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My Parents.

I saw a mother and her eight year old daughter at the train station this morning.  It was kind of chilly out, so most of the conversations on the platform were visible, with little puffs of cold above the speaker's mouths.  The mom leaned over to her child and touches her finger tip to what looked like a cell phone.  The child drew back her hand and stuck her finger in her mouth.  The mom looked at the machine, furrowed her eyebrow, and  said something to her daughter.  Her daughter reached into her coat, pulled out another machine, then tucked it back into her jacket. 

Untrained eyes wouldn't see this action as anything of note.  Commuters weren't staring.  Everyone was going about their business - a regular Wednesday morning.  But I saw this mother's daily business - keeping her child alive.  I'm watching this from the sidewalk, not able to hear what's being said.  I can only imagine the words, but they sound so familiar.

I read a lot of diabetes blogs (I know - me?!) and some of the blogs written by my fellow diabetics really touch my heart.  Even though we're all working at different jobs, driving different cars, maintaining different values, and living in different families and skins, every last one of us is dealing with the same vulnerability.  We're all trying to pinch hit for our pancreases, and it can be a tough road at times.

Reading the blogs from the parents of children with diabetes ... they touch my heart, too.  But some times they break it.  

I forget that while I'm testing my blood sugar, wearing the pump, and doing my diabetes thing every day, my mother and father are still worrying.  My parents had to step in when I was diagnosed because I was a little kid who has more interest in climbing trees than climbing blood sugars. And I can't imagine what it's like to have a child with diabetes - I've only been a child with diabetes, and now an adult with diabetes.  Sometimes it hurts a bit to prick my finger or do an injection, but I can control and manage that pain.  I can't imagine what it must have been like for my mom to have me crying and hiding behind the dining room curtains while she drew up my shot when I was a kid.  It wasn't like that all the time, but I'd imagine that once was enough to leave a mark on my mother.

They are always our mothers.This mother this morning reminded me of my own mom.  Made me think about the other parents of kids with diabetes, and what they do every day to keep us safe, healthy, and able to be kids.  Just regular kids, even if we have to take a break from playing every now and again to test or shoot or eat.  Some of the blogger moms and dads write about their child's diabetes, and I have to really concentrate to find the bits of diabetes memories from my childhood.  And I prefer it that way - my childhood wasn't "childhood with diabetes" but instead just "childhood."  Our parents, they protect us and keep us safe from feeling scared and unsure.  They absorb those feelings for us and try to make our lives as normal as possible.  And I am so thankful for everything my parents did for me.

The train rumbled to a stop and the mother and daughter climbed on board.  And I went into my office and called my mom.  


I have tried to imagine what my parents went through when and after I was diagnosed with diabetes. It boggles my mind. I almost think that I had it easier, getting to live my childhood as a child, and not having to worry and stress. My parents have been such a blessing to me. And I know they still worry about me every day.

This made me tear up. Sometimes my daughter screams "You have no idea what this is like!" She can't understand yet that I am with her for all the finger pricks, highs, lows, injections. But more than that, I am acutely aware of just how tenuous her situation is. The fear and worry will be with me day and night for the rest of my life, just as the diabetes is for her. Sure wish I could trade places with her.

I can only hope that my son will have "bits" of diabetes memories instead of a "childhood of diabetes". I have tears in my eyes reading your post at work. Sometimes it feels like my life is consumed with caring for his body instead of enjoying my life with him. This post lets me see how important my job is.

Thanks for this, Kerri. It made me teary eyed, but it also brought to light that we just want our children to have a childhood without diabetes being a dark cloud over it.

Beautiful post Kerri!

Amazing how you can feel so connected to this little girl. While watching from a distance, you can understand so much of what she deals with.

I'm sure that you brought a smile to your mother's face today!

This made me tear up. Sometimes my daughter screams "You have no idea what this is like!" She can't understand yet that I am with her for all the finger pricks, highs, lows, injections. But more than that, I am acutely aware of just how tenuous her situation is. The fear and worry will be with me day and night for the rest of my life, just as the diabetes is for her. Sure wish I could trade places with her.

Awesome post... It left me speechless:)

Tear up...not me...all out bawling. I so needed to read this today. Thanks Kerri!

Teary eyed am I too.

I can only imagine what it was really like for my parents. I do recall my diagnosis, their faces, reactions, the tears so vividly. I am sure I hid from them, gave them a hard time but all in all I had a childhood. Just had to do a shot and blood tests is all.

I had a moment like this at the ADA Call to Congress. Little girl doing her bt, licked her finger, mom looked at the meter, pulled out the pen, little girl chose her arm, mom dialed the dose and all was done.

Parents become a fine tuned and oiled machine, doing what they have to. Hiding the fear and the stress.

I am forever grateful to mine for making my childhood the best it could be.

Goosebumps! Only diabetics, thier parents and those close around them notice what you saw... most others are indeed oblivious to this ritual we call life...

Hey.. seeing the needles with his insulin has helped my naieve 6 year old boy see 'other diabetics must be around" when syringe litter is around.. rather than junkies under trees at parks, and scurvy gas station bathrooms off the highway.. and this makes him happy to know he is not alone...(can we live in this cloud forever?!?!)

Thank you for your post... As a parent of a diabetic, I know your mom must be really proud of you and that call put her on cloud nine!

I often ask my wife, "Do you think Emma will remember any of this when she is older?" I hope that if she does, this is how she sees it. Sometimes as parents we have to be reminded that even when we are holding our kids down to change that pump site or put in that new sensor, that we do it because we love them.

Thanks, Kerri, for understanding the "other" side of the equation. My daughter, too, has run and hid from shots and finger pokes, cried uncontrollably, and had to be wrestled to the ground to treat a horrible low....thankfully, those were early on and don't happen now (and says she doesn't remember them) but they did leave HUGE marks on me. I can't *begin* to imagine how much it actually sucks to live with diabetes and what it does to your body from the inside, but from the other side, watching it in my child.....no words. It sounds so cliched to say, "I would take it from her if I could", but it's so very true.

I wish I could hug you right now. Thanks for such a lovely post... and on behalf of all Mothers of children with diabetes, thanks for calling your Mom.

What a blessing to find your blog. I just left my 8-year-old daughter in bed after feeding her 2 packs of Smarties. She bolused in bed at BG 260 (high day for some reason) tonight, then maybe an hour later was upstairs telling me she felt like she'd throw up.(She didn't, though.) I'm still relatively new at diabetes (almost a year) and newer at pumping (Omnipod- 4 1/2 months), and I really didn't even much connect it with her sugar level. Cuddled with her a bit on the couch & let her go to lie down in my bed and wait for me. Checked her 30 minutes later and she was 52. Double checked, 49. Good grief. I guess she was sick because she was plummeting. And I really don't know why. Hopefully the Smarties will bring her up quickly... at least she ate them for me; the oven timer is set for 15 minutes. So I decided to research others' experiences... and found you. Thanks for your kind and understanding words for Moms who just love their kids and do what they have to.

Oh, this post made me ache out loud for my mom. She suffered my diagnosis every day of her life--her memory is the reason I try so hard to stay healthy now. For everyone who still has Mom in your life, give her an extra hug today, just because :)

I also have a parent story. About 4 years ago I was at my son's baseball practice and they were having a practice game against another team and I was standing behind the backstop watching this kid on his team pitch. For a 12 year old kid he had a rocket for an arm. I noticed this woman walk up and she was watching him and she seemed nervous and was pacing back and forth. This kid was starting to pitch a little wild and the coaches were yelling out encourageing words and this lady was getting more and more antsy. The inning finally ended and as this kid was walking towards the bench I hear her say "you should check your blood sugar" and the kid just snaps back, "lighten up mom I just had a bad inning" and I saw him walk over to the bench get his meter out and he walks back and says " see I'm fine I'm 117". It just brought back so many memories when I was that age. Compared to me that kid was a saint. I got to know the woman over the season and told her my story how I was about her son's age when I was diagnosed. She would ask me so many questions about how I dealt with it growing up. It made me realize how much grief I put my mom through.

It was because of this experience I started getting involved with JDRF. I have always been an avid cyclist and always said I should do the Ride to Cure Diabetes someday
http://ride.jdrf.org/ It was after meeting this woman and her son that I decided to sign up and do this ride. It was probably one of the best decisions I ever made. That year I dedicated the ride to my mom for all she did for me in spite of all the grief I gave her. I have now done 5 of these rides and have raised over $30,000 total for JDRF. I have met so many amazing people at these rides. I have had many very long conversations with parents of diabetic kids and they are my heroes.

I too, was left in tears! I AM one of those blogging mothers...the mother that puts on the strong face and doesnt let her daughter see how much it kills her to watch her go through this. I've found that it is much easier to blog and get my feelings out there...even if no one ever reads it...it's better to know I got it out and I didn't hurt anyone in the process.

The first few weeks after she came home from the hospital were very difficult! Getting into a routine and learning how to test and do shots in public was certainly very trying...especially when you do get the stares. Its only been 3 months...but we handle things out in public like a pro now! She's also managed to "educate" those people that were nice enough to say "I know someone with diabetes too!". She even ran into a little boy at the bowling alley and saw he was on a pump and introduced her self as "Hi! I'm Kacey and I'm Type 1 too!" LOL his parents got a kick out of it! So you learn to adjust...and even as heartbreaking as it is...you have to remember that your child was put in that place for a reason. Even though we might not know the reason why right at that moment...and we might be angry that our child was the one chosen... you never know what good things they may end up doing. Kerri...you've used your diabetes to educate others...people that have never met you read your blog and mothers like me say "Wow...she might be diabetic and had struggles along the way...but shes grown up and shes happy & healthy...my child can too!" Your blog gives us hope...makes us laugh...and makes us feel like we're not so alone in this world! Thank you!!!

OK...LOL I managed to bring myself to tears again :)

Keep Blogging!
Jill (Mommy to Kacey, T1, age 8)

what a wonderfull blog as usual . you got me to thinking about all the parents with children with diabetes. Yes it almost breaks your heart . What a thoughtfull insight thanks again for an inspiring blog .

Great blog Kerri. And I love the Willow Tree picture. I collect them. =)

Hi Kerri,

Thank you so much for reassuring me that my "restrained vigilance" will pay off. I have done my best to keep my daughter happy and healthy, getting my gold star pretty much every three months at the endo clinic. She rarely complains about her diabetes; it hasn't stopped her from participating in sports, scouts, school or social activities. She appreciates it that there's always a meter, glucose tabs, juice, infusion sets, etc in my bag and the car. I'm sure it's a pain-in-the-ass when I ask her to test what seems like a million times before a tennis match, but she knows if she's too high or low, she won't be able to play her best. Since she's 12, I certainly don't expect her to thank me out loud, but I do look forward to the day when she sees a mom and her daughter checking a bg and then getting her call to say thanks.

Thanks for this post Kerri.
I often wonder what other people think when they see Ian and I doing our thing out in public and I often wonder if any adults with diabetes are looking on. You should say hi the next time you see them. I'm sure the mom would get a huge sense of relief to see a vibrant, healthy, happy adult. I know it is always encouraging to me to know that my son will grow up healthy and happy. Some people have sports heroes or political heroes, we have adult diabetes heroes who set a good example.

What a beautiful post. With a diagnosis at 18, as much as I wanted to grab up my little boy and take care of him that's not how it works. But, through the last 2 1/2 years while my son is at college I try to stay as close as I can, and on nights where ketones are in play I sleep with my cell phone in hand.
When you honor your parents in your blog, you honor all moms and dads. Thank you.

As a Mother of a Mother of a 5 year old with Type 1 Diabetis reading your blogs makes me cry. I hurt almost more for my Daughter than for my Grandchild, though that is hurt enough. Kerri, your blog was wonderful and beautiful because it honors all those faithful, dependable Mothers out there who are doing their best to make sure their child has a childhood.

Yeah. I don't even know what to say here. I know it's hard for the child with diabetes, no matter what that child's age, but it's also hard for the parent because there's NOTHING you can do to fix it and really, that's all you want to do as a parent, kiss the boo-boo, make it better and you just can't and it kind of kills you inside.

Dammit. Now I'm crying.

Thanks for this post, Kerri. It was great, in a painful way.

Thank you for the beautiful words, I sit here typing with tears streaming down my face because I hope my son will know that all I do is for him, and his healthy future.

Add this mom to the list of criers..your post touched my soul, thank you.

This post makes me confess something I'm not particularly proud of - sometimes I get so caught up in MY diabetes, I forget that it isn't just mine. I forget how was (and still is, even though I'm an adult) on my parents. Thanks for the reminder. I think we should all call our parents and give them a big thank you for all they've done.

What a breathtakingly beautiful post. Parents are such incredibly special people.

This post blew me away. I bet your Mom's proud. :)

THANK YOU!! My daughter was 8 1/2 when diagnosed and we are approaching her 4 yr anniversary. At 12, she is so much an old soul ~ honestly even before diagnosis ~ and so much a pro at dealing with her D! When she was initially hospitalized, her only outward fear was being in the hospital by herself. She handled the blood draw & IV start much better than I had expected. Then 1-1/2 hr later, she handled that first shot of insulin so well, I had to hold back the tears. When I went home (my husband stayed that night) & made those first late night calls with the news to family and emails to the rest of our little world, that's when the tears started. I only slept about 4 hrs that night. I thought I was handling it until I stopped at school the next morning to let them know Sam would be absent cause she was in the hospital. That's when a classmate's mom asked what was up, I said the hardest words: Sam has diabetes, and just lost it & started bawling. It took me a long time before I could say it without crying, and even now out of the blue~ when reading wonderful posts & replies like this one~ that it hits me all over again. No, her life will never be "normal" again, but her "new normal" will be as smooth as I can make it as her mom. I know I have to loosen the reins sometime and let her have more control, but as a mom, it is just so hard because the complications, risks, all the bad things are always there in the back of your mind & daily you hope and pray that you are doing the right things so your child will become the happy & healthy adult with diabetes that you are, Kerri!

Keep up the good work & I always enjoy reading your blogs ~ I hope my Samantha will express herself as beautifully as you do! She has already written some things for class assignments that have brought tears to my eyes (a 5th grade short essay about the one thing she would change about herself: take away the diabetes ~ is the first that comes to mind). Keep up the wonderful posts.

Wow! That was awesome. I AM THAT MOM ON THE TRAIN..only I have a son. He was dx'd in 2000, 4 weeks before he turned 3. Its been a wild rollercoaster ride for the last 9 years. I can only hope and pray that when he is an adult, that he is thankful for all that I do for him now, as a kid.

This story sounds like my daughter and me. She was diagnosed at 6, the day after Christmas. Like the girl in your story, she is now 8 years old. The thing that got me - the finger into the mouth. My daughter does the same thing. She learned from her father. I can tell the other mothers of diabetics at the school during pickup, the teacher is saying things like "high after lunch" or "we bolused" or "went low after gym". Others don't hear anything I'm sure. This mother hears "our lingo" loud and clear. I just hope someday my daughter knows just how very much I love her through it all. Plain and simple.

Kerri. Thank you. Since my daughter is 17 (diabetes 11 years next week . . wow) I am currently the annoying, overbearing, nagging mother who understands NOTHING. I hope for the day when she really knows that I just plain care! This is the hardest time of being a D parent, I think (I hope! Please don't ever make it harder. Can you say COLLEGE?) yikes.

Kerri thank you for such a magically written post.

kerri. so lovely. thank you so much for making us think. thank you for slowing us down. just, thank you.

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