Friday, May 31, 2013

She smiles.

This is a picture of a woman who has been through hell this school year.

She began the year with letters to the teachers…”My child has Type 1 Diabetes.”  “My child’s father that has stage 4 cancer.”

Two weeks after the school year began her husband, the father of her four children, died.

This is a picture of a woman who just dropped off the kids for their last day of school and as hard as she tries not to think about this past year, it is pushing its way to the front of her mind.  Wrangling it’s way past all the suppressed feelings of anger, exhaustion and sadness.

People are congratulating her, “Congratulations, M is graduating from High School tomorrow!”

And she furrows her brows and says, “I haven’t thought about it.”

Because she tries SO SO hard not to.  Because she knows when she really takes it in,  when she really lets it sink into her soul what that all means…him leaving…his victories…his adulthood…she scarce can take it in. 

She is going to lose it.  That serene face up there?  She will lose it.

But that woman is super good at hiding all the fear.  All the emotions are kept in a box in her heart until inevitably, they will break through, unable to be contained.

Children growing.  Milestones being reached.  SO many things to be proud of…

And her husband is not here to celebrate with her.  It brings so many conflicted emotions…all she can do is smile pleasantly.

And hope that she will make it through one more day, without him.

She has chosen to be happy…and she is really trying to honor that decision.

Sure, the tears find their way to the surface all the time, (still, ALL the time,) but she knows how she faces the future is a choice.  Her choice.

And right now she chooses not to think about it.  She chooses to live only for today.  A day that in three hours will mark the end of this completely mind boggling year.

They have survived.  Somehow the last nine months happened, and she kept walking.  She kept moving.  The family kept progressing.  Which progression, she knows, has been a gift.

So that woman who has been through hell will smile today, and count the many blessings in her life.  Four of which are attending their last day of 3rd, 5th, 9th and 12th grade.

She’s got this.

Until the cap and gown are put on.  Then she’ll let herself lose it for a bit…crying and smiling her way through the pain, happiness, sorrow and confusion.

She knows Ryan wants her to smile. 

And more than anything, she still wants to make him happy.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I left them.

It’s a right of passage for any kid.  But for a kid with Diabetes, having your parent leave you alone is a huge milestone.

This week the boys’ schedules are off the charts.  Tons of crazy going on the last week of school, and as such we have three different pick up times from school.  Since the littles got off an hour before the bigs, I brought them home to do some dinner prep before returning across town to do the second round of pick ups.

“Let’s go guys.”

“Nah.  We’ll stay here mom.”

I stop in my tracks and look back at my 11 and 9 year olds.

“You’ll be okay by yourselves?”

“Absolutely.”  B says with his brown eyes shining back at me.  He said it sincerely, not trying to convince me, but rather just stating it as a matter of fact.

“OK,” I say hesitantly.  “You have my cell phone number if you need me, or if something comes up.”

“OK.  See ya.”  He says casually.

As I was making my way to the High School I thought about the big step it was to leave my two littles, (my two littles who both have diabetes no less,) at home alone.  Sure only for 30 minutes.  But still…a lot can happen in 30 minutes.  Especially since Murphy’s Law is like my 5th child.  I tried to shake the negativity in laws live just a few blocks away from us.  All will be well.

Then it occurred to me, if Ryan were here, they wouldn’t be left alone.  In fact I’m pretty sure it was only within the last year we left any of our kids home alone.  My two little guys are going to grow up faster than the two older boys.  This is probably the natural order of things anyway…but sobering nonetheless.

I’m a big fan of keeping kids, kids, for as long as humanly possible.  Growing up is hard.  Just ask Peter Pan.

Was me leaving these boys any different than me taking a nap on the couch?  Hardly.  They take care of themselves like little pros these days.  They check if they suspect a low, and they treat if they are.  They dose if they are high.  I’m nothing more than a message board to leave word of what they have done.

Sure, I count carbs.  But during the daytime hours, that is all I do that they do not…and to make matters worse/better…the two boys that don’t count carbs are starting to take the wheel on that.  They’re pretty brilliant at it too.

So I left them.

And when I drove into the garage B flew out of the house and knocked on my car window.

“Hey.  Do you want to know what happened while you were gone?”

My stomach did a little figurative bit of throwing up and then I asked, “What happened?”

“I cleaned the bedrooms and the bathroom.  I vacuumed.  I cleaned the kitchen and put away the groceries.  Wanna come see?”

And so it goes.  Children grow.  Hard things become softer. 

And it becomes OK to let them fly.  Even if just for 30 minutes.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Many leaves. One tree.

I feel like I could write a book about that one thought.  When I heard it for the first time while watching Epic yesterday my cheeks immediately flushed and I got that humming in my chest that tells me, “That means something to you.  That is important.  That is truth.”

And now that it is a part of me, I can’t help but feel it kinda sums up my (and if I may be so bold, our) entire existence, really.

We are pieces of a greater whole, and part of a unique ecosystem that isn’t accidentally happening in front of us.  “Meant to be” isn’t a superfluous phrase. 

We are meant to connect, because we are more than a community, we are a family…every one of us.  We are responsible for one another, and should take care to remember our humanity should run deeper than our humanness.  The spiritual organisms in all of us need to be fed, and acknowledged.

If we open up to the fact that this is all greater than the sum of its parts, we might realize that we have been ignoring an entire part of ourselves that is very real…and very important.  The more we accept our spirituality, the more it will come to the surface.  And if we find a way to focus on that part of us more often, I think our potential is unlimited. 

But here’s the problem, for me anyway.  Although I find that it is fairly simple to get into the state of mind that there is greater purpose, that there is a better perspective, it is just as simple, or even simpler to lose those feelings and get lost in the frustration, or chaos that is the on the surface of our daily walk.

Said simply, it takes work to see the bright side of things.  Effort is required every single day to see things more globally…and to take it a step further…more eternally.  If we don’t work on it every single day, then the perspective is swooshed away.

That is what I’ve come to believe anyway.  When I open myself up, even a little bit it seems…Ryan is closer to me, and things become easier. 

When I believe I am alone.  I am alone.

It’s all up to me.  I need to put in the effort to open myself up to the greater purpose in all of this.  And although my efforts need be only minimal…they do require my persistence, and my determination to make this family state of mind a habit, rather than an anomaly.

Many leaves.  One tree.

We are part of something bigger.  I really believe it.

Whether you believe the tree is an eternal family, the Earth, or a community…it means you are part of something. 

And that something means something.  (Super awesome sentence, I know.)

If I’m successful in switching the trajectory of my thinking…will I be able to change the trajectory of my life to a more positive one?  If positive, inclusive and familial thinking brings positive change…maybe.

Maybe if I believe there is more, more will come.

I definitely believe it is worth the try.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

D Blog Week, Day 7: My boys' thoughts

The final prompt this week: Back by popular demand, let's revisit this prompt from last year! Tell us what your fantasy diabetes device would be? Think of your dream blood glucose checker, delivery system for insulin or other meds, magic carb counter, etc etc etc. The sky is the limit – what would you love to see?

My brain is shot.  It’s late Sunday night and my creativity is in the toilet…but I didn’t want to leave my last day of D Blog Week hanging.  So I grabbed the D Blog Week wild card and asked the boys what was the best “diabetes invention” they could think of.  They didn’t even need time to think about it.  Below are their immediate responses. 

L, age 9:  “The best diabetes invention would be a cure.  Diabetes is a lot of work.  Work.  Work. Work.  Day and night.  I never get time to stop working.  It never ends.  I mean, you’ll never know what it’s like.  (Me:  Don’t you think I have a little idea of what you go through?)  Maybe a little, but until you have shots, and constant pricks, you won’t ever really know.  Just people who have diabetes know what it’s like.  Until you have black dots all over your fingertips, you won’t know.  Until you have shots in your belly and your butt, all the time?  You won’t know for real.  Sure you have a little idea.  But sometimes I just want a break.  Like.  One day off, not to have to think about diabetes.  It’s just so much WORK!”

Whoa.  I wasn’t expecting the lecture.  But A-flippen-men, little dude.

B, age 11:  “I would invent a pump that would be a mixture of a monitor and a pump.  It would check my sugar and give me insulin without me doing anything.  I would be okay with set changes every three days if it did all that for me.  And it wouldn’t take years to change it.  They would improve the new pump/monitor every week.  Every week it would work better…awesomer.” 

I’ve never spoke to him about the artificial pancreas.  I think he’s spot on.  Although I doubt the updates will be so forthcoming, I do appreciate the idea of constant improvement.

J, age 15:  “Other than a real cure…A pump that tests your sugar for you, and gives you insulin for you.  Corrects you automatically.  It’s implanted, so there are no pump changes.  It does it all.”

After these responses I felt obligated to show them some YouTube videos about the artificial pancreas.  I said I know someone’s daughter who will be trying it out at the end of summer, and then I told them it definitely won’t be soon…but someday this may be their reality. 

Their response?  J: “How much?”  B: “Can we bribe someone to let us try it?”  L: “Mom, you’re famous on Facebook or something…someone’s gotta let us try it.” 

And now their wait begins.  Which makes the wait for me, all the more harder.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

D Blog Week, Day 6: A poem

Today: This year Diabetes Art moves up from the Wildcard choices as we all channel our creativity with art in the broadest sense. Do some “traditional” art like drawing, painting, collage or any other craft you enjoy.

To my boys:

Diabetes is a part of you
In soft slumber takes a piecing
Of your life, and of your thoughts
The numbers never ceasing.

And although I am not diagnosed
Nor live with shots and pricks
I’m knee deep in your reality
My soul endures the nicks.

My heart aches with every number
My brain speeds with every treat
I walk and breathe and think your world
The love cannot deplete.

I’m happy to take on the task
Your parent I’ll forever be
But one day you will leave my nest
My midnight checks will flee.

So let me take the worry now
Dear boy I’m happy to
I’ll give it to you all one day
Though my heart will be ever true.

I’ll always fret about you
I’ll always have you check in
You won’t have to fight the war alone
Each battle we will win.

My body’s not immersed in this disease
I’m on the other side
But every bit of my being
Tries to find a way inside.

My boys, you are my heroes
I am your biggest fan
Through all that life throws our way
Just keep in mind, “You can!”