Luciana Malkomes is a Brazilian expat and former attorney who has been living in America for over a decade. She and her husband of 18 years, Marco, a station manager at Lufthansa German Airlines at Dallas- Fort Worth Airport, reside in Arlington with their two children, 14-year-old Pedro and 6-year-old Gabriela, who has Down syndrome.
5:50AM Wake up 20 minutes before my alarm. I relax in bed for a bit and then head downstairs to turn off the house alarm. Our 17-month-old lab, Charlie, greets me. A few belly scratches, and then I let him into the backyard.
6:15AM I prepare my daughter’s lunch. Gabriela is hypersensitive to textures so she eats mostly pureed foods. It requires lots of creativity with her daily meals. I reheat some vegetable soup from the fridge and pack it in her lunchbox. Next, I mix her medication in with some yogurt for her breakfast.
6:27AM Time for everyone to get up. Charlie joins me upstairs in Gabriela’s room. It’s a team effort—I turn on the lights, and he jumps on the bed and licks her face. While Gabby begs for more sleep, I check the weather app to make sure I choose the right clothes for her. I help Gabby get dressed, which is more like a little morning wrestling.
6:40AM Charlie heads off to wake Pedro while I attend to Gabriela. It’s a long process in the morning, so I play episodes of Barney and Sesame Street (she loves Elmo) on her iPad. She won’t eat by herself so I feed her some yogurt. Next, I comb her hair, clean her glasses and help brush her teeth.
7:15AM Fried eggs are sizzling and toast is crisping. Marco quickly eats before heading out to drop off Gabby at school.
7:25AM I buckle Gabriela into the car. After a long session of goodbye kisses and hugs with me, her brother and our dog, she finally accepts that she has to go.
7:30AM Breakfast. Ten minutes later, Marco returns home and joins Pedro and me and my big cup of coffee on the couch to watch the morning news.
8:10AM Time for the boys to leave for school and work. I help Pedro load his saxophone into the car and hug both boys.
8:30AM I call my mom for our daily phone chat. She lives in Brazil, but we love to stay closely connected.
9AM My neighbor friend Amanda arrives, and we go jogging for an hour around the neighborhood.
10AM Back home. I’m starving, so I make an omelet and eat while responding to emails and browsing social media.
11AM I cook a huge pot of rich soup for Gabriela loaded with lots of fresh veggies, protein and grains. She’ll eat this for lunch and dinner all week so I make sure that she’ll get all of her nutrients.
11:23AM Vacuum the first floor. Charlie is always shedding—his fur gets everywhere!
12:35PM Shower and get ready.
1:20PM Fill up the car with gas and buy some groceries for tonight.
2:30PM Home. I put away the groceries and then take Charlie for a walk. I return just in time to grab some chips and fruit before driving to Gabriela’s school. Before I leave, I put Charlie in the backyard—even tired from a long walk, he will destroy the whole house if he’s left inside alone.
3:10PM Waiting in the carpool line, I listen to music by my favorite artists (and native Texans), MercyMe and Kari Jobe.
3:30PM Gabby is walked to the car and gets inside. On the short drive home, she tells me about her day. My sweet girl always brightens my day with her smiles and funny stories.
3:35PM Home for a few minutes. I take Gabby to the restroom and then grab more snacks, toys and magazines before we load back into the car to pick up Pedro.
3:55PM I pull into the school parking lot. Gabby and I talk and play in the car while we wait. About a half hour later, Pedro arrives and we head home.
4:42PM Backyard playtime with my kids and our dog.
5:15PM Pedro snacks on mandarin oranges while I blend fruits for Gabby. Next, I season salmon, boil rice and cook vegetables for dinner.
6:15PM Bathtime for Gabriela. She’s joined in the bathroom by her toys, plus Charlie, who never misses bathtime. They even play fetch—he puts a ball in the tub and she throws it to him. It’s so funny!
6:55PM I feed Gabriela a bowl of soup, brush her teeth and take her to bed. A half hour later, she falls asleep. I head back to the kitchen to warm up dinner and see that Marco is home.
8:20PM Wash the dishes and tidy the kitchen before watching the local news.
9:45PM Prayer time.
10PM I read some news articles on my phone, take Charlie for a walk and get ready for bed. I give Pedro a quick kiss and tell him good night.
11PM I slide into bed. Marco and I fall asleep talking. It’s been a long day but a blessed one, and I thank God for our health, happiness and love.