Dear Mom and Dad -
I don't think I ever said it before, but THANK- YOU so much for taking care of me; Debbie, and Donna.
God give you 6 kids and 3 girls with Type 1 Diabetes
I don't know how you did it.
How did you take care of us all those years ago, before the technology and research?
Before the open forum of communication on the net and the freedom of carb counting and insulin pumps?
Back in the days when urine testing required fizzy pills and glass tubes, a clumsy and and inaccurate way that was used to measure our sugars way back when...Until Blood Sugar machines the size & weight of a brick came about.
These antiquated "machines" took 5 minutes to calibrate and another 5 minutes to measure our glucose. They were far from portable, required metal lancets that hurt like a bitch, and God only knows how accurate they really were. They were also VERY expensive. You bought one with money that we didn't have so that we could gain control. Instead of thanking you, I bitched about it.
I wanted to be NORMAL & fought you tooth and nail. I'm so sorry.
I don't ever remember you crying when I was diagnosed. I know you did, but you kept your tears behind closed doors and in the dark. You always entered my hospital room with a smiling face and a bunch of new "Romona" books for me to read.
I just did the Diabetes math. I was 8 at my diagnoses, Donna & Debbie we're both 12.
Donna is 20 years older than me and Debbie was 14 years older.
So, if I've got the math down correctly, 1st came Donna at the age of 12. When she was 18, Debbie was diagnosed at the age of 12.
Which means you had 6 years before 1 Diabetic daughter became 2.
You had 10 years before 2 Diabetic daughters became 3.
Donna had married and moved out four years earlier by the time of my diagnoses.
Your daily diabetes family life was just getting easier when I joined the Club of D.
It must have been so hard for you to handle...And even harder for you to hear.
Mom and Dad, I'm so sorry that my diagnoses hurt you, and for what all our combined diabetes has put you both through.
You never let us feel sorry for ourselves. I never grew up with a hatred of diabetes. Though deep in my heart, I hated what it did to you. I think it really helped when dad sat me down long ago in my hospital room and said; "Kelly it is what it is, do what you have to." And I did... for the most part.
Daddy knew from experience, because he was a T1 as well.
Mom, you posted the ADA diet on our kitchen wall, right behind my seat at the kitchen table.
You measures portions fanatically, right down to the grape. You'd dole out 12 grapes for my snack.
I'd give them back and say in a venomous "Keep Em! Who can eat 12 grapes?!" But you were just doing your job and never wavered. I never experienced chicken with the skin on it until I was 21, and to this day, I've never had a class of OJ that was more than 1/4 of a cup.
I don't even drink juice anymore.
Dad, you body surfed and swam in the ocean every summer, and you shared your love of all water sports with me. Together we became part of the waves, while maintaining good numbers.
You rode your bike every morning, and when you passed by my bus stop Freshman year, I was embarrassed instead of proud. I'd give anything to see you peddle your bike one more time. I'm sorry.
You and mom took long walks every evening with the dog and you always said exercise was the key.
You were meticulous, bordering on the insane, about what you put in your body.
A militant soldier when it came to food. Only skim milk, fruit, and eating only whole grain bread before it became the rage. While I longed for "Wonder Bread," you put the kibosh white bread of any kind. I thought you were mean, but you were smart because you still let us enjoy ice cream.
Diabetes took so much from you both, most namely your daughter Debbie.
Daddy, you never recovered from her loss. Every time you spoke of her death, I heard sadness and anger all mixed together. It broke a part of you that all my jokes couldn't fix.
Mom, you cared for her (for all of us,) with such gusto that you're heart literally started to skip beats.
The scariest moment of my life was when you and Debbie were both in separate hospitals.
I came home from school to an answering machine full of voice mail that told me nothing and everything.
I knew one of you had gone to heaven and I was so scared it was you. I felt so guilty (yet relieved, because I still had a mom) when I heard it was her.
What got me thinking about what you both did for me?
All the parents of Diabetics kids whose blogs I read. I hear what they go through everyday and I immediately think of you both. They tell me what you wouldn't.
Parents of children with diabetes are a different breed entirely.
They are strong, keeping a smile on their face when they take care of their kids, even when they feel like crying out in pain.
These parents have the strength to say "no" to their kids, even when every fiber of their soul wants to say yes to them.
Strong enough to take their kids blood in the middle of the night, insert infusion sets that make their babies cry, give-up gluten with a smile that never seems forced, and count carbs until it becomes second nature to everyone in the family.
Strong enough to allow their children to participate in their diabetes so they can "own it," own their own.
These moms and dads have the fortitude to let their diabetic children grow to become independent young adults. Even when they know that independence means that their kids will make conscience mistakes in order to fit in.
Diabetic parents hate the disease, but are strong enough to not let their kids hate it, because if they did, their children would never learn to accept and love themselves.
To every parent in D-blog land, THANK-YOU. I know when your kids are old enough, they will tell you themselves, and they will have meant from the bottom of their hearts.
To my parents, THANK YOU. I wouldn't be here today if you hadn't worked so hard to keep me healthy.
You taught me to pick myself up by my bootstraps and move forward. I hope I'm making you proud.
Love You Both!