I find it strange how sometimes random objects have a huge impact on me. I was just sitting here folding Emma's clean laundry...putting the clothing in stacks on my couch...shirts...dresses...pajamas. As I was folding and the pajama stack grew taller, I found myself noticing that nearly every single one of the shirts in her pajama pile is a diabetes related shirt. Sure, there are a couple of fun kid type pj's...monkeys playing soccer...purple kittens...but the majority of her pj's are fun brightly coloured pants that we pair up with diabetes shirts. They are shirts that we've acquired over the years from various JDRF events, diabetes friends, and even one from World Diabetes Day.
I sat there staring at this pile of pajamas...my daughters pajamas...things that I have seen her wear countless times. Things I've seen her wear as she is standing there brushing her teeth before bed. Things I have seen her wear as I wrap my arms around her and kiss her goodnight. They represent something that should not be...something that should not be a part of her life. These shirts hold memories of moments in our lives...walks that we have participated in...snapshots of our life with diabetes.
I hate these shirts.....and yet I love them. I know that must seem bizarre...but it's true. These shirts are a tangible piece of what happened to her...what we've been through...how far we've come. Not only do they show up in my laundry basket every week....screaming DIABETES at me...but they seem to be getting smaller...and smaller...as the years go by. They aren't shrinking from the dryer though...they are shrinking because she is growing...she is getting bigger...older...and these shirts are becoming real life memories of just how little she was...just how young she was when diabetes first arrived in our house.
I love these pajama shirts because they remind me just how tough she is. She lays her head upon her pillow every night...sometimes with one of these shirts on her back...and she sleeps peacefully...she dreams...she hopes...she lives. She is a kid. She is a normal 9 yr old little girl that giggles over Phineas and Ferb episodes, blushes a bright beautiful red when you ask her about a boy that she has a crush on, and talks so much and so quickly that sometimes it makes me wonder just how many words she says in an average day. I look at her and I don't SEE diabetes. I see HER. I see a regular little girl with potential and intelligence and humour and bravery and strength. I see a little girl....MY little girl...who just so happens to be wearing a diabetes awareness shirt...because it's a part of her life...but it is not ALL of her life.
So, I keep washing these shirts...I keep folding them...I keep noticing them getting smaller...I keep putting them in her dresser drawer...and I keep seeing them on her. I know one day I will look at them piled up on the couch around me...and I will choose one...one to hold onto as a keepsake...a memory of our days with diabetes. I will set it aside and keep it forever....taking it out sometimes...perhaps on her diabetes anniversary...and I will close my eyes and hold it to my nose...smelling it...and breathing in the memory of what we endured...what we lived. I will let myself have that moment to remember...and then I will fold it...and put it away...forever...and I will relish in the days of now...because she will be cured.