Independence is a double-edged sword for me as a D-Mom. Now that Emma's 9 years old, I know she wants more freedom in things...she wants to go play with friends more...at their houses. She wants to do all of the same things that kids her age want to do...and that's good. It's a good thing. It makes me happy! When I see her walking out the front door carrying her blood sugar meter, with fruit snacks stuffed into her pockets, and a smile on her face...it makes me happy and yet sad all at once. I try to not come across as pushy or overly nervous about her blood sugars...so I have her check before she leaves and tell me what it is, and I send her off with a kiss and reminder to check if she feels low...and a final yell out the front door to remember to watch for cars and look both ways before crossing the street. I take all of my nervousness and ball it up and throw it out there masked as a typical parent reminding their typical child to watch for cars....because I don't want her to know I'm worried that she won't check because she won't want to stop playing or she won't want to seem "different" and stop to check if she feels low. So, I make my single reminder and then mask all the leftover nerves in a "crossing the street warning." It's silly...and bizarre I guess...but it's what I do.
Emma will be in 4th grade this year and I'm a little nervous. She will be expected to be a little more independent this year...she's growing up...she's not one of the little kids in the school anymore. I trust her. I trust her way more than I did 5 years ago. It makes my heart pound with pride and joy when I see her bolusing herself and setting temp basals and finding carb info on food. It makes me feel good to know she is capable. It makes me feel like I have done a good job these past five years. It makes me feel like the plans I have laid out and the slow...very slow...but very effective process of teaching her how to manage HER disease has been working. It's like I can start to see the puzzle pieces connecting for her now. It's nice to see her feeling proud of herself for getting it too.
Diabetes sometimes makes me feel like I'm torn in two though, because all of those reasons I just listed for how it makes me feel proud and happy.....those very same reasons make me feel sad. She's only 9 years old. She never had a choice in the matter. This is her life and there's nothing she can do to make diabetes go away. It is what it is. It makes me sad sometimes to see her bolus, count carbs, set temp basals. It makes me sad to hear her talk about how swimming makes her high or the trampoline makes her low. It breaks my heart into a million pieces to see her sit on the deck and have to take a time out to drink juice with her friend because all the jumping around on the trampoline has made her crash. I hate it. I hate that it makes me sad. I should be able to just accept that independence is a good thing regardless and it's what I want for her more than anything else in this life....except maybe a cure of course...and to be happy and loved.
Half of my heart swells with pride and the other half is still in mourning I guess. My head says teach her...show her the way...give her the knowledge and the confidence and the ability! My head says knowledge is power and you are setting her up for success in reaching that life of independence by leading her down this path and letting go a bit.
....but my heart....oh, my heart cries...my heart sobs uncontrollably sometimes for the loss and the pain of having to unload this all on her shoulders some day.
So, that's where I stand at this moment in my life....torn in two. I hope one day soon I can feel whole again and find a way to put those two pieces of myself back together again.