Life is Beautiful

I feel most people don’t realize just how precious and short life is. Or fragile. It can be taken away by a psychotic lunatic while you’re out having fun with thousands of people who saved their hard-earned money for a vacation. It can be taken away by our vices. It can be taken away before it even begins. Life gets crazy and challenging, and suddenly we don’t think about taking it all in. We take it all for granted, feeling entitled to it, superior to our ancestors and fellow species on this planet.

I thought about last time I went to Las Vegas. I was hugely pregnant, venturing up and down the very familiar strip (I’ve been to Vegas way too many times), enjoying the different people and the fun atmosphere while Rick attended and presented in some CWG seminars. I thought about how I had been completely unprepared if anything were to happen then like it did on Monday. Sure, I’m always quite aware of my surroundings (don’t forget I grew up in São Paulo, Brazil), but you never go out into the world thinking this will be your last day. The same way the victims of that senseless shooting didn’t. It’s sad to realize that those victims were parents, siblings, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives. So much more than just faces on a victim’s list. I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve never lost a loved one in such a tragic way, and I must remember to never take anything or anyone for granted. We did have an unfortunate death in the family on Monday as well, on Rick’s side of the family. It was unimaginable, devastating, and random to say the least, and it only reinforces that we must love and care for one another as if there was no tomorrow.

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Me roaming around Las Vegas a few months ago, very pregnant belly not shown.

In a much lighter tone, we’re in October. We have two awesome weddings to attend and participate in – I’ll be a bridesmaid in my work wife’s wedding (Krystina) this coming Sunday and Rick will be a groomsman in the wedding of two of our beloved LARP friends. As excited as I am to be part of these two amazing, power couples’ big day, I’m also very stressed. Money needs to be spent on things other than we’ve budgeted for, shifts must be covered at work so I can be there for Krystina and to take care of the girls during Zach and Hannah’s wedding, logistics must be figured out for our babies… All on top of our normal chaos and stress. And, adding insult to injury, we just found out my school loans will be going up by $300 a month. We absolutely cannot afford that, so Rick and I have spent a lot of time researching and brainstorming, trying to find alternatives and possible second jobs. The latter would be more undesirable, because more time away from home means a sad Camila who will spend even less time with her babies and husband and more babysitting costs. We’ve thrown around the idea of just moving to Syracuse so we could have his (very willing) family to help with the girls, potentially eliminating the babysitting costs. It’d also mean a lot to us to have the family nearby, having the girls grow up with their second cousin Maddox and his soon-to-be-born sibling (we find out on Saturday what his momma, Kate, is having), and having me and Rick spend time with everyone. We love seeing them, and we are always bummed out on the drive back home. But, because his job is here, there’s only a very slim chance of that happening for us, unfortunately.

Lastly, River and Lydia give me life. Though the journey of Motherhood has left scarred, exhausted, a little bitter, and forever changed, I am beyond grateful to be walking this path. Our 28-weeker preemies are two weeks shy of being 10 months, 4 days away from being 7 months developmentally, and they never cease to amaze us. They had their 9-month checkup and round one of their flu shots on Tuesday, and they are doing absolutely amazing. River clocked in at 15lbs 13oz and 28in, Lydia at 15lbs 4oz and 27.5in. They are both on the 50th and 70th percentile for their actual, 9 month age for their length and head measurements! They. Are. Sprouting!! They’re still in the 10th percentile for weight on their actual age chart, but they’re clearly strong little ladies who love eating. At this rate, I’m pretty sure they’ll be taller than their 4’11” tall mother. Hey, don’t laugh at my height, I saw that. Ahem. Anyway. River has been trying to move around while on her tummy, and Lydia will probably be a Congressional Speaker or something because she is always talking and flailing her little arms. Lydia has also gone back to saying “mama”, much to my heart’s content. River still calls for “dada” when I ask her if she can say anything else. There’s still hope for that one.

Holy shit, they’ll be turning one in less than three months.

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The two halves of my heart.

All in all, life has a way of kicking you while you’re down, especially when it comes to finances. I’ve been contemplating leaving my company and getting a night-shift job so we can cut back on expenses, but then I wouldn’t have time to sleep. I’ve been researching ways to get my voice out there through writing jobs, but half of it has been a little shady and the other half requires years of experience. I wish talent, passion, and potential could be acknowledged instead of experience. I also wish I had more patience. But I am learning – being a mom has definitely taught me to be patient. Here I sit, at almost 29 years of age, having what I’ve recently described as a mid-life crisis. It sometimes feels like an existential crisis, to be quite honest. I’ve contemplated over stupid mistakes I have done, such as dropping out of college twice and never graduating, but I’m glad those mistakes we made. Life is strange and beautiful in its weird ways – whatever I feel my biggest mistakes were, they inevitably took me to all the joy I have in my life now. In hindsight, I should have graduated college with either a Flight Dispatch or Criminal Justice degree. I’d have a better, higher paying job and a piece of paper to show for all the student loan debt I’m in. But then again, I’m really glad I didn’t. I wouldn’t have become a Flight Attendant, I wouldn’t have met Rick on that 25 minute flight, I wouldn’t have married the man of my dreams. I certainly wouldn’t have my two amazing daughters, and I doubt I would’ve ever started this blog or find this unannounced passion for writing. I would likely be miserably married to my then-fiancee, quite possibly divorced, with nothing but regret and a sense of loss.

I love my crazy life, I embrace the challenges (though it doesn’t mean I enjoy them in the least bit), we grow into changes and adjust. I won’t ever take any of it for granted, though. Those will show in my character, my strengths, my boldness. I’ve grown quite a lot in the last few months, more than I ever had before (but not physically). I have no regrets, only gratitude for where I find myself today – sitting on the couch, typing away on my laptop, Zelda’s head on my knee, Rick on his laptop beside me, and two beautiful daughters snoozing away upstairs. I’d never wish for anything different. I’d never have it any other way.

 

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