Until we aren’t

I needed to get away from everything today. Just needed to clear my mind and try to fight this lingering migraine that keeps wanting to attack me. I try my remedies and everything that’s worked in the past minus the medication for my migraines which I was unable to get refilled. So I decided to take a walk along the main roads this morning thinking I could hear some form of life other than what we’ve been experiencing on the inside.

Each step I took, each car that passed helped me take in everything that’s going on today and is going on in this world. Each time a car passed I felt like it’s lifting or helping me move past another obstacle that I’ve been putting myself through. I’m hoping this walk will not only release the tension in my head but will also help me feel a little bit lighter.

As I make my way back home, well, actually not my home which is in Brooklyn where I really want to be, but to a home or to a place I’ve called home for the last few weeks. A place that is usually filled with many different family members, many different voices and many different activities, laughter and screams. However, now it’s just the same sounds. The same voices. The same life and that’s all okay because that’s what is keeping us safe. Being surrounded by some family not just my own has  been really helping each day pass.

Sometimes you just need to get away from it all even the ones you love and just take a moment for yourself especially when you feel yourself going in a direction you don’t want to take. It’s not like everything that’s going on with everyone else is less than what I’m feeling but this is just how I’m feeling right now and I needed to take that breath. You need to take that moment. As I feel myself getting closer to the location where I’ve been staying, I feel a little bit of tension still building up. What I felt I was leaving behind while I was walking away from the place is coming back and I don’t know why.

So I just kept walking and didn’t want to turn back. I got pretty far when I realized the nausea was kicking in from my migraine that’s been trying to attack me. It’s kind of embarrassing that I had to step off the side of the road to throw up a little. Thankfully it wasn’t on anyone’s property because I had no way of cleaning it up. At least it helped relieve some more strain on my head.

It was a long walk and I’m heading back now. There’s so much beauty so many blessings that surround us. But when you go through times like this even as short as it’s been, it clouds the views of the many beautiful blessings that are out there.

All I can do is try and clear my eyes and kind of get back to where I need to be. Just embrace all of this and continue doing what I’ve been doing. These are all just my emotions, my feelings. I’m not putting them on anyone. I’m not trying to say that mine are more important than yours. I’m just saying I need to get back to where I need to be. I should feel very blessed that I have a place that we can call home right now. Be with family we wanted to be with for so long. The kids have room to play and explore. They are able to experience growth with their cousins. Create bonds and grow together which doesn’t happen often.

I’m taking all of this in and focusing on the positive and all the good. But I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss my home, my Brooklyn, my neighborhood, my other family, my parents. Knowing that even though we’re 12 hours away it makes the biggest difference. Sometimes when you’re inside and you see the walls that are surrounding you it makes it easier knowing that those are your walls, your home that you built with your family.

I could see it in the kids face. We’ve had discussion times because things get really hard for them. Then they are fine just kids playing and enjoying their time again. Within a few moments I can see it again. In their face, the sadness. I could hear them and when they come to me and say how much longer will this be? When can we go back home? I miss our house. I miss our rooms. I feel a little more pain in my heart. I don’t know how much longer this will be but I try to always keep an open communication with my children let them understand we are all in this together. We’re not the only ones experiencing this. There are so many people around the world that are going through the same thing, if not worse. We have our health. We have a home, shelter and food. We just need to keep focusing on the positive. Know that as scary as it is, we are right where we are supposed to be until we aren’t.

Find your glue

Where to even begin? My fingers are becoming weak just thinking of all the emotions I have bottled up and need to type down on this blank canvas. All I can do is type my thoughts as I feel them and hope they make sense or even allow you to see inside my heart. 

I know this time is difficult for all of us. We are all feeling and reacting differently to what’s been going on in the world today. What I can say is fear is the biggest part that is being played. When fear becomes involved things and reactions are dealt with differently than what it would be on an average day. And that’s ok. You have every right to be feeling what you are feeling. That is your heart. 

For me being a parent during this time has my shell of a body cracking slowly around me. I’m doing my best to keep those cracks from fully opening in fear that once my shell shatters it will become hard to glue those pieces together. I can’t let that happen. The glue that usually seals those spaces are the little giggles I hear from my children. A kind gesture along the way. A hug from my mom. Holding the people I love dearly in my arms. Tiny blessings that surround me. The touch of someone you love. Your child’s expression when they feel a sense of accomplishment knowing they did something they set out to do. There are many little things that seal my cracks to keep me whole. Sadly, with all that is going on around us some of those things aren’t easily achieved. The light begins to shine through the cracks and that scares me. 

I try taking deeper breaths more frequently but that just makes me feel sick. 

I’m afraid. Yes, that’s it. I’m afraid of failing my children. I am worried that I won’t be able to provide all they need. I’m afraid that not having “me” time somehow will cause my judgement or emotions to shift. Shift in a more irritable manner. I don’t want to get upset easier. I don’t want to react with anger. I want to keep showing them no matter what difficulties come our way that we can make it all work. How do I do that when I’m fighting with that same thing within me?

Right now I am sitting outside in what little sun we have listening to the sounds of nature and my kids playing in the background and that softens me. It allows me to take my next step. This is it. Me trying to put into motion what I am feeling to help seal some more cracks and lift a little of the weight that I’m carrying. 

Now here’s a little craziness in my head for you. I look at the kids having fun in the backyard and all I can do is think, please God do not let them get hurt. Please allow them to have all the fun they can enjoy without injury. I want to continue to hear the laughter, the giggles, the silliness and the screams but I don’t want to hear them cry from falling or hurting. I keep repeating silently, please don’t get hurt. Please don’t get hurt. We can’t go to the hospital. We can’t go to the doctor’s. We’ve been working so hard staying quarantined. This can’t be the thing that makes it all worse. I’m not only thinking that when we are all outside playing. It’s all the time. In the house when they are doing their normal activities. Just running or climbing to get things makes me repeat those words. 

What’s even crazier is I say that to myself as well. As I am doing my daily activities or if I am trying to exercise. If I am running with the dog or even just cooking, I keep thinking, please don’t get hurt. I can’t slip. It’s a fear that’s very present in my head now. All this because of fear. Fear that we won’t be able to get the services they need because of COVID-19 or the fact that we will bring COVID-19 into our home. We are all worried but the worry has been intensified because of my daughters past respiratory issues. 

Seeing things so differently now. You use to feel so much stronger and secure of your knowledge to protect your child, kissing those booboos away didn’t seem so hard but now it seems those things could get worse fast and you become in a more aggressive protected mode. I’m not sure if that makes sense but I know I am feeling more sensitive to possible injuries. 

All I can do is what I’ve always done before COVID-19. Make sure both my kids know just how much I love them. How much they are loved and continue to support them. Make sure they know they are safe and we will continue to do our best to protect them but to also understand what is going on and be honest with them. Have the door of communication open so they feel safe to come to us. Help them explore outlets. 

I gave both my children a journal so they can write down how they are feeling. How the change in routine is affecting them? Do they understand why we are in quarantine? So many questions for little minds to explore. 

We will continue to all learn and understand together. This is new to us all. Let’s remember to soften our shell but keep the glue close by just in case. Hold on to the love that fills us even on days where we don’t feel it’s there. Dig deep and you will see all those memories that found their way into your heart and use that to help. In those spaces that is where love lives. 

I know we can all do it. I know we can all get through this. We have to. 

COVID-19 Emotions, Fears, Life

There are so many emotions out there and no place to actual put them. Different things are being said by different individuals. Media is blowing up and emotions are running wild about COVID-19. 

As a parent, you want to do all you can to protect your children. Even though you may not know what that is, you do your best to go with what you are feeling inside. 

What you are feeling may be different from what your partner is feeling. You try desperately to agree for your children but that doesn’t always come easy. The one thing you do agree on is the well being and safety of your children. Days become tough but so is all that is going on in the world around us. 

When fear overcomes ration things can turn ugly and in most cases they do. What do you need to do to bring you back to where you were? Now let’s rewind a bit.

Several days ago my husband decided to keep our children out of school. I was not happy with the decision and reluctantly went along with it. I felt the kids would be missing special and important activities in school. I knew they worked really hard on plays and projects. Things were happening that I didn’t want them to miss out on. It was becoming harder to protest when you were seeing all that was happening around the world getting closer to where you live. 

We decided to have a grown up discussion with our children. Although it was hard for them at first, they realized we want what’s best for them and with our daughters respiratory issues in the past we thought it was best to keep them home. 

That decision was difficult for me with of all the obligations I had lined up. I knew that keeping them home meant keeping me from fulfilling my duties at their school. I’m not good with pulling away from my commitments and letting people down. In fact, I strive to do what is best and helpful to others. That being said, what was helpful was keeping myself risk free for my children. 

Several parents had their own opinions about what I was doing and that was ok. I realized it wasn’t about them or what others thought, it is about me and my family.

We had a good support system and are blessed with amazing teachers too. Teachers who checked in and responded to emails. They helped send assignments along the way. At one point, a teacher even spoke to my daughter. It was a beautiful thing. The kids felt happier knowing they were still a part of the school activities in some way. It felt right and everything was falling in to place, at least in my mind.

Now for all those going back and forth with the decision to know what is right, just listen to your gut. What your heart is telling you to do. Do it. Only you will truly know what is best for your family. 

Remember what is going on around you. It’s not just targeting older people. It’s targeting everyone. No matter religion. No matter race. It is a virus that everyone will and can get unless they are distancing themselves. Staying vigilant and be safe.

International Women’s Day!

Today is International Women’s Day. Today is the day women are celebrated around the world. One thing is, I celebrate the women in my life every day. I grew up with some pretty amazing women. One and foremost being my mom. Her love, dedication, determination and loyalty to our family goes beyond all measures. She is a woman of strength, heart and love. No matter the situation or the fear she feels she did her best to always show her strength to reassure us that we are all ok.

As a child growing up, I could see her heart by looking in her eyes and still do. Maybe at times, I didn’t fully understand her beauty and perhaps at times, I didn’t show the respect she deserved but she always lifted me up and always held me tight no matter what I was doing in life, to her directly or indirectly. She was my mom. She was a superwoman to me. She was bigger than life. Little did I know that this woman would not only continue to be my hero but she is also my best friend. I can still see the love just by looking in her eyes. The only thing now her eyes show many emotions. They show the years that passed. The scares of heartache and loss. The fear of a husband in and out of the hospital. The marks of life are defined greatly but through it all her eyes show the beauty and love looking right back at you.

Today I celebrate her. Today I celebrate all the women that touched my life. From family, teachers and friends.

I was blessed and giving a second mom, my mother-in-law, who shows love has no boundaries or conditions. She embraces all that is given to her good or bad and allows her heart to take over and spill all that heart onto all of us. She gives direction and a helping hand to get us where we need to be.

The women teachers I remember as a child that touched me, I take them with me in interactions I have or situations I am in. Teachers that are now teaching my children which I’ve grown to love.

Friends that mean the world to me and have found a place in my heart as family. We all have beautiful memories that carry us each day through the path of life, scary at times, but we take them with us. I’m celebrating all of you! In a world where there is growing fear and hate. Choose to celebrate the love, admiration, kindness, and heart that we have all been shown and send it out in the world.

Hoping that I am a woman that touched someone that will help them along their journey.

Making teacher friends

It’s very rare when you find people you connect with and when that person(s) are teachers in your children’s school says so much about the school they attend. When your children start a new school it’s always scary but when it’s time for the parent to research and get them there, that’s another story. It always seems so overwhelming in the beginning but it doesn’t end there. Each new year is another set of worry. Worrying about their new teachers, classmates and overall structure of the classroom. As a parent, the worrying never ends. With the help of teachers and staff the weight lessons. Beautiful bonds are formed and the reassurance that your children are safe helps get you through another school day.

It’s very rare when a true bond of friendship forms with a teacher. You think that when the year ends you move on and a new teacher comes in. Knowing no matter where your children go. No matter how old your children are or what class they are in a friend you made along the way continues and your children never forget them either.
Your heart smiles when you see your child still run up to their past teachers. You know at that moment they touched their lives in a way they hold dear, and for that I am grateful.

I got to enjoy the company of a few of those teachers and that made me smile. Thank you for the laughs.

Rock 101

After months of Friday band rehearsals the day was here and it was Rock 101’s first concert. I knew bits and pieces to what might be performed. I heard Isannah and Giovanni practicing in their rooms from time to time but never would I have imagined what I saw and heard on that stage today. It was amazing. We walked into the venue and through the doors was the stage. When I looked up I saw my sweet girl seated at the keyboard. Then I looked just slightly to the right and saw my handsome boy on the drums. I had to do a triple take and a WHAT? I didn’t know he would be playing drums as he plays the electric guitar. It was such a surprise and I couldn’t contain the excitement I felt. The kids knew just by looking at me how proud I am of them. We exchanged smiles and I held back and just watched them. 
The count down began and instruments and singing started. My eyes filled with tears and I couldn’t help but shed a few. They were tears of happiness and love. It was a feeling that hugged my body. There before me were my twin 9 year olds doing their thing and shining brightly on that stage. I was beaming with pride and joy. All their hard work was for this moment. A moment I have now placed in my heart and tucked away to enjoy through the years to come. They rocked each song and instrument. They sang in a group.They sang solo and they played. Giovanni started off on the drums and then as the song ended and another began he switched to his guitar. Isannah held her ground on the keys and also started up a song on her own. I felt like I was at a live show in an arena with thousands of fans chatting their name. It was great. 
I couldn’t be prouder of my two miracles. I see them grow every day. I see them blossoming into the young beautiful children before me but tonight I saw them shine. I saw their heart and dedication on that stage. The crowd cheered and asked for one more song. Encore, encore, encore and they played.What an exciting night! 
It was a beautiful moment but what made me smile so much more was knowing my parents and friends were in the crowd enjoying this moment right along with us. 
Way to go, Rock 101! 

Almost 9

January 14 is slowly creeping up on me and that means it will be 9 years for two of the most amazing miracles I experienced in my life. Known as twin A and B in the NICU where they started life outside my womb. We watched these two little beings fighting for their life with wires attached to them and breathing machines to help them. As small as they were, fighters they became from day one. Never giving up on life. Determined to live this life and officially meet their parents and family. They were here and they were going to stay. I am thankful everyday that they continued to fight. Every day was a challenge but together we all grew and experienced God’s love.

Now we are here just days before their 9th birthday and I can’t help but go back to that time and those emotions. My insides feel achy and warm, if that even makes sense. I try to focus on the life we have in front of us. All the amazing milestones they continue to reach and climb. I focus on the light they shine in my life. They have been lighting the way as they light their own paths. It’s been beautiful to see them blossom and become the kind, empathetic, talented and courageous young people they are today. 

That doesn’t mean it’s been smooth sailing with rainbows and sparkles. There’s been tears and plenty of them. Stress like no other and rain so windy and strong that knocks you over but these only help you see the vibrate beautiful colors of the rainbow that will always come after.  

We all go through many things in our lives. This is my journey. Our journey and we continue to fumble, trip, fall and then climb all together. We may each do it at different times but we always manage to get back to where we need to be together. 

9 years strong. 9 years of beating hearts and smiling faces. 9 years and counting. My world changed drastically 9 years ago but I wouldn’t change it for anything in this world. All we can do is be, live and let this life take us to where we will always be meant to be.

Open room soon to be 2020

All I hear, as I lay alone in the open room is the sound of waves crashing, birds singing and the calm of the breeze surrounding me. I look out into the open water and my mind drifts back to the first time we came here with the kids and how tiny they were. Sporting their onesies with pampers slightly sticking out of each leg hole while running excitedly in and out of each room. The panic that passed while they ran across the marble floor mixed with the excitement that they are running at all. If I close my eyes, I can still hear their little voices and giggles. I can see Giovanni’s flowing curls as he bounced about and Isannah’s full-face smile. When I open my eyes those memories feel so long ago but at the same time just like it was yesterday.

Now they are running around soon to be 9 years olds and holding conversations with one another. Playing together and just being who they are supposed to be. One is an avid reader with a heart for baking, making music, dancing and acting. The other is a puzzle hungry solver, a creator at heart, a singer and guitar playing rock star. They have many more strong talents, interests and they are learning more as time passes.

Being a mom has changed a lot in my life. It changed how I react and has taught me how my words and reactions affect others especially two small humans. It’s shown me how much more love I had inside. Love that is endless and unconditional. A love that hurts so much more when your little one is sad no matter what the reason. It’s a feeling within you that aches at every corner of your heart with both pain and joy. It also brings to surface the breakdowns, fear, confusion and lack of confidence when questioning yourself about everything you are doing. You learn and grow as your children learn and grow. Although, we do it in different ways, we grow all the same.

Parenting is not easy and comes with so many mixed emotions but those difficulties and emotions are worth all of it when you look at the miracles you made before you. Words will never fully reflect all that is but once you feel that feeling you will know.

Now back to the open room I am laying in while listening to the amazing sounds of life around me. The wind that blows through each open door and wraps around each corner while making it’s final swirl around my body as if to hug me before blowing out of another open door, reminds me that life is strong.

I hear the sounds of my children’s voices coming up from the elevator. I know they are near. My heart begins to beat a little faster and my body feels the warmth of their love. I carry them with me wherever I go and will take me into the New Year.

Soon it will be time to say goodbye to 2019. Leaving the year behind us but not the love, the knowledge, family and friends. Those things will always come with us into the New Year. Here’s to many love filled experiences, challenges that will test you, faith that will carry you and hope that all things are possible in 2020.

My Cuddler Interview

I had the honor of talking about what I do in the NICU as a cuddler and why I decided to do it. I was so nervous leading up to this moment and my body was shaking but I tried to focus on the babies and it helped me stay strong. Years ago I would never be able to talk in front of someone but this day I spoke from my heart and then when the question was asked about my kids my voice began to shake and my eyes filled with tears.
The day I received this I couldn’t hear it. It took a day to sit there with my husband and listen. I was so nervous and my cheeks were tingling and I felt I was turning red.
As we were listening by husband’s eyes began to fill with tears. I’m not sure if you saw the segment or heard it but I’m finally able to share it with you. Don’t make fun of all my singing throughout the segment, I was nervous.


abcaudio.com/aw_nicucuddler090919/



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Plane rides, wedding and more

12.4.2019

It’s been an interesting few weeks filled with airports, airplanes, family and friends. It all began with a quick but not really quick flight to LA for a love filled wedding. Although, there was a little delay and the flights would be many hours long coming from one end of the US to the other, it was all worth it to see the happiness on the children’s faces. It was amazing to watch love grow. To see the growth between families come together within a short period of time. God works his wonders in many areas but I saw the beauty of his love that day. Big steps were made not only within our family but walking along side too.

Even with a three-hour difference when it was time to return and goodbyes were being said it was then that I realized even more how resilient our children are. We returned home past midnight on Sunday and although dragging, they were up and ready for school the next day.

We had a couple catch up, preparing days before our next plane ride and adventure. This time it was not as far but still as tiring. The kids were ready to begin another family, love filled adventure so off we went.

Once off the plane in Chicago my arms began to tingle with excitement from all the hugs I so much love to give. Thanksgiving indeed is a day of thanks but it’s the greatness of family and friends that come together to share in that thanks that fills your bucket to the very top. The love that over pours when you are with family you don’t see as often and the sounds of cousins filling every room is what it’s all about.

Even with the four plane rides and time changes in two weekends, the kids never once complained and allowed the love they felt carry them on each trip.

It’s those moments we make that we remember and cherish. Those memories that will carry us until the next time or be present when things don’t feel as happy. Those moments will lift us until the next time.

I can’t deny I am tired not only my mind but my body but I can say all of the joys I experienced in such a short period of time gives me the strength I need and I was lacking.

Remember while you are planning your next adventures, even at the time you get a little frustrated, focus on the end result and the memories you will take with you. Live the life you are meant to have. Enjoy the love that is around you. Sometimes you don’t see it all but you will feel it if you allow yourself to.