My Favourite Blog Post?

 

Today’s Diabetes Blog Week prompt asks for my favourite of those that I have written.  Seriously? That is a challenge!! First, I don’t write thinking,” Wow, I am awesome!”  I used to write thinking that no one would ever read what I had to say.

As I realized that they did, I just wanted to post things so that other parents would know that they were not alone. I tried to find humour in some of those events.

I have written posts that have come from my own struggles and guilt as a parent of a child with diabetes.  The post written after my son told me that he wanted to move back with his father for his final two years of high school was definitely one of the hardest to write. Trying to find a balance of honestly, emotion and not sounding as lost as I felt was a huge challenge. The positive comments made me feel better for sharing.

I have tackled topics that many of us want to ignore like Dead in Bed but lately I have tried to educate through posts like my most recent Dear John and Jane Public and looking at the cost of diabetes care if it were me and not my son with the disease.

What is my absolute favourite? What makes me smile? Any post that shows my son’s great attitude and quirky sense of humour.  There have been many comments over the years that have come out of nowhere. Some of them I have caught and  published like when he told me…”“You know Mom, if I had to explain to someone what it felt like to be high or low all I would have to do is tell them to watch Suzie and Sweedums eat breakfast.  Suzie is what its like to be low and Sweedums is what its like to be high.” Suzie will  demolish a bowl of food before I have put food in Sweedums’ bowl.  Sweedums will eat one piece of food at a time, analyzing it and taking over to a mat to eat every single morsel.

The one post that will make me smile every time is when I described my son’s logic when it came to site changes. He was a day late doing his site change.  I was leaving him to it when he stopped me asking me why I was leaving?  When I told him that he was more than capable of doing a site change he replied…

“Yes, but Mom, you realize that you only have four more years to do site changes for me. I will turn 18 and move on and you will never have this opportunity again.  You should be savouring these times just like you say how important it is to share each birthday with me before I leave home. Actually, think of these site changes as being just like my birthday but every three days.  Treasure them. In fact, we can make it like my birthday if you want. You can even buy me presents for each site change done!”

Ironically, he is right about me missing it that is. I still get to do site changes when he visits. I don’t miss diabetes or harping on him to do a site change but since it is a part of him and I miss him, well I do kind of treasure those times when I did do his changes.

 

The post just once again showed his unique perspective that some days makes me want to bang my head against a wall but most days makes me smile and proudly say “Yes, that is my son!”Celebrate

 

 

A New Chapter

This is a post I have put off writing.  My life has taken a new turn. I have not been sure how much I would share and let alone where to start, where to end and how to collect my thoughts and feelings into something sensible. I still don’t.

At the end of August my world seemed to shatter.  It didn’t of course, it simply changed courses at a time when I was least expecting it. My youngest son broke the news to me that since he was about to turn 16, he felt that he was old enough to choose where to live and he wanted to exercise his right to make that choice. I have been divorced from my children’s father for a number of years and we now live hundreds of miles apart. My son wanted to go home.  He wanted to move nine hours away to live with his father and be near his life-long friends.

To say that I was hurt and upset would be an understatement. I came up with all of the reasons that this was a bad idea. He gave me all of the reasons that it wasn’t.

He said that he only had two more years and he could move out on his own anyway. I countered that these last two years were vital for me to help him, guide him and teach him how to handle his own care. This was to be our transition years. He countered that transitioning for two years while living with his father was an even better way to learn.  He does the bulk of his own care when he is with his father but if he got into trouble, Dad would still be a bit of a safety net. We continued to go back and forth on other issues like school, responsibility and learning to drive.

I told him that I would not allow it. I would not put his health or his education in jeopardy. I was hurt. I was upset. I cried more tears than I had in a long time. I contacted my lawyer. I reached out to friends and family.  I was soon reminded that this was not about me.  No matter how much I felt like a failure, my son was not moving because I was a terrible parent.  He was moving because he wanted the chance to be an adult. Saying no was saying no to my son and no one else. It would put a terrible strain on our relationship and serve no purpose that he would see. They were right so I cried some more and got to work.

I contacted my pump rep and got my son a new, in warranty insulin pump.  I contact our diabetes clinic and asked for his file to be moved back to our old doctor.  I bought school supplies, picked up new shoes and clothes and filled his prescriptions. I stayed up every hour that I could to spend it with him. I teased him a little about the things that he would miss out on  like bonding with our goldfish, fighting the dog for space on his bed, and lighting every candle in the house each evening. I told him that he could change his mind and stay. It wasn’t too late. He would laugh and say no.

His birthday would happen after he moved. We had an early birthday dinner.  We had an early cake. I gave him his presents early.  Inside of his card I gave him a list of things to remember, the first of course being how much I loved him, how proud I was of him, and that no matter what I knew that he was capable of caring for himself. He read my note. He smiled and put it away for later. The next day his father arrived, we loaded his belongings, I held him tight, we both cried (him a little, me a lot) and off he went.

As a stipulation of going, we arranged to discuss his readings every week. He was to upload his pump to the Diasend website and I would go in and see what was happening. This was one of the reasons for switching pumps–I could see boluses and blood tests from nine hours away. He also said that he would gladly Skype at 10pm when he had an assignment due the next day so that he could get my input. I really appreciated that –not, but reminded him that as I did with his brother, I would be in touch with the school and would be apprised of his marks and his progress.

Some people have asked what the big deal was? He was going to leave at one point anyway. I have to learn to let go. The big deal was one week to prepare myself when I thought I had two years…or more if he went on to trade school here. The big deal was he had not shown in the past an ability to take care of himself when away from me. It was as if I carried diabetes in my purse. If I wasn’t with him, he didn’t have diabetes and therefore did not need to test or do any of his care. I was scared of so many unknowns.

As a mother, I want to be there to protect my children–both of them.  I don’t want them hurt. Its my job to protect them. In the case of my youngest, that includes keeping him healthy and alive.  Now that I have had to hand his body over to him sooner, I feel like I have not completely done my job.  As I told him I know that he can do this. He has the knowledge and the ability but the desire is often lacking. Hopefully this experience will change that.  Perhaps now he will have that desire. Thankfully I have wonderful friends who continue to guide me and keep my expectations in check.

They have also helped me to find my way into this new chapter of my life as an empty-nester. Amongst many notes of support, a wise friend wrote…” A spectacularly difficult time for you Barb. But you have done everything you can to set him up for success. Now it’s up to him. Probably the hardest thing for all parents: letting go. Sending much love your way. You going through this will give you the experience to help other parents, whenever the time comes for them.”

So as Sandy wisely told me, I begin this new chapter in my life and in the life of Diabetes Advocacy–sharing with you the joys, fears, and realizations of parenting a young adult with diabetes from afar. It won’t be easy but parenting is never easy. Parenting a toddler, a pre-teen, a teen or a young adult with diabetes is even harder but we make it through with love, support and amazing family and friends.

letting go

 

Who will do the pouring?

It was 6:30am.  I woke up in shock at first that I had slept so long and then calmed myself. I had gone to bed after 1am and my son was still up doing his “thing” for a few more hours.  He tests before he goes to bed so it was probably just the right time to test. And I was right…

I checked, doing my best to stay 3/4 asleep so I could doze instantly when I returned to bed.  He was low.  No such sleeping allowed. I got a glass of juice and told him to drink.  I continued my routine of heading back to my room to wait for 15 minutes.  As I headed back however, I began to think…what will he do when I am not there to wake him and bring him juice? I know that many adults with Type 1 diabetes handle it fine.  They have glucose or juice boxes by their beds. They wake up and deal with it. Its part of their lives…but this is my kid. He is not an adult that I know.  No matter how big he gets he’s my little boy.

I hope that he will wake on his own. I know he has done it (and complained about this new-found ability) when he was away from me. It still makes me worried. My son is very private about his diabetes. He is also very independent.  That is a good thing and a terrible thing for a mom.  I know he has good friends. I know that they would watch for him if he was living with one of them…but what if he wants to live alone? Well, he should have that right! But as his mom, I worry. I know it will sort itself out. I can’t borrow worry. I can’t predict the future.  At night, nightmares rear their heads though.

Its daytime now.  Time to focus on the today…like getting him to take out the garbage and Swifter the floors! He will soon be 16 and there will be enough to worry about with him learning how to drive.  I will save the worry about how he will handle nights alone for a few more years…or another late night/early morning low worrying session!

juice