A snippet into the life of Lucy Cronly
This might sound a bit nutty but motherhood came as a complete shock and surprise to me. I found myself unexpectedly pregnant at 29. I was with my husband for a number of years and married for two but somehow the discussion of children hadn’t been a part of our relationship. Announcing the pregnancy to my mother-in-law was met with “this is wonderful I have been saying novenas for this to happen!”
Once the shock wore off, I settled into the idea, wondering what little human was coming into our lives. On the day I found out I was pregnant, my husband bought a computer game ‘Atomic Bomber Man’ which somehow stuck and little did I know how appropriate the name would prove to be.
In April 1998 Liam arrived and with him came a house move from a city centre apartment to a house in the lovely town of Trim Co Meath. Life was busy! I breastfed Liam, which was a steep learning curve but the wonderful support of our local La Leche League provided so much support and female company.
My first experience of “It takes a village to raise a child”, they were wonderful and many of the group are friends to this day. A lack of sleep and the chaos of breastfeeding, pumping milk at work and night time feeding was a huge challenge. Concerns about Liam’s language development led to a hearing test and eventually a diagnosis of autism at age 4.
At this point in 2002, I was pregnant with our second son Eoin, so it was a worrying time. We were faced with an unknown future about our new baby and about what the future might hold for our first son but as life does, it trundled along. Liam started school and we had lots of challenges but there were some amazing teachers along the way that engaged so well with us to work together to make mainstream school work for him. He had wonderful teachers and special needs assistants that supported and guided him. Life was busy and fun to a large extent and there was so much love in our family, I felt very lucky.
In 2004, our third son Niall was born. He arrived smiling and full of joy eager to be up to all kinds of bedlam with his older brothers. A bright, wonderful addition to our family.
We sought to keep Liam busy and occupied. It was hard at times to let go and allow him to experience life appropriate to his age but sometimes at odds with his ability. Managing sensory needs and everyday life was demanding figuring out food, picking the battles that would reap most reward and juggling home and work was the everyday. We were keeping an eye on the two younger boys for signs of autism but none surfaced so we were moving along.
In 2010, I was injured at work and this changed life in our house. I struggled to complete household chores and many everyday tasks. I was out of work for nearly 2 years having surgery and recuperating.
I returned to work gradually in 2012. I needed help at home and the 3 boys stepped up to the plate with gusto, carrying laundry and shopping, emptying and filling the dishwasher, although many pieces of delph did not make it through the learning process!
In November 2013 Eoin, age 11, was diagnosed with cancer. Our world was turned upside down, we were thrown into completely unknown territory. Learning new medical terms, learning how to manage his Broviac line (a long-term access port in his chest for giving bloods and receiving medication). When he was diagnosed, he was immediately started on a polychemotherapy protocol that required an 11 day stay in hospital.
Trying to negotiate this new development in our lives was huge but the 3.5 years of treatment taught us many things about resilience, the kindness of others, the power of “now” and living in the present. Planning trips or events was impossible as a temperature spike could land Eoin in hospital for two weeks, and lots of bumps along the road would change the day in an instant.
We learned to create possibilities but never final decisions until the morning. We learned to take each day as it comes and make the very best of it depending on how everyone was doing. We learned gratitude for the small wins, the days when we were all where we should be; school, work, home. We found joy in the everyday.
As a family we have had lots of challenges come our way. It has been the kindness and being seen in the struggle that sustained us, the people who showed up. It has grown an empathy in all of us for ourselves and others. We live with the echoes and consequences of what has come to our door but it does not define us and there is great joy in our lives. One of the consequences of my work injury is that I had to medically retire from work, a very difficult and distressing time but it has given me an opportunity to redefine myself.
I am now a Life Coach collaborating with people to be the best version of themselves. I work with individual clients and with groups with the purpose of understanding and aligning to their values, embracing the power of choice and moving forward in their lives with intention. I have a special interest in working with teenagers and young adults to understand themselves and align to their values as they move into adulthood.
I love to work with people asking the question posed by Mary Oliver in her poem The Summer Day;
‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’
Lucy is married to Nigel and mum to Liam (25), Eoin (21) and Niall (19) and lives in Meath, Ireland. You can contact her at lucycronlycoaching.ie