People often ask what it’s like to have a trio of two-year old tots at home. The short answer is reminiscent of a classic nursery rhyme – when it’s good, it’s very very good but when it’s bad, it’s horrid. Fortunately, while I’ve seen a few horrid glimpses of the “terrible twos”, life in the Lyons Den is for the most part very, very good. It is so good in fact that my husband and I have occasionally remarked we feel sorry for all the folks out there who only got one baby at a time… mind you, that was us (twice!) before we got the surprise of a lifetime and discovered that we were having these three little guys!

Think of all those tender baby and toddler moments that are probably part of your fondest memories… the precious warmth of a snuggly newborn, the infectious belly laughs, the wonder of the first tooth and first step, the humor of the “do it self!” phase of burgeoning independence… now imagine it all times three. All those endearing moments and memorable milestones – imagine them multiplied and intensified by three and that is life in the Lyons Den. Since we’re still basking in the afterglow of Valentine’s Day, it seems especially appropriate to focus on all that is very very good… we will save the horrid moments for a later date!

Since he is the firstborn triplet, let’s start with Kevin. With the admittedly unfortunate nickname of KooKooBear, (often shortened to just KooKoo), Kevin is a consistently good natured little fella. We liken him to Winnie the Pooh; this sweet guy started happily humming in his crib when he was about six months old and he hasn’t stopped. He is always singing and never in a hurry. This is a guy with no sense of urgency, just a laidback sweetheart of a two-year old who likes to do things on his own time. A brisk walk to “school” would never occur to him; there’s just no need to move quickly when there are snowplows to watch or birds up above or perhaps a cat across the street. One day this week, my KooKooBear told me I looked like a princess which, of course, melted my heart. Until my husband suggested that he wasn’t actually saying “princess” — he was saying “pants on.” Whether he was referring to his diaper-clad self or suggesting that I should trade my skirt for pants, I’ll never know. In my mind, I’d much prefer to believe he thinks his mama is a princess. And so I do.

Next there’s Declan, born as “Baby B.” I think Declan (sometimes referred to as “Duckling”) might be a genius. Really. I know every parent thinks their kid is a genius but, let’s face it, I’ve got a lot of kids and if I had to pick just one genius out of the group, it would be Declan. He was the first to roll over, sit up, walk and talk. He has a quiet, introspective side and can often be found on the couch “reading” a book with the “big kids” while Kevin and Cormac are spinning in circles until they fall down dizzy. Our “Duckling” is an avid animal lover and can also be found reclining on Finnegan, our 80-pound lab; he has a certain kinship with Finn and is naturally drawn to animals of all sorts – as am I. Though he can be a tad serious, he’s got a laugh that lights up the room – an infectious laugh that comes from the heart (and belly!), is filled with joy and can make a bad day good. Interestingly, Declan seems to exist on milk and milk alone. He might nibble on a meal now and again but he can down a sippy cup of milk in a minute – often hands-free, which is just another of his firsts. Genius, right?

Last but not least, Baby Mac. Cormac was the smallest of the litter when they were born and from the moment he arrived, seemed determined to defy his “Baby Mac” moniker. When they were newborns and it was difficult to tell them apart (they are identical, after all!), I would tell people that I thought Cormac’s eyelashes were “curlier”. Now, that’s really grasping for straws, isn’t it?! Curlier eyelashes? Who in their right mind would notice such a thing? I now know that what caught my attention; it wasn’t his luscious eyelashes (which all my kids have) but rather, a glint in his eye. You know what I mean… that impish, charming glint matched by a similar impish, charming smile. This is the guy to watch. If we say zig, he zags; if it’s time to go, he wants to stay; if we say no, he wants to play. He is as charming and contrarian and conniving as a little guy can be and he will lead his brothers down the path of destruction if given just the hint of a chance. If asked, he may tell you that he is “KooKoo” or “Duckling” but when you see that glint (and chronically running nose!), you will know it is “Baby Mac.” Ladies, you have been warned. And you should also know that he gives a great hug – a really big, tight, cling-on kind of a hug that can only mean “I love you.”

I am so lucky to have these little Valentine’s in my life; they may be identical but they are each an original and so far, it’s been a delight to watch them grow. And, lest you think I’ve been heavily medicated or just completely lost my mind, tune in again next week for the “horrid” part of the story!

I recently took a few weeks off between jobs. I was burned out, needed a break and really yearning for some quality time with our little Lyons Cubs. Having only known the life of a WM (Working Mom), I always wondered what it would be like to be a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom).  I officially joined the workforce as a gift-wrapping teenager back in the 80’s and since then, my only time off has been maternity leave… nine weeks when Liam was born in 2004, sixteen weeks when Ciara was born in 2006 and twenty weeks when the triplets were born in 2008.

I had mixed emotions about my maternity leaves… perhaps because I had mixed emotions about motherhood. With Liam, I was petrified of this little human that I had no clue how to care for; I was honestly surprised that they thought me capable enough to send us home from the hospital together!  With Ciara, I just couldn’t imagine how I’d juggle this sweet little rosebud of a newborn with the always active almost two-year old that Liam had become. And with the triplets, well, needless to say, I was completely overwhelmed!

As any WM knows, a maternity leave is far from the blissful break some folks suggest it may be. It is a daunting time full of sleep deprivation, dirty diapers, saggy body parts and for me, an occasional sense of isolation. I never thought that having a baby (or three!) could be a lonely experience but it was. It was very lonely to be awake with a hungry newborn at 3:00AM with swollen boobs that just wouldn’t work. Or mid-day when my pals were out having fun and I was home with a crying soul I was trying so hard to understand. Of course, these feelings are not the sole territory of the WM, I’m quite certain that SAHMs experience the same range of emotions from fear to anxiety to yes, even the wonder of it all. Because it is indeed a wonder — the fact that your body produced this little person (or, in my case, people!) who stare into your eyes with such adoration… I’d like to think it was adoration although, I know quite well those meaningful glances could have certainly just been gas!

My point is that any time I’ve ever taken off from work has been filled with the sleepless nights and unpredictable days of infancy. So, taking a few weeks “off” to be a SAHM with three two year olds, a four year old and six year old was a completely different – and dare I say, much better – experience!

My stay at home sabbatical has been a dream come true. In a way, it was kind of a test… can I really juggle all these crazy kids without escaping to the grown-up work world that I’m accustomed to? Will l like it? Will I still like them? Will they still like me? These are the questions that ran through my head as I embarked on my six week stay at home. And, in short, the answers are yes, yes, yes and thankfully, yes!

I was finally able to participate in the many activities that I know (from a very good friend!) get to be a drone for the full-time SAHM but were a thrill for me… the preschool pick up and drop off, the meet and greet at the school bus, the ability to go to the pediatrician in the middle of the day, the chance to take some kids to the grocery store, host playdates, pick up from CCD and dream up random things to do – many of which focused on cooking or baking so, I fear this stay at home sabbatical has resulted in a slightly rounder me but, c’est la vie! I’ve loved every minute of it. And I’m prepared to admit that perhaps the reason why is because I always knew it would be short-term.

I always knew I was going back to work; it was just a question of when. These past few weeks have essentially been a maternity leave without the sleep deprivation, isolation and post-pregnancy hormone horrors. It was like a dream come true to have this break and, like most dreams, it is coming to an end. I will soon cross the line and head back to the place I know best, back to my role as a WM. I am truly grateful for the time I’ve had – for baking cookies, playing in the snow, walking the triplets to school, taking Ciara to gymnastics, meeting Liam at the bus, finding the time to quietly read to them all, cooking dinner without the post-work angst and mayhem, snuggling in PJs on weekdays, all of it. It has been stellar; it has truly been a gift.

And, it has helped me to see that the grass really is always greener on the other side… I now know what I have as a WM that I wouldn’t as a SAHM. Beyond benefits and financial stability, working gives me the opportunity to pee when I want to and to eat a whole sandwich without sharing, if I so desire. It gives me intellectual stimulation and constant adult conversation that rarely wanders into the land of potty-training or discipline.

Thanks to my stay at home sabbatical, I will no longer wonder “what if” because now I know — I am glad to have a career and even gladder to know that should it all come crashing down, I have five little people at home who will always be glad to have a SAHM.

This is the tale of three tots who were all tucked in
But then started to make quite a loud din
To the room I rushed as they giggled with glee
And what to my wondering eyes did I see?

Three little fellas bouncing up and down
No longer wearing pjs and acting like clowns
Their clothes were off, thrown to the floor
Little did I know what was in store.

On the ground with their pajamas were their blankies and their toys
Chattering and laughing were my little boys
“I have POO POO!” exclaimed one and then another
As each pointed a finger at another brother.

They were still wearing onesies so I wasn’t too alarmed
In fact they were cute, working their boyish charms.
I took the first guy out and changed his diaper quickly
When suddenly I noticed something that looked rather sickly.

It was another little fella with a smudge under his eye
“What do we have here?” I thought as I picked up the little guy.
“Poo poo!” he said as he grinned from ear to ear
And I let out a howl that I’m surprised you didn’t hear.

“POO POO!” he once more shouted, quite proud of what he’d done
As I wondered once again “who ever said motherhood was fun?!”
“Oh SH*T!” I thought to myself as I took a closer look…
It was under his nails, on his arms and legs and stuck in every nook.

It was on the crib, on the sheets, on the changing table too,
This was not the night I had in mind, I don’t mind telling you!
After a bath and a stern little chat back to bed my boy did go,
I think he was bragging to his brothers but I suppose I’ll never know.

I do know this and I’m not afraid to admit it,
These guys are really funny — even when covered in sh*t!  

Last week I had the good fortune to organize a girls night out with a bunch of local moms. Some I knew, some I didn’t and all seemed to have the same question: “Tell us about a typical day. What is it really like with all of those kids?”

One reply would be that there is nothing “typical” about any day in the Lyons Den. While routine reigns supreme, much like our rules, our routines are quite often broken. We do our best to just roll with it — something that does not come naturally to me! With that in mind, here’s a glimpse into a recent day… let’s call it Tuesday… a Tuesday when the sitter and I both had the day off from work and I was the full-time LyonsDenMOM that I love to be!
 5:45AM Wake up. Reluctantly drag sluggish self out of bed, bundle up for run, stagger to turn on coffee pot on way out.

6:00 AM Meet friends for cold, dark, icy morning run.

6:45 AM Return home feeling great and ready for the day ahead. Unload dishwasher, consume large cup of coffee.

7:00 AM Drag 1st grader out of bed. Poke, prod, prompt him to get dressed, eat breakfast , brush teeth, comb hair and bolt for bus.

7:30 AM Put boy on bus; take dog for walk.

8:10 AM Return from dog walk. Peek in at Princess PreSchooler; urge her to get up and get dressed

8:15 AM Greet boys bouncing in cribs. Literally. Two year old triplets are catching air as they greet me enthusiastically and in unison alternating between “How are you today?!” and “GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!”

8:30 AM Husband leaves. Early. Thought he was going to drop off Princess PreSchool but he can’t. Panic. Only have a half hour to get four kids fed and dressed and out the door!

9:15 AM Missed the deadline. Drop the Princess off. Late. Again.

9:30 AM Back home. Cubs still need breakfast and are due at “Stepping Stones” in fifteen minutes. Devise a quick game of “Pass the Banana” to get some nutrition in them before bolting out the door again.

9:45 AM Cubs class starts.

10:00 AM We arrive. Hang three coats, gather three hats and six mittens. Wash six hands. I depart amid sweet protests of “No Go Mama!”

10:10 AM Home. House looks like a tornado went through it. Time to make beds, tidy cribs, clean kitchen, thrown in laundry and take a shower.

11:35 AM No time for shower. Again. Arrive to pick up Cubs (5 minutes late); wrestle them into hats, coats and mittens; begin walk to pick up Princess PreSchool. Realize we will never make there on time. Again.

11:55 AM Shortcut turns into long-cut due to ice and snow. Barely survive nature’s slip & slide as I make three trips to get triplets up and over snow bank. Thankfully, Princess PreSchool and her teachers are forgiving as we literally slide in the door. Late. Again.

12:00 PM Sun is shining, kids are bundled up, this Mom is feeling game and decides for some outside playtime before stopping for pizza on way home.

12:30 PM Pizza and juice boxes followed by the resistance and rebelliousness one might expect from a trio of tired two year olds and their feisty four year old sister.

1:15 PM Head home. Ten minute walk turns into 45 minute crawl with avid attention given to Con Ed workers, snow plows, dump trucks, even delivery trucks. My curious Cubs stop to take it all in. Tedious, yes, but so far this still beats a day in the office!

2:00 PM Home at last. Already well past nap time. Need to quickly bathe triplets and tuck them in so I can bolt back to bus stop for 2:30 pick up. I can’t be late; if I’m not there, they will return my 1st grader to school and that would really screw up my afternoon!

2:35 PM 1st grader flies off bus and into my arms with a huge grin. I love this day.

2:45 PM 1st grader and Princess PreSchooler brawling as triplets scream from cribs. I hate this day.

3:00 PM Snack time for “big kids” as I sort mail and consider what to do for dinner. Roast chickens (yep, we need two of ‘em!) sound good. Plan to put them in at 4:00.

3:15 PM Can’t stand the bickering anymore. Turn TV on and sort through hurricane of hand-me-downs as big kids absorb mindless drivel courtesy of Yo Gabba Gabba and Wow Wow Wubzy. Who comes up with this stuff?!

4:30 PM OMG! How is it 4:30?! Why are there piles of clothes (2T, 3T, 5T Girls!) covering every surface of my living room?! What about the chickens? We’re supposed to eat at 6:00! Must put chickens in oven NOW!!

5:18 PM Chickens are in. Took longer than expected. Big kids finishing another snack. Little kids up from nap; angry and demanding “GET ME OUT OF HERE!” They no longer ask “How are you today?!” 

5:20 PM Bath time for big kids; diaper change for little guys. All are singing and jolly now. I love this day.

6:00 PM Chickens not done, five kids hungry and screaming. I am exhausted, aching and ready to tear my hair out. I hate this day!

7:00 PM Feed kids cooked bits of chicken as they polish off another gallon of milk. They tell Dad about playing “Pass the Banana”, going out for pizza and how cool it was to see me at the bus stop. I love this day.

So, that’s it! Nothing “typical” about it beyond the prevailing chaos and frequent ups and downs that I’m sure are familiar to most moms. As for me, well, I admit that sometimes it’s a break to go to work but, I relish my time at home and truly do love these days.

2011 has officially arrived. Much to my own disbelief, this is the year that Liam will turn seven (yikes!), our princess Ciara will turn 5 (and go to KINDERGARTEN!!!) and the triplets will turn three (however can that be?!). This is also the year that I will turn 40. I have to say, I’m kind of looking forward to it. Maybe we’ll have a big party. Or perhaps find a way to finagle a weekend away from all of these kids… a girl’s gotta dream, right? For me, hope springs eternal about what the future will hold and, never more so than at this time of year.

This year, as I teeter on the edge of 40 and ponder what 2011 may hold, I’ve decided to rethink my resolutions. I’ve decided that since there’s an undeniable pattern in my annual goals (exercise more, save more money, find time for date nights!), why limit them to a calendar year? Why not think of resolutions as long term ambitions? Maybe it’s a cop out. Maybe I’m letting myself off the hook by lifting the 12.31.11 deadline but, on the other hand, maybe I’m giving myself the chance to truly be a better person and lead a better life. It is with this hope, intention and optimism in mind that I share with you my goals for 2011… and beyond.

 I would like to yell less and listen more. I’d like to really listen, to actually hear what my children and my husband have to say. To take the time to digest and respond to their comments, thoughts and requests with more than my typically breezy “yup, uh-huh, sure” or “what’d ya say, hon?”

I’d like to be more present and less distracted. To live in the moment. To savor the moment. To recognize that it’s not always necessary (or productive!) to fold the laundry while helping with homework and assisting with puzzles and Lego creations. To realize that the homework, puzzles and Legos matter far more than neatly folded towels! To remember that multi-tasking has its limits and ultimately, gets in the way of really listening, being present and living in the moment.

I’d like to be more grateful for what I do have rather than longing for what I do not. I’d like to truly appreciate the little things that matter and stop yearning for the big things that don’t. I’d like to start each day with a smile and end it the same way. I’d like to be a better wife and more patient parent. I’d like to instill my children with a sense of confidence in themselves and respect for others.

I’d like to set a good example – something I’m not always prone to do, especially toward the end of the day when I’m as tired and hungry as my five little “Cubs”; I’ve been known to try to outshout them just to be heard and trust me, this doesn’t work. Not to mention, it does nothing for your esteem to know that you’ve stooped to the level of a pre-schooler!

Come to think of it, perhaps I’m resolving to simply stop acting like the many pre-schoolers who inhabit our home. All I need to do is be a better listener, focus on the task at hand and take time to appreciate (rather than sweat!) the small stuff… including, for example, all the arts & crafts projects our little Cubs create.  If I’m lucky, this year’s projects will include a few nice birthday cards wishing me a Happy 40th and I’ll be perfectly happy with just that. Although, of course, the party and weekend away would be nice too!  :)

Girls Day Out

December 17th, 2010 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in aunts | family | MaMa Moments | motherhood | Out and About - (0 Comments)

Today was a delight of a day.  I managed to take it off and spend it exclusively with my little lady and one of my favorite aunts.  Just the girls.  No big brother, no little brothers, no one to steal the spotlight from my four year-old princess (or alternatively, drama queen!) in training.  Today was just for us and I must say, it was stellar. 

We took the train to the city and walked over to Lord & Taylor to see the windows and meet my aunt.  This aunt is the kind of aunt you wish for — she’s the one who let me play with her makeup, helped me through my teenage angst,  and got me a CB jacket for Christmas circa 1984.  If you were in eighth grade in the 80s and leaned toward the Preppy Hand Book side of life, you know just how cool that CB jacket was… it was the perfect complement my matching Bermuda bag and headband.  But, I digress… 

Today we marveled at the windows, strolled through the windy city streets and bonded over lunch.  If you were to ask Ciara about her favorite part of the day, it wasn’t the train ride or the Rockefeller Center tree or the windows at Saks or the huge plate of cookies she devoured with hot chocolate; it was “having lunch with Auntie Pat when she gave me my special bracelet.”

Just as we sat down, Auntie Pat presented Ciara with what can only be called big-girl bling… a silver charm bracelet with a little angel because, as she put it, Ciara is her angel.  While my little lady seemed rather unimpressed with the beautiful gift upon tearing it open (instantly remarking “why isn’t the pizza ready yet?”), just a few hours later, it stood out in her mind as the highlight of a day filled with highlights.  It’s the first thing she told her Dad about and the last thing she took off before bed.  It has a special place in her room just as the memories of this day will forever have a special place in my heart. 

Today was an excellent reminder of just how good (and perhaps even necessary!) it is to take a day off to bond with your little ones… as I’m told repeatedly and am starting to see firsthand, they really do grow up so fast.  So, why not treat yourself to some quality time with them and enjoy it while it lasts?!

This weekend, I came up with a pretty ingenious game for our two-year old triplets, if I do say so myself!  Now, we all know that it’s tons of fun to ask your tiny tot what various animals say…

What does a cow say?  MOO!  What does a lamb say?  BAA!  What does a duck say?  QUACK, QUACK, QUACK!  What does a kitty-cat say?  MEOW!  What does a lion say?  ROAR! What does a rooster say?  COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO!  The rooster has really been my favorite until now.  Until my clever new addition to this age-old game of toddler wits:  What does a Mama say?

Now, with a sassy four year old and a savvy six year old in the house, this question could be answered in a number of unfortunate and unflattering ways…

NO!  Stop it!  Did you hear me?!  STOP YELLING!  Hurry up!  Let’s go!  NOW!  Finish your breakfast/lunch/dinner!  Put your shoes on.  NOW!  Don’t hit/bite/kick your sister/brother!  Go to your room! NO!  Drink your milk.  NO!  How am I supposed to know where your shoes are?  TIME OUT! Clean up!  NOW!

If only I’d thought of this smart little toddler mind-game when my first two were just tots.  But, as I always say, better late than never.  I am quite proud to have three chirping little cherubs at home who will now (and hopefully for quite some time to come!) answer the question “What does a Mama say”  buy enthusiastically responding “I love you!”  And, since there are three of them, I get “I love you, I love you, I love you!”  I know, it is a bit self-serving but really, nothing beats it.  And, if one of them thinks that a pig says neigh and a horse says oink, well, as long as they know what a Mama says, that’s good enough for me! 

With a first-grader, a preschooler and three toddlers, our house is rampant with runny noses, shared stomach bugs and whatever the illness du jour may be… Coxsackie virus? Strep throat? Fifth’s disease? We’ve had them all and, survived them all thanks to our following five must-haves:

1. Paper products and lots of ‘em. In our house, noses run like faucets and there’s a box of tissues in every room. Even so, we sometimes run out and then there’s a roll of toilet paper or paper towels in every room. Classy, right? What can I say? Desperate times call for desperate measures. Especially when a virus suddenly spreads from noses to bellies and we find ourselves short on T.P. just when we need it. The morale of this story? Don’t wait ‘til the kids get sick – stock up now and when you think you have enough tissues, toilet paper and paper towels to survive the season, buy a few more. Then you should be all set.

2. Surprizzles. What is a surprizzle, you say? A surprizzle is a small, unexpected little treat. A modestly-sized surprise. Something that evokes a room-brightening smile on even the darkest of days. I’ve learned to make our dark days brighter by keeping a few surprizzles on hand at all times. Kid has a fever and you want them to chill out in the tub? Give them some cool tub crayons to keep ‘em busy… and, as an added perk, teach them to clean the tub afterwards! Can’t stand to hear “I’m bored” one more time? Whip out that new video that you nabbed for $4.99 the last time you were at Costco. Got a little fella who needs a pick me up? A matchbox car almost always does the trick. And, for a little lady who’s feeling sick and blue, a nice new coloring book will give her something to do. Keep a few surprizzles on hand and I guarantee that your sick days will be a bit less dreary.

3. Caffeine. No joke. A sick day is almost always preceded by a sick night. The kind of night when you just might have run out of tissues, toilet paper and paper towels. The kind of night when you may have done three loads of laundry after midnight. The kind of night where your tiny tot slept in fitful feverish bouts while you watched over them wrenching your worried hands. When the sun finally rises, your sweet little sickie will likely snooze ‘til ten but you still have to get someone else to school, empty the dishwasher, walk the dog and have your best Florence Nightingale act perfected for when your Sleeping Sickie rises. So, do yourself a favor and the next time you’re at Costco or wherever you go, in addition to that cheap DVD for the surprizzle stock, buy the super-sized bag of coffee or another case of Diet Coke or whatever it is you are into. You’ll be glad that you did.

4. The basics. I make an annual trek to CVS and stock up on Tylenol, Motrin, and pretty much anything else that catches my eye in the jam-packed kids medicine aisle… Benadryl, bacetracin, calamine lotion, hydrogen peroxide, band-aids of all shapes, sizes and Disney characters, you get the picture. And, cleaning out is as important as stocking up… I recently had to clear out the tiny tots cold/cough medicine (looks like the FDA or the AAP changed their mind on that one!), all the stuff that Johnson & Johnson recalled this summer and a slew of old expired bottles. Believe me, you don’t want to be looking for this stuff in the middle of the night. You’ll sleep soundly knowing that you’ve got the goods in place for the times you really need it.

5. A back up plan. Someone to take your big kid to soccer if the little ones are sick. Someone who will cover for you at work when you have to run to the pediatrician. A friend you can call who’s seen it all before. Someone who might come over just long enough for you to take a shower… and, possibly make you that cup of coffee you will surely need.

With these things in place I know I can handle the cold and flu season that looms ahead of us… now, if someone would just bring us some nice home-made chicken soup, we’d be all set!

It came, it lingered, it kind of kicked our ass, and now it’s just a memory. The 2010 ING New York Marathon. Sunday was the big day. My husband Des ran like a rock star. Well, maybe that’s not quite the right analogy but, you get the gist of it. He ran 26.2 miles and crossed the coveted finish line with a smile. Not that I saw it, mind you — I was running down Central Park West, bobbing and weaving my way through weary marathoners and their families in a desperate attempt to see my man cross the finish line. My day was a marathon of sorts in its own right and it went something like this…

5:30AM: Husband wakes me from snuggly slumber; informs me it’s time to drive him to the bus that will deliver him to the starting line in Staten Island

6:15 AM: Kids wake up.  All five of them. Thanks Daylight Savings time, that’s just what I needed!

6:30-9:30AM: Feed kids, dress kids, make beds, tidy rooms, empty dishwasher, walk dog, pack provisions… LOTS of provisions… granola bars, cereal bars, cheese sticks, yogurts, apples, PB&J sandwiches, water bottles, juice boxes, goldfish, fruit snacks and more!

9:30-10:00: Load tots and provisions into car. Double check for five hats, five pairs of mittens, two double strollers, blankets, camera, posters, change of clothes (and Advil!) for Des post-marathon, change of clothes for kids in case of unforeseen vomit/crap-out/rainstorm or other potential disaster

10:00-10:15: Repeat the Hail Mary as I leave kids double-parked in running car while obtaining three green balloons (our visual marker for Des to locate us on the sidelines)

10:15 – 11:00: Drive into city while trying to explain to five kids under six why they will still see their Dad even though they saw the marathon start on TV and are convinced they already saw him run by; the notion of distance, time, and staggered starts is not making an impression on them; simultaneously explain why I can’t drive on the West Side Highway while administering their typical in-transit snack and beverage service

11:00-11:30 Locate parking garage, ditch car, unload contents as described above, say more Hail Mary’s that my parents arrive before I lose a triplet on Amsterdam Ave.

11:30-12:00: My parents arrived! Load all kids and assorted sundries into two cabs across town, unload once again, assemble strollers, load with supplies and proceed to our first viewing spot: 92nd and 1st

12:15: Panic. “Athlete Alert” informs me that Des is running a 19 minute mile and has an estimated 8 hour/53 minute finish time. Initial thoughts: “OMG, he’s hurt” followed by “Sh*t! I didn’t bring enough to keep them busy for almost 9 hours!”

12:30-1:15: Juggle, struggle, muddle, cuddle, bounce, bop. Anything to keep the kids contained and entertained while we wait for Des to run by. Optimism prevails as murmurs on 1st Ave. confirm that “Athlete Alerts” have gone AWOL.  Faith is restored. My man is on his way.

1:20: He arrives! He looks great!  He’s run over 17 miles! As planned, I hop in to run a few with him in hopes of keeping him from “hitting the wall”. I abandon my parents on 92nd and 1st with five kids, two strollers, all the crap we’ve lugged in for the day and instructions to meet me at the finish — 67th and Central Park West. I look back, see the fear on their faces, wish them luck and then I run. I don’t look back again.

1:20-2:20: I run six glorious miles with Des. What fun! Up First Ave., over the Willis Avenue bridge, into the Bronx, out of the Bronx, through Harlem and down Fifth Avenue to Central Park. There are bands, choirs, a cheering crowd and refreshments along the way… this is great! Then it dawns on me.  My mile six is everyone else’s mile 24… and it sucks to be them. And I am imposter!  I chirp to Des that he’s done it, the worst is behind him, that from here on it’s literally just a walk in the park and then, with promises to see him at the finish line, I jump out of the race and into the Park.

2:30 I know it will take Des about 20 minutes to reach the finish line.  The clock is ticking as I battle the crowds. I don’t know where my parents or kids are. I am freezing cold. I realize that in the frenzy of the day, I haven’t had breakfast or lunch and I start to regret that I didn’t take a banana or Goo when the nice people on 5th Ave. offered it!

2:35 I literally stumble across my family while cutting across the Great Lawn. A triplet is gagging and turning blue in his stroller. No one knows why. My four year old mentions he may have been given a gumball. I freak out, pull him out, and pound it out of him. Then I rather curtly inform those closest to my heart that they won’t make it to see Des at the finish but I must try so, once again, good bye!

2:36-2:56 I am alternatively stuck/climbing fences/dodging weary runners and racing down Central Park West to get to the finish. I finally arrive to see a text from a friend “Congrats Des, you did it!” I am too late. I am crushed.

3:00-3:45 I get pushed into the post-marathon runners corrale. I can’t find Des, I can’t get in touch with my parents. I am still cold, tired , hungry and suddenly surrounded by like-minded folks with one teeny exception… they just ran 26.2 miles and have a medal and a warming blanket. I have nothing but a bunch of texts congratulating the husband I can’t find.

4:00 I find him! I hug him. I kiss him. I cry. A lot. It’s over. And, while I missed his photo-finish, I realize that I also missed the point. The point is that he did it. He made it. He achieved his goals – physically, emotionally, even financially. He raised thousands of dollars to fight lung cancer, ran through the five boroughs and crossed the finish line with a smile on his face.

As for me, well, next year I just might make t-shirts that say Run Mom Run because truth be told, I too covered a lot of miles on marathon day!

Moms Rule

September 16th, 2010 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in friendship | motherhood | support system | Tips and Quips - (0 Comments)

I recently attended my local Mothers of Multiples monthly meeting. Truth be told, I didn’t want to go. I never want to go; I think I’ve only made it to two meetings in two years – although, of course, the five kids under five could have something to do with my poor attendance record. In any case, I was worn out from a long day at work and the typical chaos of our dinner and bedtime routine. I was wearing old leggings and a crappy t-shirt and would have been more content settling in for the night than driving 20 minutes away to mingle with a group of women who I barely knew and wasn’t sure if I’d have much more in common with than the admittedly bizarre fact our uteruses (uteri?!) happened to host more than one baby at a time.

 But, I figured, as I often do, nothing ventured, nothing gained. So, I slapped on some lipstick, threw on a cute pair of flats (courtesy of my sister, as with most cute things I own!), tossed on a sweater and headed out the door. And boy, am I ever glad I did. After just a few short hours with a bunch of women I hardly knew, here’s what I’ve concluded: Moms Rule.

 Not just the “Moms of Multiples” who I had the pleasure of spending the evening with, but all Moms. I realized that we are united by far more than our expanding and contracting uteruses – or, for that matter, by our saggy boobs, baggy bellies and bags under our eyes. We are united in that we are warm, welcoming people – whether it’s a knowing smile to a nervous expectant Mom or one last hug before the bus comes, we are wired to make those around us feel better. To feel confident. To know they can tackle the task at hand – whether it’s surviving the first year with a newborn (or two, or three!) or surviving the first day of school, we support everyone around us. We tend to be funny and real and often, the combination of the two is when we’re at our best.

We are the consummate multi-taskers – we buy groceries, cook meals, clean houses, change diapers, plan parties, organize play dates, pay bills, upload photos, plan vacations, write thank you notes and remember the in-law’s birthdays. We help with homework, do the laundry, kiss the boo-boos, cheer at the soccer games, drive to ballet class and return the library books.

 We pride ourselves and artfully juggle our roles as mothers, daughters, friends, sisters, neighbors and colleagues. We support each other, laugh together, cry together, bitch together and intuitively pick each other up just when it’s needed most. We do all this for one – or two, or three or five or more – reasons. We love those little people that come out of our oversized uterus; we want to make them happy and we want the world they grow up in to be a better place. We want to inspire them to make it a greater place. And we’re wise enough to know that we can’t do it alone. We need the help and support of other Moms and thankfully, find that they are there just when we need them most. Much like our own Moms. So, if you haven’t done so recently, take a moment to pass this on to all the many Moms in your life and remind of this simple truth: Moms Rule.