I had a talk with Emma tonight about diabetes and her first day of school tomorrow. This is essentially the 6th year I've sent Emma off to school with diabetes now. She was diagnosed just 2 months before beginning junior kindergarten...and she's now about to enter 4th grade. I think back to how scared I was to send her that first year...how tiny she was...she was brand new to school and brand new to diabetes. Even back then though, I knew there was something special about her. She had the unique ability to just go with the flow...she didn't look at school as something to be afraid of...she didn't look at diabetes as a burden or something to be nervous about at school. It just was. She has always had the ability to be so matter of fact about things. She was told she would have to check her own blood sugar at school....so she did. She didn't question it...she didn't feel sorry for herself...she didn't look at it as some unusual occurrence. It just was.
As the school years have gone by, I've seen her grow and mature too quickly due in large part to diabetes. She's seen and endured things that no child her age should've had to deal with. She's lived with this attitude of doing what needed to be done and somehow being able to be a kid in spite of it all.
Tonight I told her how I was nervous that she wouldn't speak up to her new teacher tomorrow during class if she felt low. I told her that I trust her more than anyone else on the planet when it comes to managing her diabetes...because it is in fact...HER diabetes. She told me not to worry...she would be fine...she's been doing this for five years now and she's fine...she said, "I got this, Mommy!" It made me feel relieved. I look at her and my heart feels like it could explode from the pride I feel. It shatters me that diabetes has forced her to grow up to quickly...but I'm also greatful that it did...because it has allowed me to trust her as much as I do. The way that she is so matter of fact about her diabetes is something that I admire greatly.
It kind of hit me all at once tonight, how different it is being a parent of a child with diabetes versus a person who has diabetes themselves. Yes, we know the same lingo....we do the same things...we play the role of pancreas...we get it on a level that people who don't live with this disease will never fully comprehend. However, a person that actually is the one with diabetes.....I get the impression that for them....it just is. They don't dwell on how their lives could've been. They don't get caught up in the guilt that goes along with a high blood sugar or a low blood sugar. It just is what it is. They have this innate ability to take it at face value and live their lives in spite of it all. They have dreams...they have goals...they have hopes....and diabetes will never enter their minds as a factor that will stop them.
It's astounding and incredible and uniquely admirable. They live it. They feel it. But it is not even close to being the thing which defines them. It's ironic really, if you think about it.....this disease is in your face day in and day out...a constant reminder of being present and different.....and yet they are who they are regardless. People with diabetes amaze me. My daughter amazes me. THAT is matter of fact for me. Unwavering pride and support and love to all of you that live it every day....and I wish you and your children a new school year filled with fun and learning above all else.