Carina Míguez, First Lady of Hiking Yoga, on family, growth & embracing life’s blessings…
Eric and I have a wonderful family and we love love love spending time together. In fact, most people are surprised at the amount of time we spend together period. We have been married for a relatively short amount of time. We have been partners in a business since only a bit longer. For some time now, we work from home on our business, share almost every meal, go on daily walks together without seeming to get tired of each other’s presence–quite the opposite.
Our walks now include two little ones… Our oldest, 2 year old daughter Quincy, is such a joyful and graceful little person. She has been a model for me from the very start. She has taught me about grace, strength and courage. Since before I actually felt her kicking in my tummy, I knew I had an incredible being inside and I was excited to welcome her into our world. Relatively early on in the pregnancy, around week 17, we learned that she had a congenital defect that would require her to be in the hospital for some time after she was born. Doctors would not give us an estimate because each case was so different and they warned us that although mortality was generally not a concern, the road to health would be a rocky one.
It certainly was. Within the first weeks after birth Quincy underwent 4 surgeries and she spent almost 3 months in the neonatal intensive care unit in northern CA. It was a difficult time for us all and today, we are so blessed to see her completely recovered thanks to many people who touched our lives. Those not so distant memories of hospital visits (the smells, the sounds), of worries and of celebration of small triumphs (i.e the first time I was able to hold her in my arms, the first time we took her outside hooked up to all her tubes) seem foreign and almost unreal when contrasted with the joy of witnessing her little wonderful self blossom every single day.
So, when we learned that we were pregnant again with our youngest Joaquín, now almost 6 months old, we were ready to experience a “normal” pregnancy–devoid of worry and extra monitoring. I did the regular tests most of us pregnant women over the age of 35 do and was told “there is nothing to worry about”. Eric and I embraced the news and proceeded to do just that… not worry. Actually, we were more than worry free. We focused on planning for the arrival of Joaquín and enjoyed every minute of the ride!
Joaquín Felix arrived one morning in April this year, a couple of weeks earlier than anticipated after almost 18hrs of “labour”. My parents, who had traveled from Uruguay especially for the happy occasion, almost missed the whole event but fortunately made it just in time heading from the airport straight to the hospital.
If Quincy taught me a thing or two about grace, strength and courage, Joaquín is teaching me about joy and love. His smile is truly a force to be reckoned with. It takes over his whole body. When he smiles, he raises his little shoulders up to his ears, reaches down with his hands outstretched towards his feet and lifts his knees up with heels clicking below. He is truly “a happy dude”!
Turns out that Joaquín did come with a little extra.
Shortly after birth, we found out Joaquín had several markers for Down Syndrome. This was later confirmed by a blood test. We were relieved to hear from the cardiologist that his heart was sound and required no special procedures as 60% of kids with Down Syndrome require open heart surgery in the 1st year of life. We have much to learn and, fortunately, great support in family and friends and the Down Syndrome Guild of Kansas City.
A poem we read from a parent described the situation best for us. She compared the hopes for the pregnancy to planning a trip to Italy. For 9 months she read the guidebooks, imagined the taste of the delicious Italian food, pictured herself riding on the gondolas in Venice, walking through the streets of Florence and visiting the sites in Rome. Then she got on the plane and arrived to destination. Only that, when she landed she was welcomed to Holland–not Italy. “What?! Holland? But I wanted to go to Italy!” she said. She had a choice to make: be upset about not being in Italy, or embrace the fact that she was in Holland.
Well, we have been learning much of the tulips, wind mills and Van Gogh masterpieces. There are many amazing things about Holland that we are just beginning to discover. October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month and on Saturday October 26th our little Hiking Yoga family will be “Walkin’ with Joaquín” (our team) for the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk in Kansas City. We hope you can join us in person or in spirit and look forward to you visiting Holland with us soon!
Eric + Carina = Quincy + Joaquín
Namaste – My soul recognizes your soul. I honor the love, light, beauty, truth and kindness within you because it is also within me. In sharing these things there is no distance between us. We are the same. We are one.
This picture of Quincy and Joaquín is very telling about their relationship. From the beginning, and to this day, Quincy will often kiss Joaquín’s feet. She will greet him regularly with such love and tenderness that I am constantly reminded of how fortunate we are in having these two lovely souls grace our family lives with their presence.