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Ode to Parents of Children with Diabetes

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by wilf, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. wilf

    wilf Approved members

    Aug 27, 2007
    Lots to reflect upon in here:

    "Ode to Parents of Children with Diabetes
    By Ginger Vieira - 4 Comments

    I don't have any children - especially any children living with type 1 diabetes. I live with Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease myself, since I was 13 (today, I'm merely 28 but the anxiety of eventually turning "30" into an "old woman" increases daily). In the many years I've been chatting with, writing for, presenting to, and working with all kinds of people with all kinds of diabetes, I have developed a personal theory that I'm only more certain of after recently spending another weekend surrounded by families raising children with diabetes: raising a child with diabetes seems significantly more stressful than living with it myself.

    Don't get me wrong: living with it myself isn't a piece of delicious cake - it's really hard work that I put a lot of energy and effort and pride into every single day (actually, there are occasional days where I intentionally back-off - cause this sh*t gets tiring sometimes, eh?).

    Raising a child with diabetes, rather than living with it yourself, is like asking a Mama Dog to keep a cookie balanced perfectly on top of her Puppy's nose for the rest of his youth - even while jumping around at recess - and then hope that you did a good enough job while he was a puppy that he'll grow up to be an adult who now knows how to balance a cookie on the top of his head for the rest of his life. (Yes, I don't just mean for the 10 seconds that you make your dog perform this trick to entertain your 6 year-old nephew, I mean every day, forever.)

    That's a crazy thing to ask a Mama Dog and a Puppy to do perfectly all the time. Yeah?

    Meanwhile, you're wondering things like, "How many high blood sugars does it really take for my child's future to be affected"? "Will she really grow up to be successful and happy like any kid without diabetes?" "What about our dreams for my son to be in the NBA or a Professional Ballerina or Nascar Driver?" "Is my child's life going to feel as crazy difficult as it does right now just because of this stupid disease?" "Is everything going to be okay?"

    I cannot imagine what it's like to be constantly worried about severe low blood sugars in a child who is too young to identify and communicate the symptoms of a low. I cannot imagine what it's like to go to sleep at night and hope and pray that everything will be okay by morning. I cannot imagine what it's like to wonder how awful your child must be feeling when you see a 357 mg/dL on their glucose meter and know it's been that high for hours.
    You're the parent. You want everything to be okay, and yet, in life with diabetes, there's only so much you can do for them.

    (And believe me, even though I'm not giving birth anytime soon, I've already had wide-awake-nightmares about every time I might hear my child say, "Mom, I'm really thirsty," and forcing them to check their blood sugar once a week in case they suddenly have diabetes. Even though I know it's possible to enjoy childhood while living with diabetes, my heart aches whenever meeting another adorable little boy or girl who has to wear medical gear in their flesh every day to live.)

    But seriously, I want you to know: anything is possible. I want you to know that living with diabetes does not have to mean a life overwhelmingly burdened by diabetes bullsh*t. Sure, it's gonna be here for a long time (yes, I hope they find a cure but I'm not exactly crossing off days on a calendar in anticipation), but anything is possible.

    I believe strongly that the way we manage and perceive our own life with diabetes is simply the same as the way we approach any other things or events in our life. Some people, with or without diabetes, are enthusiastic and happy and pick themselves up quickly when life gets hard. Some people don't. Some people feel defeated easily by little or big challenges they encounter in life, and some people are born with or develop a level of resiliency that helps them keep their chin up when life gets hard. If your child grows up to be one or the other, diabetes will simply be part of that life they create for themselves. At least, that's what it seems like to me. As a person and a parent, which one are you? And thus, which one are you teaching your child how to become?

    And I want you to know that yeah, high blood sugars suck. Low blood sugars are scary and they suck. But life can go on. We can live a good life. We do live a good life. A great life. A real life. Our dreams can become reality. Our goals can be accomplished. We can thrive in college, do stupid things in college, date losers, fall in love, be broken-hearted, get hired, get fired, be promoted, have kids, have grandkids, run marathons, win the Olympics, win Nascar, climb crazy-big mountains, and laugh wildly at things that are not really that funny just because we're in a really great mood, having a really great day... even in life with diabetes.

    We can do anything.

    Doing the best any of us can do in life with diabetes does not have to mean perfect blood sugars all the time. Sometimes our best is awesome and sometimes it's not quite so awesome but it's still our best in that moment. And that's okay. It has to be, because "perfection" is a crazy expectation.

    I want you to know you're doing a great job, and the more you encourage your child to live his or her life with diabetes being just one of the many challenges in life they will face, the more you're ensuring that anything is possible. Keep your chin up, give yourself credit for simply facing diabetes every day, and hopefully, your child will grow up doing the same."
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  2. Sarah Maddie's Mom

    Sarah Maddie's Mom Approved members

    Sep 23, 2007
    I like this, especially, "Doing the best any of us can do in life with diabetes does not have to mean perfect blood sugars all the time. Sometimes our best is awesome and sometimes it's not quite so awesome but it's still our best in that moment. And that's okay. It has to be, because "perfection" is a crazy expectation."

    Good to hear from one living the life.:cwds:
  3. obtainedmist

    obtainedmist Approved members

    Aug 3, 2010
    She's great! :D
  4. Mommy For Life

    Mommy For Life Approved members

    Aug 29, 2011
    Thanks for sharing! I really needed this perspective. August 26th will mark 2 years since the D beast showed up in our lives. I've learned quickly that "perfection" and diabetes don't even belong in the same sentence! :rolleyes:
  5. hawkeyegirl

    hawkeyegirl Approved members

    Nov 15, 2007
    For some reason it really touches me when adults with D show an appreciation for parents of kids with D. And really, although I know it is not uncommon, I can't hear enough times how it is entirely possible to grow up to be a happy, healthy, well-adjusted person who happens to have diabetes. :eek:
  6. Beach bum

    Beach bum Approved members

    Nov 17, 2005
    Thanks for sharing. I think that diabetes has hardened me over the years, but things like these soften me once again.
  7. shannong

    shannong Approved members

    Sep 15, 2012
    The part that really touches me is when she reflects that being a parent of a CWD may in fact be way harder than actually living with Type 1. I so hope this is the case, because when my child is older and doing all his care himself, I really don't want him to have to go through what I do!

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