I am absolutely thrilled to feature a fellow colleague of mine. I’ve known this Smarty Mom since I started working at a local ad agency, almost 13 years ago! I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know her better, and her amazing family, over the past few years. Teena is such a role model of mine as a working mom. Seeing how she rolls with it all is admirable to say the least. Watching Teena go through one of the scariest times of her life with her daughter being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes was heart wrenching but seeing how her family continues to thrive is awe inspiring. Let’s get to know Teena!
Smarty Mom: Teena Ray
Name: Teena Ray
Married to: Marty Ray
Children: Lauren and Mitchell – 17 years old
Occupation: Corporate Services Director -Wray Ward
First things first, please tell us about you and your hubby! How did you meet? How is he THE one?
Marty and I met when we were in elementary school but started dating, (going together) when we were 13. We were in 8th grade. He says he fell in love with me the minute he saw me walk into class Mrs. Anderson’s class, 7th grade. He can remember what I was wearing, very tight jeans and a purple and white striped shirt, with my hair pulled up on one side. (It was the 80’s) It however took longer for me. We became best friends, and still are today. I finally agreed to go out with him in 8th grade and here we are, will be married 25 years in July.
Tell us about the moment you found out you were having twins!
I found out I was having twins when I was 8 weeks pregnant. I knew something was up because at 8 weeks, I could not button any of my pants, and I was a size 2 then. When we had the sonogram, I could not see the screen, but I could see Marty’s eyes, and they were big as plates. We were terrified and very excited.
How are your twins similar? How are they different?
Lauren and Mitchell are very close. They are both such loving and caring people. Even though they are 17, they both still like to snuggle with us. And we are blessed they still talk to us, and we are all four very close and love to do things together. Lauren is very organized, has an amazing work ethic, and knows exactly what she wants and what needs to be done to get it. Mitchell is very much into sports, of all kinds, and know every stat you could possibly ever want to know.
Share your story about learning Lauren has Type 1 diabetes.
This is a tough one. Lauren was 12 when she was diagnosed. She was losing a good bit of weight, like many 12-year old girls do, and she was tired a good bit, but she was having end of year testing, so of course she was. But one day, at Great Wolf Lodge, she was walking towards me and I hardly recognized her. She seemed so skinny and fragile. She came to me because she was out of breath. And was not feeling well at all. Although she was trying to be tough and say she was ok, that she just needed to rest some. When she was diagnosed, we just did not know what to expect. She was very ill when we got to the hospital. She was in ketoacidosis, so the next 24 hours were very scary. She was in ICU a few days. From the moment we found out though, Lauren took charge. She said this is my new reality, and I can handle it. She asked the doctor lots of questions and by the time we left the hospital, she totally knew how to do everything she was going to have to do for the rest of her life. Giving herself shots every day, pricking her finger so many times, counting carbs for everything she ate and taking insulin for it. No more grabbing a cookie at the grocery store and eating it right away. She deals with highs and lows very often, and just feels terrible a lot of days. But she is amazing. She is so good at handling everything. She is our hero! While I cannot say that there is anything good about Diabetes, she went into the hospital a little girl that was scared of so much, dogs, elevators, fast rides, etc., but she left the hospital a young lady afraid of nothing.
What are adjustments that your family has made? How do you stay strong together?
We now have days that alarms are going off because her blood sugar is low, or because it is too high, we get up in the middle of the night with her. Mitchell being her twin, helps at times at school when she needs it, and he never hesitates to do whatever is needed at home when she is in an urgent situation.
What holiday traditions are you looking forward to?
Marty and I have exchanged ornaments every year since we started dating. And we have exchanged with the kids every year since they were born. So our Christmas tree is a tree down memory lane. I just love it. So on Christmas Eve is when we exchange our ornaments. I hope they carry on this tradition as they grow up.
What’s your ideal date night?
Taking a cruise on our boat, while Marty plays guitar.
What is something that your family absolutely loves about the Queen City?
We came from a very small town, so we love that there is so much to do here. We love the music venues in Charlotte. And we love that we are close to the lake. Lake Wylie is absolutely our favorite place to be. It is our Happy Place.
Ok, speed round…you have to answer with one word!
Favorite food: Sushi
Favorite app: Pinterest
Publix or Teeter: Publix
Mac or PC: PC
Favorite dessert: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
Host or attend: Host
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
Not everyone knows that Marty and I, and sometimes the kids, travel all over the US going to concerts and music festivals. Our favorite bands we follow and love to go see is The Revivalist and Maggie Koerner.
Lastly, finish this statement: I can’t live without my family!!!