It's weird how sometimes this disease will catch you off guard. I stopped off at the store with Emma yesterday before her piano lesson and let her pick out a treat to have with her bedtime snack. She chose an Aero chocolate bar. Now mind you I have seen thousands of Aero's over the years and never thought twice about it. Well, for some reason this particular one...in this particular moment struck me. It brought a memory crashing back to me so hard that it almost felt like I was reliving it...there in the original moment once again.
Shortly after Emma was diagnosed, way back when she was still on pen needle injections instead of the pump, I spent a good deal of my time worrying about what snacks and what treats she could have. Emma was allowed to have up to 25g of carbs for each snack she ate between meals without having to have an extra needle of insulin to cover it. So, I was always trying to find a good deal and a good balance of carbs and foods to give her. I would look for something that was healthy, something that would keep her blood sugar from spiking out of control, and something that she liked and was excited about eating. I wanted her to see that the doctors were right in telling her that she could still eat all of the same foods she ate before diagnosis...as long as she covered them with insulin and dosed accordingly. I wanted her to see that nothing was different...she was still the same kid...life was still the same. I guess that was sort of the beginning of my quest for making sure that she didn't feel different and that her life was the same. It was like a feeling deep down in my core that I HAD to do this...I HAD to make sure she felt ok about it all and not different. So, we were at the grocery store and I asked her if she wanted to pick out a treat to have for a snack. Of course, like any child would when given the option, she chose a chocolate bar...an Aero chocolate bar to be exact. We were standing in line at the grocery store. The same store that we always go to. The same store that I would go to when I was pregnant with her...holding my winter coat closed around my belly because it would no longer zip up anymore because I was so big. The same store that we had been in with her sitting in the front of the shopping cart cooing as a baby...a big smile on her face as the cashier would talk with her and tell me how beautiful she was.
She handed me her Aero and my heart sank. Tears sprang to my eyes and I had to muster up all of my self control to not let them spill over onto my cheeks as I stood there. I didn't want the stares from others unaware of what was happening...I didn't want Emma to ask me what was wrong...I didn't want her to know that I was struggling and fighting my hatred for this disease and what it had done to us...and how hard I was fighting to make it not change her life at all. So, I put the Aero on the belt with the rest of our groceries and stared at it as it made it's way to the cashier to be scanned. I stared at that chocolate bar and felt my hatred for diabetes burning with a red hot intensity in that moment...all because of a damn chocolate bar. I paid for our food, walked to the car, put everything in, got Emma settled and sat there...holding the Aero in my hands to read the nutritional information on the back.
It was a bright sunny day...warm outside...not hot...but just perfect...one of those late July afternoons that are as beautiful as a painting in a museum....picture perfect. The world continued to go on...as it always does and always will...all around me. People got in and out of their cars...pushed their carts inside...got their own babies into the back seat...drove away...and there I sat staring at this Aero.
Emma spoke up from the back seat and asked me if she could have some of it for her snack...just like I knew she would...just like I would have done if I was her. I located the carb info on the wrapper and discovered that it was only 25g of carbs for the entire thing....my heart was instantly light again!! I let out a huge cheer and told Emma that YES...she COULD have it because it was within the limit of carbs she was allowed for snacks. I turned around and looked at her face and I don't think that I have ever seen a more beautiful smile. We sat there in this parking lot cheering and squealing and completely overjoyed about an Aero chocolate bar. It was amazing. It meant so much to me to be able to hand her a chocolate bar and not have to only give her some of it...or just a bite of it...just a little bit.....instead I could hand her the entire thing without a second thought...because it was the perfect number of carbs. It felt like we were transported back to the days before diagnosis...when I didn't have to think twice about any food that I handed to her...I just let her have it...it was probably one of the most incredible feelings I have ever experienced in my life. I was light...I was free...I was happy...we won that round...we beat diabetes that day.
So, as I stood there yesterday holding yet another Aero chocolate bar...nearly 4 years later...I couldn't help but smile...I couldn't help but feel that same overjoyed feeling in my heart again. To Emma it was just another treat...just a regular ordinary average treat that she had had numerous times over the years.
To me, it meant so much more...to me it brought back the memory of that day...the beautiful smile on her little face sitting in the back seat in that parking lot. To me it brought back the memory of our first victory in this fight...my first moment of realizing that the little things in this life are what matter the most....my first moment of feeling like as her Mommy, I was in the driver's seat on this journey...we were the ones running the show...NOT diabetes. What a fitting symbol...a chocolate bar...for such a sweet memory.