Today's post is brought to you by Penny, from a Sweet Grace Blog. Penny and I started communicating when she began commenting on the blog. Then one day, I received a beautiful and heart-felt email from her requesting my address. A few days later, I received a lovely card and picture of her daughter Grace (and yes, both parent guest bloggers have a daughters named Grace - It's kismet!) The card was both a "Thank-you for writing" and a "Diaversary" card celebrating Grace's first "Diaversary." It's one of the best gifts I've ever received.
Penny's voice as a blogger is strong one. If you haven't read her blog, "A Sweet Grace," you need to!
Thanks for guest blogging for me today Penny - I appreciate it so much!
The Gift of G(g)race
Penny & her gift of Grace~
Change always comes bearing gifts. ~Price Pritchett
I remember watching her be born. I asked that the drapes be lowered during this final c-section so that I could see my third child come into the world. She was pink, big, messy, howled like a banshee and she was all ours. We named her Grace. I didn’t know then, but I think I do now, how very fitting that name would come to be.
Grace was diagnosed Type 1 in January 2009 at the age of 6. The story resembles other stories I am sure you have heard - the thirst, the urinating, the hunger. Yes, the same, same, same. Five days in the hospital and I left knowing more than I ever wanted to about diabetes. Can I tell you that I was scared out of my life? I was. Much the same as when a new parent leaves the hospital thinking ‘They let me leave here with her! I don’t know what to do!!!’ - I thought the same thing as I left with Grace that January day.
What I didn’t know, and what most parents don’t know when they leave the hospital with that tiny bundle, is how much a parent learns and grows, and how much parenting itself changes their very soul. It is the same. I left the hospital after the diagnosis and the changes began. I became a parent for the second time to Grace, in a much more profound way.
Caring for a child with diabetes becomes what I do with most of my day now and part of who I am. It defines us D Moms and Dads in ways we cannot even fathom. I belong to a tightknit bunch of D-Ms and D-Ds and in them I have found my soul. With them, there is acceptance and understanding that surpasses all measure. I get the dark jokes we tell each other. I know the fear, all too well. I know the 3:00 am thoughts. I cheer on the perfect numbers. I puzzle over the unexplained. I commiserate with Moms who feels their children’s highs, and worry about the lows. I question. I answer. I cry and I rejoice. I also transcend to a higher level. I learn grace. I learn about accepting both the darkness and the light.
I learned that the D will do what it wants sometimes, no matter how hard I try to control it. That it sometimes does what it wants, as I am an imperfect pancreas for a perfect child. I learned that my faith, that tells me it will all be well in the end, has gotten me through more days that I can count. I learned that it is her body and her diabetes, and I learned to respect both as hers. I learned that my battles lie in engaging with insurance companies about the care of my child. I learned I am ferocious and I will fight to the end for Grace to have a healthy and well-adjusted life. I learned that her emotional and mental health is just as important as her physical health. I learned how to enjoy every damn minute of this ride, cause I don’t know when it will end.
Grace has learned too. This is her new normal. It is our new normal. She is beyond resilient because of diabetes. She is smart and funny and wise and charming and deadpan serious at times and she most definitely gets the joke, and she did all of that even before she had diabetes. Now she is more. More than herself. More caring. More empathetic, more understanding, more Grace. She has learned that life is not fair, the hard way. I think of adults who do not know that lesson yet. I think it’s a gift that she knows it now, so she can get on with living and not resenting. She has learned that people care for her in deep and wondrous ways. She has learned again and again, how very much she is loved. She has learned that diabetes is not all of who she is. It is one small piece of her larger self. Grace has learned that ‘it is what it is’. Perhaps through diabetes she has learned acceptance and to play the cards she is dealt, rather than wishing for a different hand.
This journey with diabetes has placed a sense of grace at my side, with Grace at my side. It has changed me to my very core. I have found that there are gifts in this diabetes, for her and for me.