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.

What are you carrying?

I’m sitting on my stood thinking about the many memories that lead me to where I am now. Contemplating on life the way it was and how it is today. I feel like I’ve lived worlds within worlds. If that even makes sense.

Sometimes I get confused and my memories are clouded. I wonder with all that I went through as a child and what I continued to go through in each stage of my life brought me here.

Sometimes I remember things differently then what really happened. Is it because I’ve blocked some memories out of my mind or put them away so they wouldn’t hurt so much? Maybe it was to help me become stronger and prepare me for what is going on in my life today. 

When memories come to surface in full force they can be very scary and make you pull back into a shell you worked so hard to come out of.

We find ways to deal with different emotions. Even though you are unaware of what is happening to those emotions your mind does. Now comes the tricky part, when those memories resurface it is attached to feelings you weren’t able to fully feel because your mind found a way to hide them.  At that moment you are caught off guard. You ask yourself if you are strong enough now to deal with it. After all, you are older and wiser. You have gone through lifetimes and are still standing. So why does it still hurt? Why does your mind play tricks on you?

I have to stop for a moment and pull back. Think about all that has passed and what is right in front of me.

I’m a mom of two amazing kids. I have a family and a home.

There are some eye-opening kids books that I have read with my family. One particular one comes to mind. It is about an invisible bucket we all have. When that invisible bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty we are sad. If you do something to fill a person’s bucket you are both happy. It’s a beautiful book with a wonderful message to help kids be kind to one another. Help when it’s needed and to understand feelings not only their own but others as well.

As you grow, you feel the weight of that bucket on you in a different way. The weight you are carrying around is the pain of others that you collected to help them feel better. Combined with the hurt you are carrying makes it so heavy it brings you to your knees. This is when God takes that weight and helps you move again. Sometimes you don’t realize just how much you are carrying until it’s too late. You don’t realize that you have tucked away some really heavy things that you were afraid to carry without even knowing it was breaking pieces and making holes inside of you. It’s like your inside is struggling with the outside. You form protective barriers but what’s already inside continues to grow making it harder to heal. The barrier doesn’t allow others to get close or try to help. It’s a never-ending battle you are losing. The only way to stop the cycle is to understand it is there. Confront those feelings that have been tucked away. Let others in even though you are afraid of getting hurt again. You need to trust in yourself that you are where you need to be and that you are amazing. You need to know that only you are the person you are and there is no one more suited for your heart, you body and your soul then you. You are your own protected shell. We break. We crumble. We pick up the pieces and start bandaging the pieces back together. Some pieces will no longer fit together as it did before. You may see some light shining through those spaces but that’s ok. You are allowing the light to shine through you. That light will help lighten the load and help you bring light to the darkness you experience at times.

We are never completely healed and we will feel hurt sometimes like no other but we are here. We have the gift of life. There are no exchanges or returns. We just need to know how to see the beauty that surrounds us including the beauty inside of you. When you look into the mirror the reflection you see is your gift. Smile you will receive the most perfect smile in return.

Sometimes…

Sometimes you just need to smile through it all to make sure your children don’t see the fear or sadness. Sometimes you smile even when you are hurting because you want to always make those you love smile too. Sometimes it seems like you have it all together but you are holding on to a thin rope that feels like it will break at any moment. Sometimes you try so much for so many and can’t see that you are only good to them when they are receiving something they need from you. The calls stop for a while until something is needed and then you hear a hello. 

Sometimes you just want people to know you are tired not only physically but mentally too. Sometimes people see riches and material rather than your struggle and dedication to get what you’ve work so hard for. The riches I have is not money it’s the children I am blessed with. The husband that loves all of me. Not when it’s convenient for him or when I look the prettiest. He loves me and all my faults which are many. I’m rich in the life I live through faith, love, hope, honesty and being humble. I am rich for the family that reaches out to me just to say hello. For my friends that no matter the distance or days that go by I know they will always be there for me.

I am blessed that no matter what I do or the failure I feel I’ve done, God will never give up on me and for that I am rich.  

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.

Goodbyes are hard

Sometimes it’s just unbearable to say goodbye even when you know it’s the right thing to do. There’s a pain that fills not only your heart, which is already breaking, but also your body and causes an ache in your soul. You feel it. It’s there. You know the time is coming but the closer it draws near the harder it becomes. You know it’s the right thing to do. You know it will help someone feel better and no longer feel pain but the burning pain inside isn’t going away. Do you continue to be selfish because it makes you feel better or do you say goodbye so there’s no more pain on the other side? 
The thing is love is stronger than you can imagine. Love is what will always grow. The memories you shared through love every step of the way will help you be stronger than you think you are. Sometimes saying goodbye will always be hard.

Good-bye 2nd Grade

I’m sitting in my front room just listening to the kids each play their instruments on different levels in our home and it hits me. Another school year has come and gone. How did that happen? How could my 2nd graders become 3rd graders?

I remember the first day of 2nd grade. I was so nervous for them. I was worried about the new teachers, new classmates and experiences they would have. I was nervous about the transition from 1st to 2nd grade and the curriculum that would take them through the year. As a mom, you hope teachers that will be in their life five days a week are teachers that will nurture, help their minds grow and help them with the tools they need to carry them along their school journey. It is a moms dream to see the happiness on their child’s face when walking out of school. See their interaction with teachers as they say goodbye and are dismissed. These are things plus many more that run through my head. As a parent, you always want the best experiences for your kids but also the experiences that they learn from. Even bad experiences and how they are able to handle them is a learning moment.

Now these two growing twins filling my house with crazy sounds, enjoying their summer and figuring out things on their own. Telling stories about their teachers and things they miss about 2nd grade and yet, it hasn’t been a week.  I couldn’t be prouder of them for being the little people they are today. I can’t believe they are going to 3rd grade. I can’t believe these two premature little peanuts at 4lbs 12oz and 2lbs 10oz are blooming and growing right before my eyes.

I am humbled by the experiences. The kindness the teachers and staff not only showed my two miracles but showed me as well. It was a wonderful 2rd grade at PS32. I’m hoping the new school year will follow the beautiful experiences we’ve had.

He we come 3rd grade. I mean here they come!

Schools of hope

I wrote a passage in 2015 when the kids were starting a new school. I was all nerves not only for them, their experiences but for me and knowing if we made the right decision to put them in PS32. You hear so many different stories about schools and from what you remembered growing up it wasn’t always the best but the principal changed and so did some of the staff. No matter what the stories were or what was being told you knew you were starting your own story. I am thankful that I did. We have been very fortunate with the teachers we’ve had. Some of them were the gems I still hold dear. When you carry a teacher in your heart for years after your child has had them it truly says a lot about that teacher and the impact they made on your family. A principal of a school carries the heart of a school. Her arms extend and covers each student with compassion, love and strength. She is supposed to lift the staff up as they lift her up in harmony for all the students attending the school. I’m thankful and truly feel blessed that my kids are thriving. They enjoy going to school every day. They are sad when they are sick and have to miss a day or two. That shows me that we made the right decision to keep them right where they are. You will always hear stories that will persuade you in a different direction but before you let the stories of others determine what needs to be done for your family, talk to the staff, visit the school and see if a school is right for you.
I can only say from my experience and the story we are creating. It’s been an amazing year. I can’t believe it will all be over soon and we will have to start again with new teachers and hope that the light of teachers in the past continue to light the way for the future. Thank you to all those amazing teachers that hold places in our hearts. You know who you are. Thank you for taking care of our kids and for always making them feel safe and pushing them to strive. May the weeks leading up to summer break be beautiful, blossoming and loving weeks. 
Here’s to all the amazing teachers out there that keep getting up every morning and being present. Thank you!

Don’t stop writing

Every morning you wake is a continued page to a story you have been writing. Sometimes a new chapter begins. Sometimes you are adding to a chapter you are trying to end. Whatever your story, it is yours alone to freely write as you choose. In each book things at times are forced without your permission, which forces your story to move in a different direction. Don’t stop writing. Keep moving as difficult as it may seem at the time. You just move that pen and see where it takes you.

Don’t ever let hurt, pain and confusion force you to put down that pen. You may want to stop for a moment just to be but then you raise that pen once again and keep writing. Others may help you lift that pen if you are feeling to weak so you can continue your journey and that’s ok as long as you keep writing.

Each one of us is creating our own book. It will be colorful yet dark. It will be light at times and then too heavy that it literally takes your breath away. At times, it will feel like you are floating on the letters of love. Experience it all and allow the pages to turn. One day when you are gone that book will tell your story and your life will move through all those you’ve touched.