Thursday, November 4, 2010

An homage to the nighttime check.


The house is still.

Parents peacefully sleeping. Children gleefully dreaming.

Respite from a long busy day.

The dog sighs happily in his bed. The heater hums, the faucet silently drips.

The alarm waits.

It’s black plastic, hard and distantly cold against the softness of the bedroom.

Seconds tick by. Soon it will be time.

Tick Tick Tick.


The scream of the alarm echoes against the still walls of the sanctuary.

A mother’s eyes open.

She turns fluidly towards the snooze button.

The check can wait.

Three more minutes of sleep. Much needed precious sleep.


A violent throwing of the blanket. She is up.

Cautiously she navigates the dark corners of the house. Stealth-like in her movements.

Her hand fumbling for the light. A small stream of brightness piercing the dark…her eyes squint, adjusting to the soft beam.

A monitor, a pricker, three test strips…she begins the rounds.

Each child in a dream like escape from diabetes. Each child at peace.

She longs to keep the peace. Her fear of disturbing her boys is tangible. She wants them to indulge in the calm within the storm.

She works quickly and quietly.

The countdown. Three. Two. One.


Her eyes bright now with victory. Her heart beating strongly against her chest…she is alive with hope.

The next countdown. Three. Two. One.


A small curve at the corner of her mouth. A shy smile of smugness. A sigh of relief.

The final countdown of the night.

Three. Two. One.


Her eyes close now. She holds in a tear. Sleep will have to wait.

Her mind begins to race. Information begins passing through at lightning speed. Processing what this child’s body needs.

She leaves the room and returns like a ghostlike figure. The silence of the house is deafening.

She gently presses the straw to her handsome son’s lips. He sips resolutely. His sleepy eyes see her for a moment, but he is lost in his dream before a memory is formed.

He is safe. For now.

As the mother sets her dark, cold alarm for an hour later, she sighs a deep knowing sigh.

She knows that there are others. Mothers and fathers quietly…tenderly… walking the halls of their homes. They are the guardian angels of their children.

She is not alone. And for a moment, that is enough. Enough to get her through to the next check. And the next. And the next.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

The clock waits to scream. And the mother waits to sleep. Her mind alive with information.

She pushes back the madness. She WILLS herself to close her eyes. She will not question herself tonight. She WILL sleep until the next check.

Her eyes finally give in to the exhaustion and as they begin to finally flutter closed…


The nighttime checks continue. An eternal round of deafening silence and breathless countdowns.

The sleeplessness, a necessary evil and a willing sacrifice for the safety of the children she loves more than her own life. They are her everything. She will do anything and everything to keep them safe...

Even the nighttime check.


  1. Great post, Meri. We will do ANYTHING, including losing sleep, just to keep them here with us.

  2. again a wonderful write amazingly, YOU ROCK!!

  3. For some reason this brings tears to my eyes. It is so very true. Thanks for the wonderful post.

  4. Every word of this is true sweet Meri. Thank you. I will think of you, and all the other D-Moms and Dads who are checking, tonight, when my alarm rings at 2 am.

  5. You are speaking to me this morning! My eyelids are heavy with a night of very little sleep, very much checking. You are a gifted writer Meri!

  6. You truly are gifted, Meri! And I haven't thought about how many others there who are up between 2 and 3, just checking and waiting. That kind of makes it a little better somehow. Thank you!

  7. This is perfect. Especially this week when sleep has been a joke. It does help to think of the others. Sometimes I think it's the only thing keeping me somewhat sane.

  8. So well written, I HATE THE ALARM CLOCK, AND THE SOUND now.
    It does bring me comfort knowing I am not alone in the hallways in the early AM...I only wish G slept through the checks...but she does return to sleep quickly. Thank you for taking your time to share so eloquently Meri..

  9. This post was poetry. I'll be thinking of you in the middle of the night tonight, along with all the other parents shuffling in the quiet.

  10. You are a totally awesome mom!! I admire all of you moms of diabetic kids who get up in the night to check your their blood sugars!!! Please take good care of yourself as well. Train Lawton to do finger sticks, lol, now there is an idea! Hugs!!

  11. I'm no anonymous, I'm Kim, and I keep messing this up! What I meant to say is that I admire you for getting up in the middle of the night to check their blood sugars! My brain is swelly too today Meri! Hugs! Kim

  12. Well said Meri... I cannot imagine having to do what I do every night x3. I honestly do not know how you do it. You are Super Mom!

  13. Luckily my husband does the night checks....but it doesn't mean I am not up too, awaiting the number. I lay listening to the extra sounds for clues, a buzz of the pump bolusing for a high, his footsteps into the kitchen to signal a low, or a stumble back to bed when all is okay.

  14. Wow, that was a powerful post. Thanks for sharing. Your boys are so very lucky to have a mom like you!

  15. I woke up in a panic this morning at 5am. I slept (I guess Mike did too) right thru the alarm. Seriously, didn't hear it AT ALL.

    sigh...and met with a "Mom, I totally don't remember you coming in last night".....sigh

    I wonder if when the kids move out of the house we will wake up at 2am out of habit and wonder if we should text our kids to check their BS?

  16. Meri what a perfect description of our nights (only one kid to check for me of course). You are so inspiring, I love reading your blog!!!

  17. BEAUTIFUL! Absolutely beautiful, powerful, and full of truth.

    Thank you for putting it into words.

  18. This brought tears to my eyes. I will echo the other sentiments that you are a wonderful writer and this is truly poetry.

  19. This is so true! Though, I must admit, my sleep pattern is a bit different than this, its still the same concept. Since I never, NEVER seem to be able to wake up to the sound of an alarm, I stay up at night to do the checks and if I'm lucky, can go to bed at 3am and wake up around 6 or 6:30am. Sometimes I get to take a nap while the kids are in bed, if I get enough cleaning done and if things are going well in school, but if not, I know I can get a nap after dinner till about 11pm while my husband does the bedtime snack check, gets the kids ready for bed and in bed. My husband is totally my ROCK in all of this, and I wouldnt be able to do what I do if it wasnt for him! I wouldnt be able to keep my sanity if it wasnt for him, and all the other d-moms out there that let me vent to them on facebook LOL! You all are like family to me!

    Sorry for rambling LOL! Still trying to wake up while my kids drive me nuts this morning LOL!

  20. Beautifully written, Meri! You brought tears to my eyes. We all know these nights too well!

  21. This brought tears to my eyes-- so well written! I only have one child to poke through the night and I struggle to think clearly with her- you are amazing to keep your head straight with three.

  22. Dear Meri, I've been following your blog for a few weeks now and I must say, I thoroughly enjoy them. I just shared your 2 posts that touched me most with other Diabetic mama friends, my family, our Endo & PA and pump trainer! (hope you don't mind) You express so well things I'm feeling and don't know how to express, and it's a great way for me to educate others on diabetes & how it affects the family and child. My 2 favorites are: I want you to Know & Homage to Nighttime checks. Last night I comforted my daughter when she didn't want to do her pump site change with the reminder that kids all across America are doing this also and they don't want to, or that they don't like it and their parents don't like it either...and that seemed to comfort us both. Keep up the good work, Mama.
    Jessica, Mom to 2 girls, one 7 and one 5 with Diabetes for 3.5 years.

  23. You are incredible! This post is beautiful. It also brought tears to my eyes.

  24. You are an amazing writer! THANK YOU for what you say! it is so very true and wonderful to hear from someone who can express what I feel!

  25. Another one to add to my 'favorite' list!


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