Tuesday, July 27, 2010

TGFFF (Thank God For Friends and Family)!

It’s been a rough few weeks in the Lyons Den. In fact, it’s been a challenging couple of years as we’ve adjusted to life with the triplets and the untimely death of my brother-in-law, who recently lost his battle with lung cancer. To provide a bit more context, our daughter had just turned two the week our triplets were born and our oldest was not yet four – which gave us five kids under four to tend to and trust me, at times it wasn’t pretty! Trying to feed, change and acclimate to life with three newborns while still finding time to shower their big brother and sister with attention and affection wasn’t always easy. And, when my brother-in-law got sick earlier this year, not surprisingly, life got a bit more challenging once again.

My husband and I both work full time; when we arrive home, our second – and arguably more important – full time job begins: the care and feeding of all our little Lyons Cubs. This is a job we love – except, of course, for the times we don’t… like when there are five kids whining for dinner or arguing over a ball and creating at decibels that really requires those fancy noise-canceling headphones. In any case, when Conor got sick, my husband was often the first in line to tend to him, leaving me to tend to our five tots at home. Of course, this was as it should be but, it was hard, as life occasionally is.

 Being of rather proud and stoic Irish descent, I’m not one to ask for help and my husband most certainly wouldn’t think of it! We are strong, we are optimistic, we can be tough and at times, we can be downright obstinate. When the triplets came home from the hospital (all together, without spending a day in the NICU! So much for the “phased rollout” I had planned on!), there were many offers of help. “Just tell us what we can do” said countless family and friends. “Oh no, we’re FINE” I’d reply as I wiped the sleep from my eyes and staggered by them in a daze. Fine? Really? No way! We were so NOT fine. We were exhausted and overwhelmed and it took getting a nasty case of bronchitis when the babies were six weeks old for me to finally “cave in” and accept the kindness and assistance that had so readily been offered. I only wish it hadn’t taken me so long.

Before we knew what hit us, there were neighbors bringing dinner, friends feeding babies and weekend visits from family that allowed us to occasionally get out of the house and leave the kids behind. Conor continued the task he started when Ciara was born and walked our dog Finnegan each and every day. Slowly but surely, we started to rely on our newfound extended support system and eased into the daily routine of juggling life, work and play with five tykes under five. Today, we’d be lost without these folks – especially since we are now so keenly feeling the loss of Conor. Let me share a snapshot of life in the Lyons Den one day last week…

At 5:45AM, I rolled out of bed to meet two of my neighbors and friends for our morning run. On this run, I know I can vent, stew or simply stay silent; they support me through thick and thin and have heard more than their fair share as the miles go by. Home by 7:00, I find another neighbor on the front porch, offering to take Finny for a walk; he knows he is filling part of the void Conor left behind and knows we are truly grateful. At 8:30, yet another neighbor shows up, offering to take the kids to camp so I’m not late for work. Again! As I run for the car at 9:15 (late despite it all!), I’m stopped by two other neighbors – one who offers to make us dinner that night and another who mentions that they picked up diapers for us and will drop them by later.

All this is welcome help at a time when we’ve really needed it; all this assistance has quite literally arrived on our doorstep because we finally learned a simple life lesson: just say yes. When someone offers to help, don’t hesitate, just say yes! Sure, life has its ups and downs and it isn’t always easy but, it’s a whole lot easier when you just say yes to a little help from your friends.