Mother of the Year Finalist: Teresa DiGirolamo

Mom: Teresa DiGirolamo, Kansas City, Mo.
Nominated by: Gianna DiGirolamo, daughter

My name is Gianna Jolie DiGirolamo. I am a healthy, happy, 16-month-old baby girl, and this is my story.

It took six long years and 26 hours of intensive labor for my arrival into this world. But, as I often remIMG953035ind my Mom and Dad, great things come to those who wait! My start out the gate was a bit shaky. I spent my days and nights in the NICU scared and alone. I remember my Mommy coming to visit every couple hours or so. I would nurse, she would sing me songs, play with my hair, and tell me stories. I particularly liked the one when Mommy and Daddy spent $40 on a gender predictor kit at Walgreen’s only to tell them they were having a boy. What a waste of money… lol.

Mommy kept saying she couldn’t wait to take me home. And although I did not know what home was, I knew I wanted to go there. I was so excited to meet my boxer, Rocky, whom I heard so much about and to sleep in my own room. Once there, I was in awe of how beautifully decorated my nursery was. Pinks and grays, glittery letters on the wall spelling my name, a big, white, fluffy, fur rug, and animals; lots and lots of stuffed animals. I was in baby heaven! From that moment on, I didn’t have a worry in the world.

The following months were quite an adjustment at our home. While Daddy was working two jobs, mommy stayed home from work to care for me. I was nursing so whenever I decided to get up and eat in the middle of the night, guess who got up with me? I quickly figured out when I started to cry and refused sleep, often times I got to take a car ride. That was especially nice during the holiday season as I love looking at Christmas lights at three o’clock in the morning.

Some nights when I was colicky, the only comfort I found was on the changing table. On these nights Mommy would have to stand over me to eat dinner as I would not allow her to leave my sight. Other nights she would spend time rubbing creams and oil treatments over my body and head because of my sensitive skin and cradle cap.

I nursed up to 14 months which placed a lot of restrictions on my mom. Whenever she was feeling ill, she never took any medicine so as not to affect me. She never had her hair or nails done throughout the entire pregnancy for fear the chemicals and fumes could harm me. She only ate foods deemed safe by doctors and avoided the good stuff: hot dogs, deli meats, and dairy, like the plague.

Going out at night with friends quickly became a distant memory. If I am not bathed, fed, and in bed by 9 p.m., I get terribly fussy. Mom says I get that way from my father. I’ve noticed we go to the chiropractor a lot during the week. Turns out, I was a bit stubborn during delivery which caused injury to Mommy, and me to suffer a broken collar bone. Still, no medications nor drugs. She fights through the pain and discomfort naturally for my benefit.

It’s hard being a mother and raising a child with little support from family. Nonnie and Papa are retired in Florida while Grandma and Grandpa work busy schedules. Sure, they help whenever they can but most times mommy must juggle work, caring for me, and taking care of Great Grandma all on her own.

A typical day is daycare from nine to three while mom goes to work. She picks me up and we drive to great grandma’s house. After a few hours there, we head to the grocery store to pick up dinner which is never an easy feat. The other day, Mommy had to place me in my car seat while hurrying to load the groceries because it was pouring rain. Why we never seem to shop when it is warm and sunny, I’m not quite sure? I’ll have to ask her one day.

What my Mom has sacrificed in order to provide me with a wonderful life and ensure I never want for anything is immeasurable. She continues to put her own needs aside placing Daddy and I first above all else. I am so grateful for a Mommy like her and hope she knows I love her very much. One day soon I will be able to tell her myself. For now, she will have to settle for me blowing her kisses.

Voting for the KCMB Mother of the Year award begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 2 and closes at 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 5. The mom with the most votes will be awarded our Mother of the Year prize package. Congratulations to all our finalists.