Mushy Stuff: Diabetes Edition.
I love Chris.
Not that I need to tell you guys - I think it's pretty obvious - but sometimes I lose sight of how much I appreciate him. I don't tell him how much he means to me as often as I should. He is a wonderful partner. There's all the regular relationship stuff- he pumps the gas for my car so I don't have to stand in the cold, he takes out the garbage, he laughs at my stupid jokes, he reads my written messes and helps me make sense of them - but our relationship has an extra, special component that others don't.
He is the significant other of a person with diabetes.
I don't know what it's like to fill that role. I am the diabetic, so I only know things from my perspective. But he makes it look so easy. A 3 am low blood sugar that has me in tears? He knows how to quickly give me juice and wipe the sweat from my forehead. Weeks of working out with no visible results? He knows what words will soothe me: "You are healing from the inside out." Those moments when I feel like I'm crumbling emotionally? His hugs seem to put my pieces back together again.
And it's not just the serious stuff. We aren't always talking about complications and fears. He makes this diabetes stuff feel so normal. He makes me feel like everyone is wearing multiple devices attached to their body when they climb into bed. Disconnecting a pump before sex? Who doesn't do that? Attaching a new sensor becomes something we do together, with me inserting the needle and Chris wielding the hairdryer like Johan.
Chris celebrates the victories with me. When my wedding dress was perfectly fitted with a pocket to conceal my pump, he knew that was an important moment. When my period fell perfectly into monthly step after going off the pill, we actually high-fived. When the Dexcom shows a nice, nine-hour flatline, we do a dance. And when my A1C dropped a full point, he knew it was a step towards success.
Even though his pancreas works properly, he lives with diabetes, too. Just as every loving caregiver of a PWD lives with diabetes. They don't feel the highs and lows as acutely as we do, but they have their own individual variations on these moments that are just as poignant and just as evocative. Chris understands what this disease means and how it can unfold, but he's as committed to my health and to my life as I am.
Some would say that he loves me, and my diabetes.
But I can say that he just loves me. It's not about diabetes. It's not like "Kerri" and "diabetes" have to be separate entities, just like "writer" and "uncoordinated" and "messy-hairdo in the morning" and "hot-tempered" remain parts of my whole. I'm one big mess, and he loves me just as I am.
This Saturday will be my first Valentine's Day as his wife.
"What I really want is to celebrate a 50th anniversary with you, Chris," I said to him over the weekend. "Do you think we'll do that?"
He knows what I mean. Not "Will we be together," but "Will I be okay?"
"Of course we will." He knows this. It's a certainty. "You'll be 79. I'll be 81. And Siah will be 53."
He's a ridiculous man and I'm lucky to have him.
(And I'll always, always write his name in the peanut butter.)