you can. As little as a $1.00 helps. Share our page and believe in your heart that hope, LOVE and faith will bring us together.
Thank you for listening and taking the time to be with us. For those of you who have donated in the past, we appreciate you and thank you. If you have a company or work for a business that would like to sponsor our team, Gio and Isa’s Miracles, please let me know. Stay safe, healthy and well. Thank you!
In just a few hours we will say goodbye to 2020, and its ouster not a moment too soon.
Oh, how it all started with beautiful promises. Cheers with family and neighbors. Watching our block New Year’s ball drop from a street light pole as it has done for many years. A tradition I am thankful and happy to experience, and be a part of every year. The hugs that we freely gave and received. Embraced with a full heart of love. I miss those hugs. The closeness you felt when you were able to just take each other in and feel the love and appreciation in just a hug.
What happened to the promises of 2020? The new year we were all so excited to welcome came to a halt. Instead of watching life grow surrounded by family and friends, we were watching the news in fear as a virus blew through Italy like a wildfire spreading to all of Europe and taking so many lives with it. We watched in fear with clenched fits and jaw dropping stares while feeling an unfamiliar pain in our hearts.
Hoping it wouldn’t come to our side. Praying it couldn’t get to our home but here it was on our front door. A map of hope and travel became filled with red dots of pain and life lost. It seemed as though hope was disappearing and hate and divide were holding strong. People who wanted so much to just help. Show support. Protect themselves while protecting their family, friends and life. While others were in denial. Following those saying this is a false truth. Not caring for the wellbeing of human life and not protecting themselves and others.
There was so much pain. So many lives lost, from the healthy to the weak. This year has taken far too much from us but it stops. It has to stop!
I will bring in a New Year. I will welcome 2021 with hope, love, faith and courage in my heart that it will be a better year. I will dream a dream for my kids to grow surrounded by the loving arms of family and friends. To grow where they can experience the happiness a hug brings. The kindness that an encouraging touch brings. I want them to dream and know that all things are still possible. I pray that they can experience school in person with some amazing teachers that show just how much they are cared about every day.
I want life back. In 2020, not only did we learn pain like no other, and many firsts that could never be expected, but we learned the true value of family. We learned that if we come together we can build beautifully.
Praying that 2021 brings so many deserving hugs. Much belly filled laughter that causes your cheeks to ache from smiling so much. That family can reunite not on a screen but in your home standing only inches apart.
Wishing you all of that and so much more. Here’s to bidding 2020 adieu and welcoming 2021 with good health to you and yours.
Traditions are so important to me especially when they bring family together. Making special memories with my mom walking each procession every year. Bringing Giovanni and Isannah with me, so they too, can experience these moments with their Nonni and all the family that comes together. Moments that become memories that will grow each year as they do. Bringing Giovanni and Isannah to church with me to experience the beautiful services. I love knowing that they can listen to the messages and allow it to carry in their hearts. All the traditions big or small, they are lasting and remain in our heart and memory.
They lift us on the days when we are feeling down. They bring a smile to my face when I find it hard to smile on my own.
Traditions for and during the holidays. The same foods, the decorations, the family games, music and laughter that are always present during this time. Even when the year is hard and the fear is great, or when there is an empty place or two at the table, the comfort and love of the holidays bring us hope for a better tomorrow, all while embracing and appreciating what we have now. I look out and see faces staring back at me and all I can do is smile because this will be a new memory because of these traditions.
There is another new one that is very special and dear to my heart. It started when Giovanni and Isannah were just born. My childhood friend and her family, who we are blessed to have as neighbors too, came over at Christmas. They brought gifts for the kids and stayed with us for a little. This became a beautiful tradition that still happens every year because of the kindness and heart they share with us. All the kids open their gifts and share a moment together. We take family pictures by our tree and just feel the warmth and happiness of their company. They are friends who are family and that will never change.
This year was different thanks to 2020 but it didn’t change our tradition. Our friends made it happen again. Thankfully the weather held up and we were able to meet outside with masks and distance. We stayed safe and just had our special time. The kids played together and laughed. I stared out at them and couldn’t believe how big they all are now. How small they were when it all started. Their daughter wasn’t born yet but their younger son was always with us. Now their son has grown and their daughter took his place in our tradition.I still have the first gift that our friends brought for the kids. Two little picture Christmas Stocking ornaments. One pink one and one blue. To this day they hang proudly on our tree with a picture of Giovanni and Isannah in each one.
Traditions mean the world to me. I hope Giovanni and Isannah will feel the same and keep every memory in their heart so that they will carry these traditions as they grow each year.
We all have different beliefs but traditions are what you make them to be.
Create them, old or new, carry them and keep them going and growing.
On this Eve of Christmas, my mind drifts to family gatherings of years past, and my chest feels heavy. Remembering all the hugs we were able to receive and give. The laughs that filled the houses we visited. And the laughter of generations of family members all under the same roof. We could see the many expressions on their face. Faces that I have been missing. All these moments that turned into memories blurred my vision of what was directly in front of me today.
This year we took a hit, some more than others, but a hit was felt all around. The sadness and fear leading up to the holidays could make your body tremble. Knowing that people would be missing at the table. Less noise and laughter, fewer generations under one roof, made my chest close and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I had to take a moment to step away from my memories and be present. Yes, the holidays have felt a little lighter and leading up to today, Christmas Eve a little scarier, but we are still here. We are healthy and safe. Things won’t be the same but are they really ever exactly the same? We do the best with what we have every year because that is life. We want to bring family together for our children. We want them to experience all the magic of life and the holidays. We do our best to make things seem better than what they are at times.
Although our group was smaller than before, it was perfect. Being able to see Giovanni and Isannah sing, dance and laugh because of their Nonni is priceless. The way the kids light up when Nonna comes through the door is what the holidays are all about. This year we may be lighter but our home felt full. We are here. We are healthy and we are safe. There’s so much to be thankful for, and family is the most important of them all.
Wishing you and your family a magical Christmas. Hoping you can find the blessings that surround you and allow love to fill your heart.
Every year around this time Isannah performs in the Nutcracker for Cobble Hill Ballet. Leading up to this time she gets so excited and begins talking about what part she will play when she auditions. Every year she tells me how much closer she is to auditioning for the part of Clara. In her ballet school you have to be a certain age to audition for Clara. And boy has she been counting the years.
This year with all that is going on with COVID they are unable to perform the Nutcracker at the theater. Isannah was really sad about it but still happy that her ballet school was coming up with a plan to bring the Nutcracker to their students. Classes were given a dance to work on and Isannah’s class was doing the Spanish Dance.
She would sneak in her room and practice in private so she wouldn’t ruin the surprise for us. She was pretty giddy and the smiles were real as she left her room. Those smiles are definitely needed right now. Anything that can keep her smiling makes me happy. Her love for ballet is definitely one of them.
This year the costumes weren’t distributed. The girls in her class were able to create or use something they had that was red. They could make it all up as long as the costume made them feel comfortable and happy to perform.
It took Isannah quite a while to figure out what she was wearing and how she wanted to style her hair. It all finally came together and she was happy with her selection.
On the day of her performance, her nerves set in. She was nervous but in an excited happy way. She quickly got dressed and was ready for me to apply some make up. She had been looking forward to wearing red lipstick. Sadly, there was no point in wearing lipstick when her lips would be hiding behind a face mask.
The time had come to make our way to ballet. As we were walking out the door Isannah turned to me and said, “everyone usually comes to see me in the Nutcracker. Bubbe and Bubba come to visit all the way from Chicago. Nonna, Nonno and everyone else is excited to see me. This time no one will be there to take pictures, to cheer or to wave to me from the audience. It will just be me and my friends in class.” I could tell she was beginning to feel a little down. I quickly changed the subject to something that could bring her joy again. After all, her ballet school was recording the performance to be able to share it with family members and friends. We are all very much looking forward to watching her performance together.
This year we were missing a lot of family. The excitement of the audience cheering. The waves and screams of support and love. The rushing around to get her to all her shows on time and the many flowers she would be presented with.
We missed a lot but we still had a happy ballerina working hard to perform her heart out which she did.