‘My mother is a powerful force that raised twin girls with every ounce of strength she has. It wasn’t an easy road. My twin sister has cerebral palsy and epilepsy.’
“My mom owns women’s clothing boutiques in Smithtown and Commack. Her primary mission is to make every woman feel valued and great about themselves. I’ve seen that in my own life.
“My mother is a powerful force that raised twin girls with every ounce of strength she has. It wasn’t an easy road. My twin sister has cerebral palsy and epilepsy. My mom lost her mucus plug for unknown reasons, which caused her to have us early.
“My sister and I were born 1 pound, 11 ounces. We were supposed to be born on Halloween, and we were born in July, so you can guess how premature we were.
“I was born first. I was purple and I had issues in my lungs, so my mom didn’t see my face for maybe a week because I was in the incubator with my head turned away.
“My sister was born typical, but within a month she had a brain bleed, resulting in the right side of her brain essentially becoming destroyed. My mother had to witness the heartbreak of eight brain surgeries on my sister.
At the core, my mom is the one who has always been there and is largely why my sister and I are the way we are.
“When I was 5 years of age, my mom got divorced. She and my father married other people, then divorced again. So, now, I also have a stepfather who helped raise us and is still extremely involved in our lives, as well as my biological father and my mom’s boyfriend.
“It doesn’t make sense to a lot of people, but our blended family is an extremely solid foundation for a support system. At my college graduation, all six of us, plus grandparents, sat together at dinner. We all get along quite well.
“At the core, my mom is the one who has always been there and is largely why my sister and I are the way we are. We are both 22 now. My sister is bubbly, positive and cheerful. You love her the second you meet her.
“My mother ensured that she never felt different or ‘less than’ because of her disability. Now that I’m home, I see how hard my mom works to make my sister the focal point of the whole house. My sister is a part of every bonding activity, laughing along with every joke, every story.
“My sister has taught me patience and grit. She relies a lot on her iPad for entertainment. One song she loves is ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ by Journey. She has a harder time reading and writing than other people, but if you help her spell out the name of her song and she finds it, the smile that comes over her face is amazing.”