Emma and I were looking through old videos saved to my laptop the other day. We came across one that she made for World Diabetes Day and she was talking about the day she was diagnosed. She was only 4 years old...and I was always under the impression that she didn't really know what was going on other than we made her go to the hospital and that it was boring.
Well, she mentioned something in the video that really struck a chord with me and made me realize that no matter what the age...kids get it. They are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. They listen when we don't think they are listening. They can read the looks on our faces no matter how good we think we are at pretending everything is ok. They can tell by the sound of our voices and the look in our eyes. They know.
Emma said, "I remember how people kept taking me for walks that day. I think it was because they were trying to get me away from the bad news."
I do remember taking her out of that depressing hospital room and going for walks. I remember my husband doing the same. I remember the feel of her tiny little 4 year old hand in mine. I remember staring at the faces of the people around us in the hallways...staring at them and feeling the jealous tears stinging my eyes. I remember thinking to myself that I wished I could just scoop her up in my arms and run out the hospital doors. I wanted to flee the building, run outside as fast as I could, and just keep going. I wanted to leave and never come back. I remember walking past the cafeteria and seeing people milling about with their trays of food...thinking to myself how unfair it all was...how we were now destined for a life of restrictions and limits and battles with food. All the while I could feel the warmth of her tiny little hand in mine.
Thinking back on it now, I realize that in that moment...her tiny little hand was my strength. The feel of her hand in mine grounded me...it kept me sane. I wonder if she knew how much it meant to me that she was taking each minute in stride. I wonder if she knew at 4 years old that I felt lost...incapable...scared...like a failure. I wonder if she knew that any shred of confidence I had in my ability to be her Mommy had been the thing to flee the building...right out the front door....as soon as I heard the word "diabetes." I wonder if she knew I was wandering around...no purpose to my steps...no direction in mind...no end in sight. I wonder if she knew that she was the only thing making me keep moving...putting one foot in front of the other.
I wonder if she knows the same rings true today....over 4 years later. I wonder if she knows that she is the reason for every step I take...every stumble out of bed in the morning...every crawl into bed at night. I wonder if she knows that even though her hand is now not as tiny....that when it is placed in mine...I feel like I could conquer the world.
I think she does...I think she knows.