I learned a very important lesson today in the diabetes department as well as the parenting department. It's kind of funny how those two departments seem to go hand in hand more often than not...sort of depressing if I think about it too hard. Anyway, I picked Emma up from school for lunch today and as we were walking back to the car...she proceeded to tell me about an incident at morning recess. For those of you with school aged children, I'm quite sure you have experienced the similar stories from your kids...so and so picked on me...or so and so wouldn't play with me...or so and so wouldn't let me have a turn on the monkey bars. So, I basically kept walking along expecting to hear a version of one of the above typical stories from her. Instead I was met with a story that left me feeling like my blood was literally on fire. Emma said that a boy in the grade above her had just found out today that she has diabetes...which that in and of itself was a little strange because she has known this particular boy for over a year now. Anyhoo, she said that as soon as he found out he instantly backed away from her thinking that it was contagious. He was running just out of arms reach of her and shouting, "stay away from me! I don't want to catch your diabetes!" First of all, I understand that kids can be cruel. They can bully, pick on each other, be rude, call names, and just be downright mean...for no particular reason...just because they want to be. I know this. I went to school myself. I'm not naive in that at all. I knew that at one point or another Emma would encounter some form of ignorance or bullying in regards to her diabetes. I had tried to brace myself and prepare myself for the conversation I would have with her once this did occur. I had the script all laid out in my mind and I was ready to open my mouth and let these amazing words fly and instantly make her feel better...feel safe...understand the way of the world and how human nature can sometimes be nasty. Well, it all flew right out the window in that moment. I wanted to cry for her. I wanted to abruptly turn around and march right back into the school and demand to see the principal. I wanted to shout at her and let her know how kids at her school were behaving...especially seeing as how they had JUST recently had a bullying awareness assembly not that long ago. I wanted to storm into this little boys classroom and yell at him. I wanted to explain to him that you CAN'T catch diabetes! You CAN'T get it by touching Emma! So STOP being such an ignorant ass and be nice to her...and if you can't for some reason be nice to her...then just LEAVE HER ALONE and don't say anything at all!! I wanted to do all of these things....but I didn't. Instead I looked down at my little girl walking beside me..sharing a moment of her day...and I was in shock to see that she had a huge cheesy smile on her face. I had fully expected tears in her eyes and a look of pure sadness and unfairness. I had expected her to tell me that she hates her diabetes and that she wants to just be like everyone else. I had expected all of these things...and I was wrong. She smiled and giggled and looked up at me and said, "You know what I did when he said that to me Mommy? I laughed at him because he looked so silly running all around me scared...and then I felt sorry for him because of how clueless he is. And then I just went back to playing with my friends." Once again I felt the tears stinging the back of my eyes...this time for an entirely different reason...this time the tears were of pride. I know I have said it many times before, but I honestly have never met another soul like her. She amazes me on a daily basis with how she thinks, how she reacts to things, how she carries herself. Sometimes she scares me honestly. I am afraid that I am missing something...I'm afraid that I am not smart enough or insightful enough to teach her what she needs to know. I love her more than anything or anyone I have ever met in my life...not only because she is my daughter...but also because of how she handled herself today. As a Mom I often wonder how she is when I'm not with her. I of course want to protect her and be there for her...stand up for her...fight her battles for her. I learned today though that she needs to fight some of these battles herself. She needs to have the experience and figure out how she is going to respond and react. She needs to do these things for herself so she can prove to herself that she is capable of handling anything that is thrown her way...because in her lifetime (as we wait for a cure) she is going to come across many ignorant people...people who will not be understanding...people who will be mean...people who will try to hurt her. She needs to learn these skills now at the age of 7....so she can realize that she is a tough kid...she is a brave kid...she can handle anything out there.
So, I learned the fine art of self-control today by not running riot through her school trying to right the horrible wrong that occured this morning. I learned that my kid is even more strong than I though she was (which was already a ridiculous amount of strong! LOL!) I learned that she is quite capable of standing up for herself and recognizing the ignorance and not letting it hurt her...simply laughing it off and continuing on about her day. This was a huge experience for the both of us and I think we came out on the other side pretty good.