I saw a mother and her eight year old daughter at the train station this morning. It was kind of chilly out, so most of the conversations on the platform were visible, with little puffs of cold above the speaker's mouths. The mom leaned over to her child and touches her finger tip to what looked like a cell phone. The child drew back her hand and stuck her finger in her mouth. The mom looked at the machine, furrowed her eyebrow, and said something to her daughter. Her daughter reached into her coat, pulled out another machine, then tucked it back into her jacket.
Untrained eyes wouldn't see this action as anything of note. Commuters weren't staring. Everyone was going about their business - a regular Wednesday morning. But I saw this mother's daily business - keeping her child alive. I'm watching this from the sidewalk, not able to hear what's being said. I can only imagine the words, but they sound so familiar.
I read a lot of diabetes blogs (I know - me?!) and some of the blogs written by my fellow diabetics really touch my heart. Even though we're all working at different jobs, driving different cars, maintaining different values, and living in different families and skins, every last one of us is dealing with the same vulnerability. We're all trying to pinch hit for our pancreases, and it can be a tough road at times.
Reading the blogs from the parents of children with diabetes ... they touch my heart, too. But some times they break it.
I forget that while I'm testing my blood sugar, wearing the pump, and doing my diabetes thing every day, my mother and father are still worrying. My parents had to step in when I was diagnosed because I was a little kid who has more interest in climbing trees than climbing blood sugars. And I can't imagine what it's like to have a child with diabetes - I've only been a child with diabetes, and now an adult with diabetes. Sometimes it hurts a bit to prick my finger or do an injection, but I can control and manage that pain. I can't imagine what it must have been like for my mom to have me crying and hiding behind the dining room curtains while she drew up my shot when I was a kid. It wasn't like that all the time, but I'd imagine that once was enough to leave a mark on my mother.
This mother this morning reminded me of my own mom. Made me think about the other parents of kids with diabetes, and what they do every day to keep us safe, healthy, and able to be kids. Just regular kids, even if we have to take a break from playing every now and again to test or shoot or eat. Some of the blogger moms and dads write about their child's diabetes, and I have to really concentrate to find the bits of diabetes memories from my childhood. And I prefer it that way - my childhood wasn't "childhood with diabetes" but instead just "childhood." Our parents, they protect us and keep us safe from feeling scared and unsure. They absorb those feelings for us and try to make our lives as normal as possible. And I am so thankful for everything my parents did for me.
The train rumbled to a stop and the mother and daughter climbed on board. And I went into my office and called my mom.