I often wonder about the emotional toll that diabetes has taken on my kid. I wonder if it affects her more than she lets on. I wonder how often she thinks about it or gets upset about it or frustrated...or even worried. For the most part, Emma is a pretty easy going kid. She rolls with the punches and doesn't let too much get to her.
Over the years with diabetes, I only recall her expressing her frustration or sadness or even tears over things a few times. One of those times was yesterday. I was bringing her back to school after lunch and she told me how she gets annoyed with checking her blood sugar...how she's tired of it...it's been almost five years now...and she's tired of it. There we were walking up the pathway to the playground of her school...the same walk we have made countless times since she started at that school. I could hear all of the chatter and laughter and shouts from the other kids...playing...normal...not a thought of diabetes in their heads. And there my daughter was...9 yrs old in body....but ageless in her soul.
Whenever she has mentioned things like this about her diabetes, I always find myself feeling speechless and like I just got punched in the stomach. It takes me a minute to breathe again...as I stare into her big brown frustrated soulful eyes. I somehow always find the air...my mind kickstarts again and I shove the sadness back down...and I try to think of what to say to make it better. I try to find the words...the right tone...the right feeling...the right sentiment. I pluck the words out of thin air sometimes. I told her that checking her blood sugar is annoying...she's right...I feel the same way. I tried to use the analogy of how diabetes is a marathon...not a sprint. I think she understood. I hope she understood. I hope if anything...it gave her comfort.
I dropped her off on the playground with a kiss and an "I love you." She smiled as she ran off to play with her friends...diabetes frustration was gone from her face once again...gone from her eyes. She was a kid again...a 9 year old kid....another yelling, laughing, playing kid on the playground. I turned and walked back to my car...feeling the tears sting my eyes...feeling the anger at the tears...feeling the poisonous hate at diabetes threatening to spill over and ruin the day. I got in my car...turned on the radio..swallowed my sadness and my hate. I turned the volume up on the radio as loud as I could stand it...and sang along at the top of my lungs to Green Day's "Welcome to Paradise." I drove down the road...not sure where exactly I was headed...singing/shouting...not caring who saw me...who looked at me when I got to a red light. I didn't turn the volume down...I didn't stop singing/shouting...I smacked my hand against the steering wheel to the drum beat...
And I let it all out...
I pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store. I turned the car off and the silence filled my ears...and I carried on with my day.
It's a marathon....not a sprint...and sometimes we need to live in the loudness of the journey for a minute. Sometimes we need to roar and hear the roaring to be able to appreciate the silence.
I hope Emma roared like a lion on the playground at school. I hope she roared like the lion I know she is.