He’s out celebrating New Year’s Eve. A big deal. To understand why…let’s start at the beginning…
Six years old and diagnosed with this crazy disease-type 1 diabetes. Those early days- we parents figured the insulin doses, kept the time for glucose monitoring, figured the carbohydrates in the food- carefully measuring each bite on a food scale or with measuring cup, we gave the injections, and we stuck the needles in his tiny fingers to test the drop of blood. We took him to parties, play dates, and more. We were his shadows, perhaps looked at as helicopter parents by those who did not know he had diabetes or what type 1 diabetes is. We shadowed him so we could be there for all the ‘stuff’: carb counting, blood checks, injections, and low/high blood glucose levels. We tried every minute of every day to build the belief that we, he, could do all this disease requires for the rest of his life, while living his life. We did what we needed to do to make that true.
We were faking it. Those early days, months, years-we were scared. Every food count, insulin dose, blood glucose check—we doubted our abilities as parents to do this, not just the medical stuff, the life stuff. We wore masks –‘can do’ masks –every minute of every day —because he was watching.
As he was watching, he was learning and taking it all in. It never appeared as if he was as scared as we were. The hate for the disease was evident, but not fear. He never seemed to doubt his ability- to not exactly conquer this disease—rather put it in its place. As we were watching him, we were learning and taking it all in too.
He was braver than we were, still is. While we played at making it seem like no hurdle was too big to jump—he actually acted on it. He began to check his own glucose, give his own shots and he tried, everything, never pressing pause. Summer camps, scouts, sports, band, and more…some worked out, some ended in failure, but even the not so great endings he’d say “It was good while it lasted,” and damn he meant it.
He taught us and continues to teach us as we watch him navigate life with diabetes. The first lesson –even if you despise something, you can accept that you must do it, gracefully. The second lesson-try. Do not fear the end result, don’t even think about it. Plan, plan some more, carry a juice box, and go for it. When it doesn’t work out, another lesson, find the bright side.
All this has brought us to this New Year’s Eve. A big deal. He is doing what we pretended to do those early years—live –without fear.
Happy New Year!