So last night at bedtime, Emma said to me with a deep sigh, "Mommy, I hate how sometimes people just don't get it. They act like my diabetes is brand new....and it makes me feel weird." I felt another boulder of diabetes related apathy and despair added to the already existing pile of rubble on my heart. I think that we are kind of moving into a new stage with this disease. Emma is now 8 years old and fast approaching her 4th year of living with this. We are by no means experts....in fact I don't think there is such a thing as being a "diabetes expert". In my opinion, even the most educated and experienced endocrinologist should not be able to consider themselves a "diabetes expert" because there are just too many variables, too much going on, too many scenarios, too much guessing.....diabetes is NOT an exact science. In any case, we are a lot more informed and educated than we were 4 years ago.....I know that much.
So begins our newest stage in this life I think. The emotional aspect of it all. She wants independence and I want to give it to her even though it is killing me every step of the way. She wants to feel like people care, like people are on her side and are willing to stand up for her and help. She wants to feel like she can count on people close to her. She is frustrated at times. She is exasperated at the ignorance and broken record responses people give her when they discover she is diabetic. I am not quite sure how to handle this new aspect. As her Mom, I want to make it all better...I want to tell her that it will be ok...life will be full of sunshine and roses and unicorns.......................but I can't, because that would be a lie. I don't want to mislead her by telling her that people will get it eventually, because I have found more often than not, they don't. There are those special people out there...those sparks of light...those that make our days easier. I hope that Emma discovers many of those people in her life.
For example today...we went to the park down the street from our house to meet up with some fellow D-families. As usual she had a blast! There was one particular moment that stuck out for me. Emma was playing with a little girl who actually has an older sister that is Type 1 AND a younger sister that is Type 1. I made Emma pause for a minute to check her blood sugar to make sure all was good. This little girl was standing there patiently waiting...she said to Emma, "Oh you have a cool meter! I know all about this stuff cause of my sisters." I smiled inwardly as I felt that same same feeling take over....and I wondered if Emma was feeling the same thing too. The meter counted down and showed a BG reading of 7.8.....pretty good for a park play date. Once the little girl saw the 7.8, she turned to Emma and said, "OK! You're good! 7.8 is good....let's GO PLAY!"....and off they ran. I couldn't help but laugh. Any other kid on any other day in any other town would not have a clue as to what the three of us were just involved in...checking blood sugars, seeing a good number...and simply knowing that it was a good number. But there we were...a D-Mom, a type 1 kiddo, and a sibling of 2 type 1's. I loved that Emma got to have that moment. I loved that she connected with this little girl and has found things in common with her besides diabetes. I love that this little girl knows this life...she knows it because she lives it...every day...with her two sisters as well as her type 1 grandma. I love that while diabetes is probably a huge part of her life.....and she was at that moment playing with yet another type 1...she still laughed and giggled and danced and played with Emma...they talked about Mumford and Sons (one of their favorite bands), they gave each other piggy backs, they flew kites, they did everything that little girls are supposed to do while playing together at the park.
Before Emma and I left this afternoon, the two girls hugged and said goodbye. It made my heart melt. I hope this little girl knows how special she is. I am greatful that diabetes has brought her and her family into my families life....but I am even more greatful that she is able to be a friend to Emma on a completely different level than someone who doesn't really get this life. It was pretty amazing to me to stand there and watch them and know that this is probably a lifelong friendship in the making.