So yesterday morning Emma and I got up and went about our usual Sunday routine...breakfast, coffee, lounging about. I had been up the night before battling low blood sugars because Saturday was her first gymnastics class of the season and for some reason, gymnastics has a tendency to affect her blood sugars quite a few hours AFTER the actual class. So, needless to say, I was more tired than usual. I told Emma that I was just going to lay down on the couch for an hour and have a mid-morning nap and if she needed anything just wake me up. She is 8 now and more independent and doesn't necessarily need me to be hovering and entertaining her 24/7 anymore.....which I am extremely greatful for. So, I settled in all snug as a bug in a rug under my purple Snuggie and immediately fell asleep.
It felt like I had just blinked and an hour went by. I opened my eyes to see Emma sitting on the couch across from me, holding her meter bag in her hand, and putting a test strip into the meter itself. My heart instantly flew into a rapid beat making me think that this is what a teeny tiny heart attack must feel like. Instantly I felt sick to my stomach and the guilt washed over me like a cruel joke. How could I have slept? How could I have just laid there asleep and not been awake to see that my child needed me? I was totally beating myself up mentally. I sat bolt upright and asked her in a panic if she was ok....was she low? I was hovering above the couch about to run into the kitchen and get a juicebox for her when she said very calmly and rationally...."I'm fine Mommy, sheesh! I just felt low, so I got my meter and was going to check and make sure...then I was going to eat this fruit snack in the meter bag if I was low and just wake you up to tell you."
Huh.....simple as that. No panic...no ordeal...just another day in the life of a person with diabetes.
Apparently, while I wasn't looking, she grew up into a mature and responsible individual. She was playing. She felt low. She got her meter. She recognized and knew what to do to handle a situation that she will have to handle many times until a cure is found. She took charge. She did it.
It's a bizarre feeling to me. Knowing that she handled this particular situation on her own. I am proud of her...and yet sad. I have spent the last 4 years preparing her for things like this....teaching her...easing her into a routine...repetitively telling her and showing her the steps to take...the plan of action....with the hopes that it would sink in and be forever embedded in her mind. I always knew in the back of my own mind that one day she would be doing this on her own. I wanted her to be able to do them on her own. I want to give her the best life she can possibly have and in order to do that....she needed to know the steps...the rules...the routine.
I laid back down on the couch and forced a calm look upon my face. I tried to calm my out of control beating heart. I let her handle it. I watched her check her blood sugar, open up a Scooby Do fruit snack, tell me that she was 3.4, and eat the snack. I hated the low...I hated diabetes a little more in that moment....I still watched her...always watching her eyes for the low to disappear. I told her to look at the clock and see what time it was. I reminded her to watch and wait the typical 15 minutes to check again and make sure her blood sugar was going back up. We sat there in our little low time warp...waiting it out together. She rechecked and was fine. Emma zipped up her meter bag, threw away her fruit snack wrapper, and went back to playing.
I kissed her forehead and told her "good job, baby!" and reminded myself to never stop teaching her...never stop....even when she rolls her eyes at me and gives me the "I already KNoooOOOw!" replies.....never stop teaching her. Because inside my little 8 year old daughter lies the whispers of a grown woman...a grown woman who is learning to take care of herself...and she deserves to have the chance.