As I stood on the playground at school with Emma this morning, I got to see a little glimpse of exactly how much diabetes means to her. She was standing there chatting and giggling away with one of her friends from class. This particular little girl has a tendency to be more on the hyper side...flitting about talking a mile a minute about anything and everything that pops into her head. It's kind of amusing to me because I'm not used to that sort of behavior really. Don't get me wrong, Emma has her moments of hyperness and craziness, but for the most part she is a pretty mellow easy going kid. So, when I am around a kid who leans more toward the hyper side of life...it makes me giggle.
Anyway, I stood there hanging on to my trusty sidekick, the froggie bag that contains Emma's BG meter, strips, lancet, and a couple of snacks for in case she goes low. Well, like a flash of lightening...this little girl snatches the bag from my hands and starts talking to the frog and tossing it back and forth in her hands. I didn't really think anything of it simply because the bag is well padded, zippered shut, and I was standing right there. I knew that the froggie cuteness was a bit too much for her to not want to get a closer look at it.
Emma however was NOT so understanding or patient. The look on her face instantly changed from big smiles and laughter to panic and anger...possesiveness. She did NOT want this little girl to be touching her meter bag. She did NOT want her to have it in her hands at all! I saw my normally docile and calm child run over rip the froggie bag from her friends hands. I saw Emma give her a look of complete and total anger and yell at her to give it back...it wasn't her bag...she can't touch it...it's HER meter inside and she can't touch it! I stood there watching my sweet girl reclaim her bag and shove it back in my hands...and then take it even one step further by standing protectively in front of my...blocking her friend from possibly taking the froggie bag again.
It was quite the display really. Over the past 3 years 4 months and 7 days, I can honestly say that I haven't heard much in the way of what she really thinks about her diabetes. There have really only been maybe 3 occasions where she has suddenly burst into tears about how she wishes she didn't have it and how she misses how life was before she had it. I have not once ever seen her show such emotion over her meter though. I've never seen her show such a display of possesiveness. At first it made me laugh inside thinking how silly it was really...to get so upset over something like a meter bag. As I walked back home alone though, I had more time to think about it...more time to try and understand where my child was coming from. I got it. I got it as much as any parent of a type 1 diabetic child could possibly get it. This is HER disease...HER pump...HER blood sugar fluctuations...HER health...HER froggie bag that contains HER meter. As much as she appreciates my help in managing it and taking care of her....it is still HER disease...only HERS. It is the one thing in this world in her 7 year old mind that belongs to her and HER alone. Sure she knows there are millions of other diabetics out there...but this life...this fight...it is HERS. I am merely a player...a supporting actor...the one standing on the side...waiting in the wings offstage while SHE is the one LIVING with this disease center stage. All that goes along with diabetes...the numbers, the blood, the carbs, the tools...including her meter bag...it's all HERS. I walked up my street and approached my front door with a smile on my face realizing how proud of her I am...how proud I was to see her stand up for herself...feet placed firmly on the ground beneath her and make it known that she owns this...it doesn't define her or control her or rule her world...but she has that fire in her belly...that fight...it's there...and I am impressed and happy to have gotten to see it come out this morning.