So the other day I took Emma to the community pool for a swim and to play at the park afterwards. I'm convinced that my girl was a monkey in a past life because she is drawn to the monkey bars...actually, no matter where we are or what we are doing, she will climb on things...hang from them...swing around. It's all fine and good at an actual park or at gymnastics class...but when we are at Walmart and she decides to swing from the cart and take a flying leap for the clothing racks or the handles on the frozen food doors, well...not so good.
In any case, we were at the park the other day and she was swinging away like usual and I was replying to a text my husband had sent me...kind of half paying attention to what she was doing. She's 9 now, so I'm not usually as concerned about her hurting herself like I was when she was younger. Well, I sent the text and turned around to see where she was and I was met with her gripping her hand in pain...tears silently streaming down her face...total grimace of agony. I rushed over and pulled her to me in a hug and asked what happened...what was wrong...why was she crying? In between sobs, she explained that she had ripped open two calluses on her palm while swinging on the bars. I remember that pain vividly. I did gymnastics my entire childhood and the uneven bars were my favorite event, so I was constantly getting rips on my hands. It's not pleasant...it stings and makes it hard to think about anything else but the searing pain in your hand in that moment.
My heart hurt to see her in so much pain. I gathed up our belongings and we headed home...she cried the entire way in the back seat. It occurred to me that I have been so conditioned by diabetes to constantly try to make things better...skip over the tears and the pain...because we have to get done what we have to get done. For the past five years, I have jabbed countless needles in her little body...I'm sure they all have caused some level of pain...and she used to cry a whole lot in the beginning. She used to cry and it would break my heart...because I didn't have a choice in what I was doing...I had to inflict this pain on her if I wanted her to live. So, I made jokes...I said silly things...I tried to distract her to stop the tears. I tried to do whatever it took to make that look of agony leave her face because it broke my heart and as her Mom, I just couldn't handle seeing that pain in her eyes and know that I was the one causing it. Diabetes has conditioned me to be this way over the years...and I hate it. I wish I could be one of those Mom's who rushes over to their crying child and scoops them up in their arms and kisses the injury and puts a bandaid on it and makes it all better. I wish my first gut reaction wasnt to make jokes or rush home to fix it or try to think of a way to make the tears stop. I guess I am fixing it and making it better in my own way...but I just feel sometimes like diabetes has ruined that part for me. It's hardened me to an extent I think. It's hardened me to the tears and the pain. Yes, I do hug her and kiss her and comfort her....but it's different...it's like I focus solely on making the tears stop and getting her to smile again...instead of letting her just cry...because she needs to cry...she deserves to cry because it hurts like hell.
I am going to make a conscious effort to let her be a kid more in the moment...and let her cry and be comforted when she needs to be. I'm going to try to stop just focusing on stopping the tears and making her laugh. I'm going to focus on the moment and let her cry when she needs to...because crying is not a bad thing and it should not be rushed along.
Just another epiphany at the park.