Saturday, 18 October 2014

Kids do amazing things... how do they cope with cancer in their family ?

I guess this  is a question that Brendan and I won't fully know the answer to; until one day, possibly many years from now, when and if our kids decide to tell us. I know for a fact as a child you internalise many things you live through, all we can do as their parents is hope against hope that the way we deal with and talk about cancer at home,  in front of them and with them, along with our amazing friends and loved ones, will help it not leave too negative a mark on the pages of this chapter of their lives... 


Happy birthday to the best dad in the world


Yesterday was Brendan's birthday, a day we gratefully celebrated. Funnily enough it was the first year that either of us had ever cooked a meal on our own birthday and Bren did both lunch and dinner! With is immune system compromised at the moment, not allowing us to go out and celebrate, I think he was excited to be feeling well enough to man the BBQ again, and enjoyed the opportunity to fire her up [yes on crutches] and get the tongs out ...with Baden,  his BBQ apprentice by his side, while Tyz made the salad for Lunch. Both Birthday Lunch and dinner became a family affair with us all mucking in. Tyz and Bades also took charge of the birthday cake, I know I'm their mum, but I have to say it was pretty impressive :) and so were the birthday menu's!



birthday cake and lunch  :)


The BBQ Salt and Pepper & Sweet Chili King Prawns at lunch were almost outdone by the BBQ Lamb Roast at dinner, I think the big fella had had quite a good birthday no thanks to my culinary efforts...all I contributed were the baked veg...but they were good.
We had not long settled in after dinner; Bren and the kids in the lounge, me quickly sending off some messages in the office, when there was an unexpected knock at the door. It was the Lyons family and they had a special presentation to make on behalf of the Ryders Club [members of which are Baden, Tyra, Mia, Zara & Will] This is where I get a little teary, as Brendan and I had no idea what was coming.


Ryders Club Lemonade Stand                   Lucas Lemonade  Stand
Photos curtesy of Lee & Deb :)


Sometime ago he and I went to watch a Commando Steve Training Session in town and weren't overly surprised that Tyz and Bades decided to stay at Old Bar with the Lyons's to help man a Lemonade Stand, it sounded like heaps more fun than what we were going to do. They had gotten up quite early and were very excited to head down to the end of the street to help set up, a particularly cute moment was Bades setting off on his pushie with Will standing on the pegs at the back with a bag full of flyers to put up around the neighbourhood. When we got home they were all very excited to tell us how successful their entrepreneurial adventure had been and that was the last we heard about it until now. 

So back to the presentation, I walk out of the office to see 5 smiling faces all gathered in front of Brendan who was on the lounge, holding a blue envelope, and Lee & Nigel standing smiling by the lounge room door. Lee told me that the Ryders Club had something for Brendan and I, and then explained what it was all about.

All those weeks back these 5 children had organised to have a Lemonade Stand to raise money for Brendan and I, so that we could do something special together. They waited until we had left to watch Commando Steve's training session, before they put signs up to say what the lemonade stand was for. I have to say on coming home that day and hearing about their efforts Bren & I were really amazed that they made as much money as they did selling Lemonade, and now we understand why they did. Tyz said after the Lyons family had left, "you know Mum people were giving us some money, even if they didn't want lemonade". [this community is awe inspiring, and we are both humbled and very grateful for the kindness shown to our family] They then decided that they would wait till the time was right to present the gift to us, and thought Brendan's birthday was that time. We of course were overwhelmed, and bought to tears.

Now, not long after that first Lemonade Stand Tyz and Bades stayed at their cousins Luca & Tyler's house and they also had a Lemonade Stand. When Aunty Deb dropped the kids back home, Luca proudly told us that she wanted Uncle Bren to have the money they had made, to buy something special. Even then the penny didn't drop, that these kids were all trying to help Brendan and I in the best way they could.

I now have a much stronger belief that kids understand plenty when it comes to what is happening within their family, and the world around them. They are also very good at finding ways to cope with what's happening. One way of doing that in situations like my family have found ourselves in, is for them to feel like they're helping. They don't want us to hide things from them, they want us to allow them to participate in this part of their life as much as any other part. They want us to tell them what's going on [in an age appropriate way] so that they don't have to guess. That way they know what is happening, can be assured that everything is OK, and they can get on with the everyday fun of hanging out with friends, doing the normal things kids do and helping when and where they can.

I would like to say thank you to Lee & Nigel and Deb & Andy for going to the trouble of helping these wonderful kids feel that they were doing something really constructive to help Brendan and I. And without a doubt they did, it also helped us to see just how well our two amazing kids do understand whats happening at the moment, and how allowing them to help is a very important way of helping them to cope with having a family member with cancer.
PS: You guys all have awesome kids :)

I would also like to thank from the bottom of my heart all of our friends, neighbours and I'm guessing even a few strangers for supporting all of these gorgeous kids [and us], by supporting their Lemonade Stands.


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