Goodbye summer camp

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

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

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!

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. 

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.

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

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.

 

Reading Harry Potter

My husband reads pages from Harry Potter right before bedtime to G and I. If we are running late with our bedtime routine we skip the night but tonight everything was right on schedule. The kids both snuggled in their beds while he began reading where they left off. I love the silence and just the sound of my husband’s voice very animated and alive. He changes his voice and tone with every character he reads. I just sit back in my room and listen with a smile.

After they were done reading, it was time to go in each room and say goodnight. When I walked into Isannah’s room she immediately told me she wishes she was a girl witch like in Harry Potter. I asked her why and she responded by saying, “If I were a girl witch then I would be able to have powers and go back in time to where Nonna’s mom was alive so I could meet her. I think it would be a nice idea to meet Nonna’s mom. I never met her but I think about her a lot. I think that would make Nonna happy.” I just smiled and agreed with her. I said it would make a lot of people happy and she would be so happy to meet you too.
Just then she said, “I’m just happy Nonna’s mom, the white butterfly, always comes by us.”
I gave Isannah a hug with tear filled eyes. That was so sweet and tender and I truly was happy to hear that from her.
If reading Harry Potter brings out this kindness even more, I hope the books last forever.