Life After Diabetes Moved Out

when your child with diabetes leaves home

No more school to wake up for. There are no teen boy grumblings. My nest has been empty for over a month now and it is taking a bit to get used to life since my child with diabetes has moved out.

My son has been quite good at making sure he uploads his pump for me to look at his readings. He appears to be checking his blood glucose more than once a day so I try to offer little criticism and simply make gentle suggestions where needed.

Managing Diabetes Full-time is no longer my job

Life is a little different when your child with diabetes leaves home. Moving diabetes to the back of my mind after all of these years is a challenge.  I still wake up a lot during the night. I still worry but that is what Moms do. I worry about both of my children. Diabetes just gives me one more thing to be concerned about.

I really don’t miss living with type 1 diabetes. I don’t miss having to get up in the middle of the night. I don’t miss wondering why he had a higher or lower reading than expected. I don’t miss time spent at diabetes clinics.  I don’t miss trying to figure out a new insulin pump.

I do however miss my son. Don’t get me wrong, I miss both of my boys but I have had a bit longer to get used to my oldest being away.  My youngest and I have spent a lot of time together over his lifetime.  His best friend is my best friend’s son.  We visited together. We went on trips together and counted carbs together.  He is now enjoying life on his own–doing stuff without Mom always there. I am sure he is loving the freedom! It’s different for me.

I still miss walking into the kitchen and seeing him sitting at the table surrounded by a fridge full of food.  I miss seeing his chin-up bar dangling from a doorway. I miss his dry, quick wit and timing. I miss the chicken fights that we would break into as we met in the hall. 

Keeping open the lines of communication

We text every day.  We talk at least once a week. I make sure that diabetes is the last thing that we discuss. It is rarely ever the very first. I ask about his day, his schoolwork, his friends…then I ask about readings, meters and his pump.

When he tells me “I screwed up.”  I try to remind him that his job as a pancreas is both unnatural and exceptionally difficult.  As long as he knows what he did wrong and he tries to fix it next time, its something to simply learn from and move forward.

I still find diabetes waste

I still find test strips in the most unusual of places.  There was one in my washer even though I have not done any of his laundry in ages.  We have a fridge full of insulin “just in case”.  There is a bottle of test strips that I found hidden in a box and part of an insulin cartridge that still sits in a place of honor in my car.

My new life of a Mom of children who no longer live at home is still very busy. My boys are always in my thoughts and their ability to stand on their own shows that I have taught them independence.  They will be home at Christmas.  I will savor every moment. I will fall back into the testing routine.

Life is changing.  Change is part of life but finding those little feathers (also known as diabetes waste) in hidden places of the house. When your child with diabetes leaves home, you find that these little pests no longer make you grumble at their ability to “jump” out of the trash.  They now make you smile. Now they simply remind me of my son.

Its Little Things

I made my first trip to Costco as an empty nester the other week. It was a bizzare experience when you factor in so many years of living with diabetes and children.

There were the normal things..the boxes of cereal that I don’t need because my boys are not here to eat it.  There was the flavored water that my youngest loved to drink that I don’t have to worry about buying until he comes to visit.  There were also the meats that were packaged into portions for two adults to eat rather than two adults and a ravenous teen or two.

Next came the diabetes things…buying items and not worrying what the carb count was.  Putting items away and not worrying about saving the nutritional information to be referred to later.

I can’t say that it felt good. It felt..well a little empty.  I have been shopping and cooking for a child for the past 20 years. I still chat with them each day.  We still FaceTime or Skype and call but not physically seeing them each day?  Not feeding them each day? Well its strange. I know my wallet will appreciate it but its a lot harder for the heart to get used to.

They will visit and old habits will quickly return. I will, and do stalk up on all of their favorite baked and bought goods for their arrival.  This is just another phase of life. It just takes a bit to get used to as well.

I still wake at night. I almost long to get up and test…almost.  Life changes. Children grow. Normally we have time to prepare.  Sometimes we don’t.  Either way we go on with our new roles and make the very best of them. I continue to be there for both of my children. I continue to teach my youngest son as much as I can about diabetes and provide him with as many supports as I can. Its strange how the little things impact you.data