Loss and life

Today is a day of many emotions. A year ago today I lost a beautiful friend. A kind, full of life, gracious, strong, amazingly special in all ways to a continuous on and off battle of cancer. She brought so much love and joy to all those who knew her and every day she is thought about and missed. I know she is a beautiful angel care and pain free watching us and smiling that amazing smile. I can still hear that wondrous laugh. It truly was one of a kind. Today as I remember her and smile through sadness for a loss so great. I remember the amazing times we shared together. I am also reminded that life continues no matter the pain, the loss and the confusion.

This morning as I was helping Giovanni and Isannah with their character day costumes for school I saw the beauty that is life in their smiles and the innocence that shines from these two little bodies. Seeing that was able to lift me and give me the smile I needed to continue my day. I watched them in class as they each got ready to begin their school day. I saw and heard the smiles and laughter filling their classrooms. This was life. This was light and the start of new beginnings.
Before leaving I peaked once more in each classroom to remind myself that life is always continuing. May today remind you that you are alive no matter your situation and that you have another day to enjoy all that you can. We are surrounded by beauty even in the tiniest of views.

A new school year begins

Another school year begins and that means the nerves, the tension and the hope that your kids will transition painlessly. It also means letting go. It is another year where you need to trust your blessings to someone else for several hours a day. No matter if it’s preschool, elementary or higher all the feelings are the same.

It is also the time that moms feel most judged. Whether it’s by the looks you receive at drop off or pick up or just the quiet whispers as you pass. It’s felt immediately.

We should lift each other up and remember at that moment we are all going through the same thing, instead of that look of comparison and judgment.

It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing or what my kids are wearing that needs to be the focus. What matters is that we are all here encouraging our children to be happy, polite, courteous, respectful and empathetic. To walk in to the classroom (that can be scary) confidently knowing they can be whatever they want to be and know that we are here supporting and loving them dearly. Then as the door closes and you know your children are safely in class that is when you just drop your shoulders turn slowly and walk away. At that moment, some of us walk away with our heads down and begin to second-guess every decision we made from the time we woke up. That weight is too heavy and continues to drag us down. We need to try and focus on the job we did getting our children fed, dressed and in school on time rather than reflect on the in between that may not have gone so well.

This is a problem that I struggle with daily and I know I’m not alone.

I’m learning as each day passes that I need to concentrate on the good things that we do throughout the day to better our children and that will better ourselves.

This mother thing is not easy and takes many falls but with falls comes a greater climb. Because when you get that one good feeling tug at your heart with a happiness feeling that tickles your toes and runs up your nose, you have to sit back smile and say, this is what it’s all about. It can be something as small as your kid’s smile that changes that very moment for you. It can be the unexpected trip that causes you to go flying smashing your knee but when you look down to curse yourself you see a tiny baby clip from when your daughter was a newborn laying right in front of you that little thing changes your reaction from horribly upset to releasing all the tension and just putting it out through a smile. It’s little things that sometimes we overlook in anger and frustration that we should try to see.

This year I wish all the mothers (parents) strength in knowing you are doing the best that you can. It may not seem like it while you are in the moment but it is. Instead of focusing on the yelling you did and hating yourself for it, focus on what made your kids laugh and laugh right along with them. We are all learning together, parents and children.

Remember you are never alone. There is always someone trying to figure it out right along with you.

 

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Separating twins in PreK

You know your a tad bit emotional when you are at a pre k meet and greet and one of the teachers comes up to you to ask you the question you mentally prepared for and you can’t talk. You can’t get the words out, “yes, please separate them.” Instead you look silently at her and immediately search the room for your husband. He comes over looks at me and knows what’s going on. With tears filling my eyes he tells her “we” feel it is best to separate them. I lost it. When a teacher feels the need to give you two hugs in a 30 minute period you know it’s going to be an emotional day.

 

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Happy 7 years!

I was thinking about it all day and then finally it was time to get ready. I wanted to take my time so that Asher didn’t catch me in my dress before heading down the stairs. I had butterflies fluttering in my belly and this dorky smile that made my cheek ache but I couldn’t help it. It was date night but not just any date night. It was our 7 year anniversary. What an amazing journey. Now we were hand in hand at our favorite restaurant in the city Bouley. The champagne poured and I was already drunk in love. I kept sneaking stares at him and sheepishly smiling. I just couldn’t believe we were here. I was here. The silly laughter, gentle touches and warm love that surrounded us was undeniable. The meal was amazing. The night was filled with twinkle and my heart was filled with him. May you feel love that embraces you gently but tightly that you don’t ever want to let go. Laughter that gives cheek aches but you just don’t want it to stop. And light that will always show you the way. Spreading my heartfelt love to all of you.

Summer nights in the park

Sun was setting and the darkness was making an appearance as my family and I were listening to the music in the park. The night was hitting the kids and things on our blanket became more relaxed. As Giovanni crawled on to my lap Isannah stood behind me and began playing with my hair. While I was cradling Giovanni in my arms and feeling Isannah’s little hands run through my hair I looked over at my husband who was staring directly at us. My heart just melted and I knew I was right where I needed to be.
Jason Isbell was lighting up the stage and the sounds of his guitar was filling the night air. It was that kind of night.

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Take that moment with you

You’re in a bummed out mood and you are just feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and while you are going through these emotions you take a walk and notice every beautiful person passing by. As each one passes you say to yourself, I wish I was her/him. They seem so put together and beautiful. The right weight size that I’ve been trying to reach. The flawless skin and perfect smile. You start bringing yourself down even more. Before you go any further with what you see on the outside remember that they have scars too. Maybe some are old and healing or some are opened and fresh. You never know what someone across from you is going through. They could be thinking you are the most amazing person they’ve seen and they are contemplating the worst thing ever. Things always seem better on the opposite end but remember things are not always as they seem. You are beautifully made because God selected you to be this way. We are each special even if we don’t feel that way all the time or even any of the time. Try to remember that what you see in the mirror may be completely different from what another person sees in you and at that moment you can be bringing them a smile and a joy they’ve been missing. Some days just suck but hold on to those days that aren’t so bad. Hold on to the dreams you once had and focus on making them come true. Think about a family member and/or friend that loves you unconditionally. You have a life that can be filled with so much more than you allow yourself to see. It’s always good to have a focus point. Something that makes the corners of your mouth lift and remember that. Take that moment with you everywhere you go. I know I do.

 

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My March for Babies Story. Why I walk!

Right when you couldn’t be happier about being pregnant and feeling the most amazing feelings going on in your body something flies in your direction to shake things up a bit. It was a doctor’s visit that changed everything in a blink of an eye. I went from being on bed rest to hospital bed rest from morning to night. Everything began happening so quickly including the fear that swept over and all the what if’s came flooding in. The blame took over the space that was once sunny. I thought that being on hospital bed rest was going to change everything. Give our daughter Isannah all the help she needed to continue to grow inside me like Giovanni was but that didn’t happen.

That morning during my routine sonogram everyone was quiet. I didn’t hear the friendly conversations. The smiles had faded and only fear filled the room. The words, your doctor is on the way and will answer all your questions, made my chest cave in. Isannah was being monitored carefully because she was not receiving absent end-diastolic blood flow and she wasn’t growing. It was time to take her out.

This is when everything changed.

A diagnosis of preeclampsia led to an emergency c-section at 32 weeks, and both babies were taken to the NICU. From that moment on all I felt was guilt and shame that I couldn’t provide both my babies with all they needed to be born on their time rather than being forced out early to experience stress and pain. Having my babies in the NICU is the toughest thing I ever had to experience. I felt my heart breaking off piece by piece and with each crack a pain so intense went through my body. Once both my babies were out it was Giovanni “baby A” that became weaker on the outside.

I remember my husband waking me up that night with the look of panic and concern. We rushed to the NICU and were quickly escorted to a private room where the doctors prepared us for the worst. We needed to be prepared that Giovanni would not make it through the night. He had pulmonary hypertension. How does anyone react to that? Our sweet babies were fighting to stay alive. Giovanni 4lbs 12oz and Isannah 2lbs 10oz.

I wanted to cry and scream out loud but knew I had to keep it in and be strong for Isannah and Giovanni. Although I was crying inside I couldn’t let it show, not there. I am a mom now, I kept telling myself. Be strong for your babies but it was hard to convince myself not to cry. I know crying wastes too much energy and energy is what I needed to provide for my babies. Each time I sat by Isannah and Giovanni I focused on the rhythm of their breathing, memorized every inch of their little bodies and carefully watched each movement they made. I took them in with each breath I made. I wanted so much to be able to provide them with all the care that they needed but it wasn’t me that could help them. It was the machines, doctors and a nursing staff that provided the care they needed. All we could do was be at their side, gently hold their head and calm them down with our voice.

After time passed we were able to finally hold our babies by using the kangaroo method. The first time I got to hold Giovanni and kangaroo with him was the sweetest gift. My boy was able to lay skin to skin with me and we shared a connection. The first bond of many to come. Feeling him breathing on my chest, listening to the sounds he makes and feeling the little tapping of his tiny little fingers on my chest brought a smile that I’ve been missing to my face. Kangarooing is an amazing feeling. Then it was time to hold my little angel Isannah and enjoy the bond Kangarooing allowed. She was so tiny like a feather gently laying on my chest. Feeling Isannah become calm on me made me smile some more. The little joys you are able to experience in what you feel is a scary place with beeping alarms, dangling tubes and a dark environment is priceless. The pain, the exhaustion, the anxiety and the many tears of gratitude shown throughout the NICU was in every parents eyes. This was a time of strength being tested. Bonds being made and hope that kept us going.

Giovanni was released from the NICU first and although I was happy that he was much better I was still torn between my baby girl who was still fighting and feelings of gratitude that Giovanni was home. Instead of getting easier it was harder going back and forth because you never wanted to leave anyone’s side but you couldn’t physically be in two places at once. I was thankful for the staff in the NICU and the love of family they showed us.

Giovanni and Isannah turned 4 years old in January. They continue to grow healthy and strong every day.

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Missing words

The March for Babies banner hangs outside our house along the fence every year during this time. I decorate it and always write our family team name so everyone can donate to Gio and Isa’s Miracles. It’s been raining on and off here so the decorations and my writing washed away. The banner is still holding up along with the March for Babies logo but not what I wrote.

Now Gio saw it the other day and in a voice of panic turned to me and said, mommy it doesn’t say donate and help Gio and Isa’s Miracles. Our team information is gone. They won’t know to help us. You need to write it again. This kid has a heart of gold. He is so truly concerned that no one will know about their walk and team. I just hugged him, smiled and said, don’t you worry they know. Mommy makes sure to let everyone know as much as possible. He then hugged Isannah and said mommy is helping us. We are ok.

 My heart just smiles.

 

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Bathroom talk

It was a beautiful evening in BK so the kids and I decided to walk around. Asher joined so we could all go out to eat. When dinner was about over I took Giovanni to the bathroom. In the bathroom hung a 20×24 (around that size) photo of a naked boy. All you could see was his back side. He was standing as if he was peeing. You couldn’t see his face at all just the back side. Giovanni flushes and looks up to see this photo. He did a double take and with the most serious face asked me if that was him. Looked at it again and then back at me and questioned me one more time while adding, you know that’s me. Why did you give them my picture. I just about peed myself. I had to look at it again and then understood how he could think that. As I reassured him it was not him and mommy would never do that to him. He hugged me and said that’s ok mommy, I’m not mad. I couldn’t hold it any more. I had to chuckle a bit out loud.

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Family, Life and Love

Family, Life and Love. Three powerful words, amazingly beautiful together but scary and horrifying as well. We all have this beautiful vision of what family is. Either we are born into the family that everyone wants or a family that needs a lot of stitching, bandages and healing time. Family is what it is. It’s not always about love but when it comes down to it…it should be. The individuals that make up a family are grown with love.

Life is as it sounds. It’s waking up everyday living, breathing and being.

We all have family issues, hiccups and heartaches but we also have happiness, cheek aching laughter and tender embraces of hope filled dreams.

Love always tries to be the stronger word. It sees the good in all the bad. The hope in all of the sadness, pain and fear and the faith that things can always be better than what we allow. Sadly, the fights, the tears and fear cause the family side to override the love that is desperately trying to blanket all our hearts.

See no matter how much you love. How much you miss someone. No matter how much you wish you were able to get past all the pain and heartache that someone(s) in your family has caused there’s always that thin needle piercing your love filled heart crippling it for even longer. Causing the healing to be delayed and/or put off until closure is presented in some way. You try to find that closure on your own but sometimes all that’s needed is to face it. To confront the person(s) so that together you can find closure and therefore move on.

In some cases moving on is forced and problems, misdoings, misunderstandings get swept away for the moment until all the dust that lies beneath collects and the inevitable explosions erupt. This is when you relive the pain and then it intensifies in a way that there is no turning back. You become lost and forgiving is a word in the far unattainable distance.

Before we let it get that far. Before the family bond breaks apart piece by piece. Family member by family member until there’s no family at all. Just a tree made up of frail lifeless dead branches we should try to let love fill that pain first.

Inside we all want that tree to be alive and thriving. To stretch towards the sun and fill with arms (branches) that hug, and hold life and love in. Even if we don’t want to admit it we wish for our tree to be filled with love of branches. Leaves of hope, the strength of family and life from the foundation that brings it all together.

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