"How old is your daughter?"
"She's two and a half."
"Oh, that's a fun age. Does she have diabetes?"
"Will she get it, too?"
And this is where I end up tangled in my words and in my emotions. Sometimes I rattle off statistics ("The chances of my daughter developing type 1 are only slightly higher than a non-diabetic mom, while if it were my husband who had diabetes, her chances would be more elevated,"), and sometimes I respond, "No," and roll their question around in my head for a while.
Please don't ask me this question. It hurts more than all the others. I can answer, "Can you eat that?" and "Do you have the 'bad diabetes?'" until my voice is hoarse from answering because it's about me, and I can handle me. But when it comes to my Bird, I don't want to discuss her health. I don't want to talk about anything that could hurt her. My head isn't in the sand, but I thought my heart was walled up tight, to the point where I didn't have a visceral reaction to something as simple as a question.
(It's not walled up at all, though.)
I know why they ask. I have that Thought, too. When people ask this question, my knees go weak while my back muscles tense up, bringing my shoulders back and squared off. "The chances of my daughter getting diabetes are only slightly increased over the chances of anyone else's kid."
What I want to say is, "I love that child with everything I have and even though I know she's okay and even if she ends up with diabetes, she'll still be okay, I don't want to think about her living with a disease. Any disease."
(And then, in this fantasy that takes place only in my head, I whisper "And your question sucks," psychotic crazytown, like Daniel Day-Lewis' character in Gangs of New York, and I punch them in the face so hard that the BAM! word cloud pops up, all old-school Batman.)
It's Diabetes Awareness Month, and I want people to be aware that I'm already aware of the fact that being a parent means I worry about things I didn't even know existed as potential panic points until two and a half years ago. And I want them to be aware that my child, despite being the daughter of a person with a chronic illness, is still my daughter, and it's hard to think about any potential hardship in her life. We don't want to focus and worry about things that could happen. Ask me her favorite color. Or ask about her favorite Thomas the Tank Engine train. Ask me what ice cream flavor makes her giggle. Ask me what songs make her dance like a lunatic. Don't ask me about her health. Don't make her feel like she's a ticking time bomb.
We just want to enjoy one another.
Just let me enjoy her.