This weekend is coming to an end and now I can sit back, take it all in and exhale. It was a beautiful weekend that began with Isannah’s rehearsal. Then family and friends came together to watch Isannah light up the stage with all the amazing talent at the Ballet. My husband and I were able to enjoy time in the city in between shows. It was as though we were years back during our dating phase when we were able to just be. Enjoy the city, lunch and each other’s company. It was a little “us” time.
Then time was passing and another show was getting ready to start. The excitement was real and my eyes began to water once again. I could stare at her all night long. Performing, smiling behind the mask and showing so much emotion and excitement through her eyes. She was in her element and I was the beaming proud mama in the audience.
When the show was over we saw some more family and a special friend that came out to support her. It was beautiful coming together. Isannah came out all smiles and met with all that were present. Asher, Isannah and I drove back and talked all about the shows. She was tired but excited. Still flying on that performance high but she was slowly coming down.
We arrived home to find a little Christmas mishap with the dog and our window decorations or lack of them.
Isannah rested a little before she and I headed out to pick up Giovanni who was with my parents visiting Santa and enjoying some popcorn at my father’s club. Isannah and I pulled up and saw the snow filling the sky from a snow machine for the special event. We could hear the happy live Christmas music from the car and once we opened the door and got out we were surrounded by smiling faces, laughs that you could hear from a mile away, the smells of hot chocolate, buttered popcorn and cotton candy led the way. The sounds and smells of Christmas were hugging us as we walked.
The closer we got the more we could see him. The loud sounds of Santa with the biggest belly laugh and horses moving around towards him. I guess reindeer and a sleigh couldn’t walk the streets of downtown BK.
I looked past the big red and white suit and saw that sweet boy face in the middle of it all. Giovanni was smiling and skipping around with snowflakes in his hair. He ran over to us with excitement on his face and hands filled with treats to give to his sister. He showed her around while Nonno and Nonna were making their way towards me. It was a beautiful scene like in an old Christmas movie but while looking up it seemed as though someone shook the snowglobe and we were all in it.
The snow is still filling the air around us. The kids danced with Nonna and Nonno and we all hugged before walking away with jingling Santa scarfs, treat bags and yummy popcorn.
It was a beautiful weekend which ended as it began with smiles and family.
Today and leading up today has been a wind whirl of emotions but one emotion that is consistent is joy. Overwhelming joy and awe. I am in awe of Isannah and her dedication. Tonight is the big full cast dress rehearsal of the Nutcracker in the city. She has been dedicated since day one, never missing a rehearsal even when there was a huge and very important family event, she knew she needed to be at rehearsal. She didn’t want to let the cast and teachers down.
She loves ballet but gets truly excited beyond words to be able to dance in the Nutcracker. She practices at home often and she even remembers other dancers’ moves, especially Clara. One of her dreams is to play Clara in the Nutcracker. I’m sure with her hard work and continued love for ballet she will get there.
Tomorrow is the big day and she is in both performances. It’s always emotional when I see her on stage but when I know she is doing what she loves most, my heart beams with joy. There is no holding back the tears. As much as I try not to cry, tears sneak out and it’s a moment like no other. Isannah will be performing in the city! What a big girl. What an amazing ballerina. What a beautiful heart.
Today is Character Day at school. This is the last Character Day at their school and the last year of elementary. I’ve been looking back at all the photos throughout the years of Character Day costumes and I can’t help but cry. Tears of joy and sadness. Tears of just all the emotions building up inside screaming to come out.
We had superheroes, animals, the cast of Frozen, Harry Potter and so many more. Each time they were proud and so excited to show school spirit. They were so happy to take part in such an amazing tradition. Each time we enjoyed putting ideas and thoughts into motion. It’s been such a fun ride celebrating in school with their friends, teachers and staff. This year, today, was no different. They beamed with excitement leading up to the day. They had a few changes in their costume plans but after it all they each chose the best outfits to wear for their personality. It was no more buying of costumes, instead it was putting together what they had to make it work while adding their own flare.
Today my daughter is a French artist from Paris. A place she can’t wait to visit. While my son is Mets pitcher Jacob DeGrom. After all, he’s been practicing to become a pitcher and perhaps one day he will play for the Mets.
Maybe this mom is just extremely emotional today or maybe it’s that I look at these two and feel with all of me how much I love them. How very proud I am of them. Maybe it’s because they came into this world fighting so hard to be here and here they are. Stronger than ever.
They are my beautiful miracles. My growing life.
I look at them and can’t believe my husband and I made these two beautiful hearts. What a gift.
This is about giving thanks and realizing those you need the most are placed in your path at the right times. These past few days I felt God’s presence in the hugs and faces of those that mean so much to me.
We all go through emotionally draining days, both mentally and physically. Sometimes while you are going through those days it’s hard to see things clearly and fear has a tendency of blinding you and making things worse. Having the support of family and friends brings you back to the surface and allows you to see clearer and helps confirm you are doing the right thing.
This is to the very small few that have listened and gone through this with me. For understanding and allowing my heart to speak it’s truth without holding back. From pulling me back and forth and then back again. It’s for helping to pick me up from the floor but allowing me to kneel carefully to pray.
This morning God’s presence was with someone very special. You wake up with so many emotions and crazy thoughts in your head and then suddenly a call comes in and changes things for the better. Sometimes that one thing, big or small, changes your life’s direction. All you can do is say thank you and hope the person on the other end knows just how much you appreciate them.
I want to say thank you for the events leading up to today.
Summer is coming to an end and a new school year begins. This year the kids will be in 5th grade. Give me a second to let that sink in… Holy cow, 5th grade! I can’t believe come Monday my two beautiful miracles will be walking the halls of their elementary school for the last year. They will be the oldest kids in the school and the doors will open for new activities and events leading up to their last days of elementary school. How did this happen?
I remember the days it all started and how many challenges they faced right from the start. Parents would tell me to enjoy every moment of it because the time will pass and you won’t realize how important all those moments were. At the time, exhausted and afraid I thought the time would never pass but boy was I wrong. My 2lb 10oz and 4lb 12oz miracle babies are growing and thriving each day. And those days led us here. Their 5th grade year.
Leading up to the beginning of the school year teachers send out letters to families introducing themselves to make the teacher “Meet and Greet” not so surprising. It also gives the kids some comfort knowing a little story about each teacher. As the letters were coming, we noticed that a lot of my daughter’s friends were not in her class. Most were in one class and some were spread out. She was really excited to have her friends together for her last year of elementary school but that wasn’t showing to happen.
At that point she turned to me and said, “it’s ok mommy, I will make more friends in my new class.” What a grown up answer, I thought. I felt more at ease until the Meet and Greet. We got to meet her wonderful teachers. They were amazing and kind. She was happy to see them. It wasn’t until later and after she played with all her friends in the schoolyard that she felt a little down. I guess it hit her that she wouldn’t be in class with any of her close friends for her last school year.
It will be a little different but so were the last couple of years with Covid. Things are rapidly changing every day and we need to stay positive and keep moving forward. It’s amazing how the kids have been at the same school since pre-k. Growing in a building as they have each year becomes like a second home. They see many familiar faces and welcoming staff and teachers that played a part in their life and create beautiful memories that will be with them always. We have been really fortunate with the amazing teachers we’ve had through the years. Reflecting back on this journey has me both crying and smiling. I will keep the faith that both my kids are right where they need to be to help them grow and explore this new and final year at their school. Maybe I am just a ball of emotions right now.
So many things are happening all at once and my head and heart are feeling heavy.
In just the past week I have been to two funerals and that is not counting the others before that week.
Today will be another one. Today is also September 11. Not only are we remembering all those that lost their life 20 years ago on that tragic September day. I am thinking of one very special friend who lost her life in one of the towers. She was kind and beautiful. I had the gift of being her friend and knowing her in elementary and when I moved, I enjoyed the many letters we exchanged through the years. She touched many lives and still does.
Today I’m also remembering the many lives that are taken by COVID and just the loss that happens every day. Not only because COVID. So many lives are leaving us. Today is a heavy day felt all around the world, not just here. Today is the day for us to all mourn together in our own way.
I would like to extend comforting healing hugs to all that are mourning a loss today. All those who are dealing with something so great that they are feeling alone. You are never alone. There is always someone there. Thinking of you. Praying for you and just smiling because someone said your name.
I want to wish teachers, school staff, families and students all starting a new school year safety and good health. I hope this year is better than last and continues to be strong. May we each feel comfort in knowing our kids and families will be safe.
Sorry. I told you I was all over the place with emotions.
Today I received an update about my friend’s cousin. I’ve been praying for her and her family ever since I found out that her cousin’s two daughters 12 and 9 were hospitalized for COVID. Her cousin (the mother) didn’t think she and her 12 year old needed to get vaccinated right away because her and the girls had healthy immune systems and never got sick so she pushed it off. Now she is regretting that decision watching both her daughters intubated in ICU. For two weeks now things didn’t look good. Yesterday they had to say goodbye to her 12 year old daughter Marisol because she lost her fight and became unresponsive. Her 9 year old is still in the ICU. Please help me in praying for Sonia. Please God give her the strength to keep fighting and get well enough to go home to her family. Please keep the Longoria family in your prayers. They need all the prayers and healing thoughts they can receive.
I’m so sad having to type this. My emotions are all over the place. I am trying so hard to smile and stay positive for my kids. Each day I wake up thankful that my children are safe, healthy and well. That I am able to hold them, see them smile and even get mad. See them grow and experience life good or bad. They are here with me, with us and I am so grateful. Each night I go to bed thanking God and praying for allowing me to have this. All that we experienced that day.
I am thankful that I have a husband that loves us so much that he researches endlessly, reads so much and keeps us up to date with all that is going on. He pushes me to always do what is right for our family. He gives me the courage and strength I need when I feel depleted.
I am so thankful that we were able to get vaccinated not only me but my husband, my parents and my sister. All that matters is that we are a little safer and we make it a little safer for those around us.
I personally have lost a few people because of COVID and I don’t want to lose any more. We’ve witnessed so much loss all around us not only to COVID but the loss felt so greatly because we are in this scary time. Families that are losing people, my friends, can’t celebrate the life of their loved ones and mourn them surrounded by family because everything is limited to help keep the spread of COVID down. In the past year my beautiful and dear friend has lost family members and not to COVID. My dear friend lost her innocent, beautiful and kind daughter. A miracle and now she is not here. My friend lost her brother and just recently another friend lost her father, her best friend. Just a few days ago another friend lost her husband.
This life has brought us so much pain. Heightened our fear and questioned our faith. As hard as it seems, it has also brought us love, joy and happiness. It has made us smile even though we are crying. It has lifted our spirits when they were so low. It has shown us there is still a way.
Everything around us shows us how much we still have and how tight we need to hold on to it. Life still needs to be lived and continued. Even though pieces of us are breaking and some days the pain seems unbearable, we need to look around us and see those still here and cherish those lives and continue to go on so you are not missing the next steps.
As hard as it is, we go on but that doesn’t mean the ones we lost are no longer with us because we carry them in our hearts. We carry them in the memories we created with them. We hold on to it all and move forward.
Praying for all my friends and their families. I’m carrying them all with me. May God continue to give us the strength we need to face a new day.
And here we are, year 13. Celebrating all the moments that brought us here.
Through good and bad, happy and sad, we’ve had them all and will continue to grow strong. You are the first person I think of when anything happens to me, good or bad. You are the one that I want by my side and need to keep my head above water. You’re the one that makes me smile and sometimes makes me cry but you are the one that I want and always will. I can’t imagine a day without you with me and I never want to. I can’t do any of this without you.
When you gently place your hand on my knee while we are driving or hold my hand just because you may not see it or know but my body melts and my heart is whole. When I look over and see you there no matter where we are or what craziness is going on in our lives I know I’m safe because you are right there. I wish you could see through my eyes and know just how happy, secure and loved you make me feel. Until then all I can do is remind you every day just how much you are loved. You are needed and you are all of me but most importantly the best part of me.
Thank you for loving me with all my many faults. Thank you for giving of you to me and thank you for not giving up on me, on us.
Happy 13 and to many more of this. All of it, you and me, where we started and where we will end. Our love story. 08.10.2008
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.