I tend to be someone who just jumps in and does it...even if it's scary...even if I'm nervous...even if I don't think I can do it. Correction....I figuratively jump in....because I am totally one of those people that has to "get used to the water" at the pool....I inch in slowly but surely being dragged deeper by my child as I whimper and whine and complain the whole time about how cold the water is. Everything else though....total jump right in.
I remember a couple of days after Emma was diagnosed, we wanted to go to some friends house to pick up our new cat...Daisy. These friends lived about 20-25 minutes away from us...kind of out in the country. I was scared to be that far from home...I was worried about diabetes issues occurring on the drive and having to pull over on the highway out in the middle of a cornfield or something and treat a stubborn low blood sugar. I was scared I would forget to bring something...the meter...enough strips...enough juice boxes. I was scared....but I did it anyway. I got behind the wheel and just drove...and she was fine.
I remember the first time I let her sleep over at a friends house. I was terrified. I check Emma's blood sugar overnight and I couldn't expect my then 8 year old to wake up on her own at 2am to check her own blood sugar and call me. I couldn't expect her friends parents to do it. I couldn't.....or could I? Turns out I could. I kissed her goodbye and dropped her off with a room full of her friends all giggling and squealing...and my girl was a part of it...she was the same...she was one of them. My heart was pounding in my throat...my eyes were stinging as I blinked back tears of fear and worry and panic as I drove home...without her. But I did it. I did it....and she was ok....the parents were incredibly helpful and she had an amazing time just being a kid.
I remember the first time I sent her off to school...just two months after being diagnosed. I was nauseous with fear. I was shaking. I was doubting my decision to send her that entire week beforehand. She was only 4 years old.....FOUR! She was new at this diabetes thing. I was new at it. Her teacher was new at it. We were both new at this school thing. My head was a swirling mess of chaotic terrifying scenarios and what if's and OMG I can't do this...how are they going to know if she's low...what if she passes out...what if they don't help her...what if I become paralyzed with fear as I hold her tiny little hand in mine as I walk her up to the door to her classroom? What if? What if I'm making a huge mistake? Well, I didn't....she was fine...she was more than fine actually. She managed her blood sugar checks all on her own from the very first day...her teacher was my partner in pancreating...Emma learned a lot...she had a wonderful time...she made friends...we jumped in together...with our hands raised high above our heads and our cheeks flush with excitement. We did it...together.
Well, two days from now....we will jump in again. Emma will be starting 4th grade. She will be expected to take on a bit more responsibility with her disease this year. It's a good thing. It's a scary thing. This will be the first year Emma won't have two teachers assistants in the room with her to help look out for her. This is the first year she will have a male teacher. This is his first year teaching students this young (he's never taught anyone younger than 6th grade). We've met him and he's on board with being on our pancreating team...which is a relief. He is admittedly forgetful...which is where my fears come in. So, Emma will be wearing a watch this year with alarms set everyday to remind her and her teacher about testing before snack times. I'm relying solely on Emma in the beginning days to recognize her lows and tell someone that she needs to test and eat something or drink a juice box. Her teacher won't know what she looks like or acts like exactly when she's low until he has some days under his belt with her....so I'm putting the majority of my faith and trust in my daughter. She's 9. She's had diabetes for 5 years now. She's never attended school without diabetes along for the ride. It's been with her since day 1. My fear is there...like a lump of hot coal in my gut. But I know, we can do this...we always do. We will jump in with both feet together and we will be fine....we will rock it. She will be just fine. This is nothing new in our lives and we will take that leap together once again....it's just what we do....we jump in and never look back.