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Gina Lynn

It’s a Wednesday morning in Lakewood and Gina Lynn is at home getting her twins Addison and Parker — both turning three in February — ready to go outside and play. “Is it okay if I call you right back? I try to always be as prompt as possible, but I think we’re habitually five to ten minutes late at all times!” she says with a laugh.
 
If anyone can understand what it’s like to be a parent, tardiness and all, it’s Gina. The 35-year-old soon-to-be-Frisco resident has a packed schedule that may intimidate even the busiest of moms. From her flourishing career as a hospitality industry consultant — Gina’s got the inside track of some of North Texas’ hottest dining establishments and plans on unleashing it for public consumption in the future — to her most important role of making sure her family is well taken care of, Gina gives 100-percent to everything she does. And when it comes to caring for Parker, who was born with respiratory, heart and pulmonary conditions, it’s more like 110 percent.
 
For most of the twins’ first year, Gina and husband Derek had the double challenge of taking care of Addison at home and watching over Parker at the hospital, where she stayed for eight months. It was literally a tag-tag team situation back then. Derek would go to the hospital first thing in the morning while Gina stayed home and nursed and did tummy time with Addison. By 9 a.m., it was the girls’ turn to go to Medical City. Gina still recalls the routine quite clearly. “There was a crib set up, and Derek and I would raise the two girls in the hospital. Derek would come during his lunch break; he would leave work early; he would help me bathe Parker every night. Then [we’d] take Addison home and get her taken care of. One of us would go back to the hospital until 10, 11,12, 1 in the morning every single night until we brought [Parker] home.”
 
Fortunately, life at the Lynns’ has gone from “survival mode” to “thrive mode” as Gina puts it, but it still definitely has its own set of challenges. Gina’s day-to-day is dominated by Parker’s feeding and breathing needs. However, as the days go by, Parker is becoming more keenly aware of her surroundings and isn’t hesitant to let everyone around her know. “She is, neurologically, really kind of a miracle,” Gina says. She was basically sedated for six to seven months solid, and she’s come out of that a little girl who knows what she wants, loves to read, is learning sign language and is keeping up with her sister.”
 
Gina also reveals that Addison has definitely had a hand in Parker’s steadfast recovery. She challenges Parker in so many ways, enticing her to talk, walk and, of course, like any sibling, drive her sister crazy. During those times at the hospital, Addison was always there by her side. “I have a picture of the two of them post-op,” Gina says. “They’re holding hands and their arms are up in the air like, ‘Yeah we made it!’”
 
Humbly, Gina doesn’t take all of the credit, if she takes any credit at all. As the old adage goes, “it takes a village,” and luckily, Gina’s village is filled with friends and family who are ready to help out, whether it’s a friend dropping off a bite to eat, Derek’s mom coming in during the week so Gina can work on her projects or just knowing that Derek’s dad can be counted on for support and help day or night. In addition, the Lynns also have nursing care at home to help with Parker’s needs. 
 
“We’re all just doing our best,” Gina opines. “I think it’s always important to support your fellow mamas because we’re just doing the best we can — and it’s amazing how we do such great work and get so much done with our hair on fire!”
 
Gina credits the moms she met in the heart unit at Medical City with saving her sanity. “I was having trouble with Parker’s speech development and another mom helped me through that,” Gina explains. And she’s been there for others. One mom recently needed feeding tube advice for her son, and Gina helped since she fought — and won — that same battle this past summer when she advocated for Parker to start getting whole food nutrition instead of just formula to help her gain more weight. “It's so important for parents to not accept status quo when it comes to their children,” Gina says. “We need to learn from other moms and advocate for our kids.”
 
And while Gina uses these networks to relate to other moms who have had to hook up oxygen tanks and feeding tubes for their kids, Gina’s situation is still unique as a mother to twins. She explains, “I think it was tough because I had to take in every single moment of normalcy with Addison [while dealing with Parker’s situation].” Still, she never compares the two. Gina likens her girls to “sisters with the same birthday” rather than twins. But in a way, she counts herself lucky: Since both girls reached certain milestones at different times (learning to walk or always wanting to be held, for example), Gina feels she’s always able to give each of them their own special mother-daughter time.  
 
It’s incredible to think that this busy mom has any spare time, but she does take some time for herself — and her husband too. “Eighty-five percent of my time is dedicated to my girls, and I am totally in the moment when I’m with them,” Gina says. But when she permits herself 15 minutes to work out in her closet (true story), an hour to workout once a week at Orange Theory, time to do her job or a night out with her husband, she focuses on being present and not thinking about medications or doctors or the girls. “I don’t allow myself those thoughts because I don’t allow guilt to creep into this time,” she says. “This time is all mine.”
 
So does this proud mom have any parting words of wisdom for the rest of us? “Pat yourself on the back and know that being a parent in general — healthy kid; our situation —is not easy, but is so worth it. Give yourself and the people around you a break. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s beautiful. The days are long but the years are short. Take it all in.”