It's been almost six years since we met diabetes.
My daughter has rolled with the punches since she was just four years old.
She's accepted it better than I think I ever could have at her age.
She rarely mentions the negatives that go along with it...the needles...the blood...the highs or lows.
Simply put....it is what it is for her.
I have always encouraged her to share her feelings and her thoughts....to let it out if she needs to...that it's ok to be angry or sad or pissed off. That it's ok to be jealous or afraid or worried. That it's ok to feel however she is feeling. I want her to know that she can vocalize her emotions and there will be never be any judgement...there will only be love and support.
So, because of this....I sometimes have wondered over the years what exactly goes on in her head...what she thinks...what she experiences when she's not with me. I worry about her encountering ignorance. I worry about her getting her feelings hurt. I mean she deals with enough as it is on a daily basis....I want to protect her feelings so much.
When she does share situations that occurred...comments people have made...it sometimes feels like her words describing the situation actually knock the wind right out of me.
Today she had a low blood sugar while we were out buying supplies to make new team shirts for this years JDRF Walk. I handed her a package of scooby doo fruit snacks and she shoved them all in her mouth at once. I've seen it a million times before....her cheeks puffed out full of chewy snacks...it's nothing unusual to my jaded eyes. Well, once she swallowed them all, she turned to me and very nonchalantly said, "ya know....one time some kids at school saw me do that....eat all the fruit snack pieces at once....and were talking to each other about how gross it was that I just shoved them all in my mouth at once." I felt the air whoosh out of my lungs and anger burn my fingertips...anger at the ignorance she had to hear...anger that people can be so inconsiderate...anger that this is not the first time my daughter would hear a comment like that and it most certainly would not be the last time either. I asked her what she said to the girls who were saying this behind her as she was fixing her own blood sugar. She told me, "nothing. They were standing behind me talking to each other about me. I wasn't a part of the conversation, so I didn't say anything. And anyways, I don't care...when I have to eat something to feel better and fix my low....I'm gonna do it...who cares what they think?"
Ignorance is a fact. Inconsiderate people are a reality. Diabetes is her reality. It is what it is.
I put my arm around my extra sweet girls shoulder and we walked into the store talking about tshirt design ideas....because you see....I have nothing to worry about....she will hear ignorance...she will make a choice to let her feelings get hurt or not.
It's my job to continue to teach her about the choice....
It's my job to continue to teach her that no matter what she may encounter in this life....diabetes related or not.....she will always always always have a choice in what she takes away from it.
Oh....and to those kids who thought the manner in which my daughter chose to keep herself alive was gross.....I advise you to recognize that YOU have a choice as well....and I hope next time you encounter something you find unusual...or weird...or gross.....well, I hope that you will make a better choice next time in how you react.