Staten Islanders say THANKS This Month

With November’s arrival and bringing with it the quintessential month for counting blessings, Staten Island parents are eager to share what they are most thankful for this year — from their children, spouses, family, and pets to their health, careers, and even the borough where they live.

“I am extremely thankful to my amazing fiancé for all the support he has given me over the last 11 years,” proud wife and mom Krystal Lynn Bergmann said.

“When we found out we were expecting our first st child on August 26, 2016, on September 14, 2016 my mother passed from an eight-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” she explained. “I was seven weeks pregnant and lost the only parent I ever had. He has supported me through it all.”

Mrs. Bergmann said the couple welcomed daughter Hailey Shea into the world on April 22, 2017, and with support from friends and family, “it has been amazing,” she recalled.

“He is an amazing dad and I could not have gotten a better partner and father!,” she added.

Kelly Ann Alifano-Brognano of Westerleigh called her three children — Amanda, Stephanie, and Anthony, “precious gifts from God.”

“After they lost their father — a retired NYPD detective who died suddenly from a 9/11 illness this past summer — I see every day how strong and loving my kids are,” she said.

“They get up each day and move on with their life even though their hearts are breaking inside,” she said, calling her three kids “amazing and strong-willed.”

“They don’t quit,” she added. “They are great kids and they are my world!”

Erica Prosper of Elm Park shared the same sentiment.

“I am most thankful for my two beautiful daughters, Angeliah and Nevaeh — they are literally my world,” she said.

She was quick to her add her mom, Iris, to her thankful list.

“She has been there to help us through it all. Having a child with severe medical conditions isn’t easy and having a great support system is everything,” Ms. Prosper said. “I’m beyond thankful.”

Christina Kenny of West Brighton is thankful for her two beautiful and healthy children, Layla and Leland, as well as her “amazing” fiance, Michael, and her health — thanks to her “wonderful” surgeon Dr. Patsalides.

“I am so thankful for my son, my husband, and the ‘village’ who helps me, especially my mama without whom I’m not sure where I would be,” Ms. Kelly said. “She has rescued me as a new mom more times than I can count this past year!”

The appreciation and gratitude kept flowing in Annadale where Rebecca Lanza is counting her blessings — two beautiful daughters — Ava, 22 months, and Arianna, three months, and their dad, Anthony.

He goes “above and beyond for us, which allows me to be home with our daughters every day,” Mrs. Lanza said.

Likewise, there was also praise from soon-to-be mom of three, Sami Caridi, who counted coffee on her thankful list.

“I’m 30 weeks pregnant with a 4 year-old and an almost 2-year old and wouldn’t be able to survive without it,” she said. “I’m thankful for my sons and my husband as well.”

In Dongan Hills, meanwhile, a helpful and supportive family makes Kristen and Andre Steidell most thankful this year.

“They say it takes a village to raise children and it’s true,” Mrs. Steidell explained. “My family is a great support system and we come together and help each other.”

She said her mom almost passed away two years ago, but is here today to share in her life.

“Thankfully with lots of prayers she is with us and it brought our family closer together,” she explained.

Since they aren’t a big family, every moment counts so much, she noted.

“My two-year-old daughter is the light of everyone’s life and such a blessing,” Mrs. Steidell said of toddler Anna Sophia Steidell.

Family definitely ranked above and beyond for other Staten Island parents, like Antonietta Antonacci of Westerleigh.

“I am truly thankful for my family time that we spend together,” she said. “I cherish all the memories that we make together,” she added, noting that some of her favorite family time is spent at their second home in Durham, N.Y. “There is no time like family time,” she said.

Other parents are grateful for their civil servant spouses.

“I am grateful my husband served 20 years for the NYPD and returned safely home every night and is now retired,” Kristi DeVito-Gregotowicz of Annadale said.

“I am thankful for my family, all four of our children, and my amazing husband,” said Kaitlynn Delmar Murante of New Brighton.

“He works countless hours as a police officer and still makes time for us,” she added.

Meanwhile, older family generations were a close second among Staten Island parents’ most thankful things this year.

Kristie Wisniewski-Rothmund said she is most thankful and grateful for her 95-year-old grandmother of seven, who made her who she is today.

“We moved in with her when I was seven,” after her parents divorced, Mrs. Rothmund, a Westerleigh wife and mother recalled.

“My mom passed when I was 12. She raised me,” she explained, describing her younger self as “lazy.”

“She pushed me and when I went to nursing school I failed a class by 1 point, and I was so headstrong I didn’t want to go back,” she continued. “There was Gertrude pushing me,” she said. “When I look back, she was always there. She was the best listener and never judged what or who you talked about!”

Becoming parents was cause for others to count their blessings.

“I have personally been through a lot in the last five years,” said Gina Marie Desantis. “I’m so thankful I am able to work, get married, and most of all be a mother to my beautiful son,” she said. “As we prepare for our future, I pray God blesses us with a healthy baby, a safe place for my son to go to school every day, and for my family and friends to be healthy and happy,” the Dongan Hills resident said.

Christine Fiscardi-Lentinello of Huguenot feels fortunate for her 19-year marriage, her son, and Golden Doodle, Biscuit.

“To have a son is everything, being a Mom has taught me about unconditional love,” she said, even though “we argue about screen time!” she joked.

“They are my world,” Mrs. Lentinello said. “I must add having my mom and being so close to her — it’s all about love and cherishing our time together,” she explained. “The importance of family means so much to me,” Mrs. Lentinello added.

Friends topped the list for many parents, like Donna Lauser of Westerleigh.

“I am truly grateful for the amazing lifelong friends I have made, and the great memories I have by volunteering at my son’s school and also being a member of  Rolling Thunder, which raises money for veterans’ causes. I am surrounded by amazing people doing wonderful things for others,” the wife and mother of four said.

Meanwhile, after becoming a widow in 2015, Malina Ann Goodwin, moved with her two-year old son from Manhattan to Staten Island — and values that as one of her most grateful moments.

“Friends I have here told me I needed Staten Island because it’s all about families, it’s greener and has more living space,” the New Springville resident recalled.

“It also put me on the path to meeting my true love,” she added, happy and excited for her upcoming Nov. 10 wedding. “He is the most wonderful man and best thing that happened to me and my son.”

Thoughts turned to health for other Staten Islanders, like Terry Fuimo of Oakwood.

“I am grateful for surviving a heart attack,” she said. “I get to be around to watch my beautiful granddaughters grow up.”

Besides her 8-year-old son, Joshua, Great Kills resident Donna Zucconi is also thankful for her health.

“I’m a single mom and he changed my world,” she said. “Not a day goes by I don’t thank God for such an amazing blessing.”

She said she is also thankful to her family who accepted her decision to be a single mom — and love her son as much as she does.

“I’m thankful for my health, over the years I’ve watched too many friends battle various health issues. That makes you realized how truly blessed you are,” she said.

Staten Island-based writer Christine Albano covers numerous topics, including education, health care, and social media, and is especially thankful for her three children, family, home, and career — and this year for new beginnings.