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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Being a Mom...of a child with Diabetes

Being a mom is one of the most rewarding, sweet, wonderful things a woman can be.  We all know the trials and tribulations that accompany those rewards...the worry, the planning, the ups, the downs...but in the end, even in the day to day, there is a peace that you have when you look at your son or daughter.  There is a love that knows no boundaries and is never measurable.

Being a mom of a child with Diabetes is all those things, to be sure.  But one must endure a new level of worry that sometimes seems all-consuming.  There is the day to day worry, watching the blood sugar and tweaking life's most un-thought about MUCH bread should she eat?  Is the perfect correction from yesterday going to work today?  Will my child survive this thing called Diabetes?  And when I say "survive", I mean truly that.  It takes my breath away...

The most innocent, well-intentioned action or comment can bring about an ache in your chest that just burns.  I had one of those yesterday.  The school nurse called to talk about our move into middle school next year.  Of course I've been thinking about it...the school has been bringing it up for two years now, "when she gets to middle school..." fill in the blank...  I know that they are doing their best to prepare ME as well, thinking they need to 'cut the cord', so to speak.  It amazes me that no one seems to grasp the idea that all that I am doing now is in order to have my daughter thrive independently from me.  But she is 11 years old.  She can count carbohydrates better than any average adult.  She can estimate, plan, initiate and execute her diabetes management more expertly that many adults.  But she is 11 years old.  Middle school is a scary thought to her.  She is still a who would rather play than do homework, one that would rather have ice cream than a sensible dinner.  Yes, she knows better than any 11 year old that she needs the sensible dinner, but she's a kid, and, if she can fanagle that ice cream with a smile and a hug, you bet she's going to go for it!!

I commend the nurse and the school for being forward thinking, for being proactive.  I salute them for this as it is what I have always wished for our school system.  I agree with everything that is going on.

But it still breaks my heart.

While other moms are worried about what teachers their children will get when entering the "new school", while they're discussing what kind of social atmosphere the blending of four schools will bring, while they're worried for their children's social standing and will there be more homework, I cry inside as I think about whether my daughter will survive the first two weeks of wild swings in blood sugar, whether there will be someone who cares enough to learn what diabetes really does to her body, whether she will survive this damn disease and all that comes with it.  Every dance, every activity, every test, every day, there is a life or death thing to worry about.  Literally.

I don't do this every day...honestly, most days go by and I thank God when I kiss her "good morning" and she complains about having to get up so early, and I thank God when I kiss her "good night" that He's kept her safe for another day...and I even sleep through the night occassionally, not worrying about all the rest of it.  But every now and then, it gets me.  This damn disease has taken her innocence far too soon and my heart breaks for this child who is expected to be as responsible as a doctor on his best day.

So guess what?  Today, I am on a field trip with her to the middle school.  We're watching the band play and discussing what instrument might be in her future as a sixth grader.  She had said once she wanted to take up the drums...that is my girl...full throttle on life...biggest bang for your buck.  When I have days like these, I take a look at her and follow her lead.  If she holds my hand as we walk in, I'll be there...if she doesn't, I'll smile and know that she's ready to walk in alone...but I will always be beside her if she needs me.


  1. I went through the same thing last year. I know your heavy heart. Your daughter will surprise you...she will be ready. That is one of the amazing things about our children, they always rise to the occasion. And although there will be anxiety until the very last minute...know that all is well! She can do this! You will do this!

    All my love and understanding,
    From another T1 mom who has been there, and survived!

  2. Thank you for expressing so eloquently what every T1 mom feels. There is comfort in the fact that we do not go this road alone.
    Beth McCrary, mother of Hannah 10yrs. dx 8/21/08

  3. Awesome post. First time reading your blog. I too have a type 1 daughter who is 11 yrs old. Your thoughts are mine exactly. I'm dreading middle school and wondering if anyone will care enough too.

  4. Drums? Not surprised. Better alert the neighbors.

  5. Thank you, Everyone, for your comments. I am really touched by your willingness to share~and empowered by all of your strength. Please keep checking in, or sign up to "follow"...there will be more to come!!

    Brian: I think she's moved on to something else now...I'll let you know!!

  6. Hi there! Just found your blog and while my T1 daughter is only in 2nd grade, I "felt" every word that you were saying. I look forward to reading more about you and your family here.