You’re Stronger Than You Think

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“Mommy I’m scared. I can’t breathe.”

You never want to hear your child say that to you. And when my four-year-old daughter recently said it to me one night around 2am when her cough went from 0-60 out of nowhere, I didn’t waste a second getting her to the emergency room.

This isn’t the kind of thing where I pat myself on the back for getting my kid the medical attention she needed one scary night just in the nick of time. It’s a fairly basic requirement to keep your kid alive and I did what any normal parent would do in the situation. In fact, I spent the following seven hours pacing nervously around her hospital room, mentally berating myself for all the things I may have done wrong that, in my frazzled state, I thought landed her in that room in the first place.

You see, I’m THAT mom. The one who thinks the worst, all the time. The one who worries, who panics, who overthinks and overreacts. I know, I know. We’re parents, we all do that. But when the going gets tough, I retreat back into my shell like a terrified turtle — frozen, shaking, crying, feeling sick to my stomach and envisioning every worst-case scenario on earth.

Maybe this is you too. Maybe you’re a worrier, a crier, a freaker-outer like me. Maybe not by nature, but when it comes to your kids at least. Maybe you also often wonder how quickly your legs would turn to jello and your lunch would come back up if your world were to suddenly fall apart at the seams. If so, maybe now I can offer you some hope.

I drove as fast as the gas pedal would allow, flying past red light after red light, one eye glued to the road and the other to my daughter strapped into her car seat behind me. Finally at the ER, we sat for a minute and waited for a nurse while my baby cried and clung to my shoulders, calling out for me in between her tiny gasps for air. I could feel my body trembling from the inside, felt the desperate sobs gathering at back of my throat and the tears welling forcefully under my eyelids. I felt myself breaking down.

This is the moment you are not prepared for as a parent, should you ever find yourself in this situation. This is something you will not learn to handle in a parenting class or a self-help book. This is that make-or-break moment when you are faced with a choice. You can choose to fall apart in this moment, let your anxiety win, let the terror wash over you and just lose your mind completely.

Or this is the moment you quickly realize there is no choice to be made, and that there never really was. And I promise you, you won’t fall apart. No, instead you will be hypnotized by the adrenaline. Your mommy autopilot will kick in. You’ll push that terror so far back inside that you may never see it again. You’ll put on the bravest face you can muster for your child and you WILL power through it. You got this, mama.

So in perhaps the strongest moment of my entire life, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and shook it all off. I held my little girl in my arms as tightly as I could and I swore to her that she was going to be absolutely, positively fine. Inwardly, I made the same promise to myself.

If you’re the type who is normally good under pressure, this probably isn’t as big of a deal to you as it seems to me. But in that moment, I will never forget the way I looked fear dead in the face and told it to buzz off. For just a little while, for my sweet, scared baby girl, I was her superhero. I didn’t recognize myself, overcome by this sudden strength I never knew I was capable of. I’m grateful for it, and I sleep a little better now knowing I had that cape all along, tucked away and waiting for the day I’d need to put it on. I really hope I never need it again, but if I do at least I know it’s there.

By Jeannine Cintron, a Staten Island mom of two. Read her blog at


Posted in Featured Articles

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  1. Easter Egg Hunt @ the Port Richmond Library

    March 23 @ 12:00 pm - 4:15 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  12:00 pm - 4:15 pm
    Port Richmond Library
    0 to 4 years @ 12 PM to 12:30 PM 5 years to 9 years @ 3:30 PM to 3:45 PM 10 years to 15 years @ 4 PM to 4:15 PM One winner from each age group will win
  2. Kidz Cook

    March 23 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Learn how the whipping technique adds volume to foods such as creams, eggs and cheeses.
  3. Wii Love Gaming

    March 23 @ 3:30 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Stapleton Library
    Challenge your friends and other kids as you play cool Wii games!
  4. Game On!

    March 23 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    St. George Library
    Get ready to play some of your favorite board & Wii games.
  5. Happy Pig Day! An Elephant and Piggie Party

    March 23 @ 3:30 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Great Kills Library
    For ages 4 and up. Pre-registration is recommended.
  6. St. Peters High School Heart Health for Athletes

    March 23 @ 6:00 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  6:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    St. Peter's High School
    Free BMI, EKG and Echo screenings for athletes  
  7. Political Issues Affecting our Youth Today

    March 24 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
    March 24, 2018  |  9:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Zimmer Club
    Please join us on Saturdays from January 20th to April 21st (except March 31st) at 9:00AM for the 2018 Zimmer Youth Conservation Classes. The classes are from 9AM – 12 Noon for approximately 13 weeks.  Each week we teach about
  8. Saint George Greenmarket

    March 24 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
    March 24, 2018  |  9:00 am - 1:00 pm
    St. Mark's Place and Hyatt St
    Set on a hill overlooking New York Harbor and the downtown Manhattan skyline, this market draws a dedicated following of neighborhood shoppers who line up each Saturday to get first dibs on the freshest seasonal fruit, produce, cheese, meat, seafood
  9. Eggstravagant Feast with the Bunny

    March 24 @ 9:30 am - 2:00 pm
    March 24, 2018  |  9:30 am - 2:00 pm
    Staten Island Zoo
    Join us for a special visit with breakfast AND lunch: hot buffet, Easter egg hunt, intimate animal encounters, ride our carousel with Chuck the Groundhog, take your own pictures with our Bunny (please bring your own camera), our cotton-tailed friend
  10. Sensory Storytime

    March 24 @ 10:30 am
    March 24, 2018  |  10:30 am - 10:30 am
    Tottenville Library
    An inclusive, 4-session program that combines the best practices from special education and traditional storytime to create an interactive, engaging program for children of all abilities! Limited to 12 children, best for ages 2 and older. Pre-registration begins one week