If I were a parent, this would be my worst nightmare: “Your child has diabetes.”
The scenarios would roam about unsupervised in my mind. Will she be taunted at school? Will she have a bad low blood sugar reaction in her sleep? Will she hate herself for being sick? Will she go blind? Will she have kidney complications? Will she have a normal childhood? Will she still love herself, despite this chronic illness?
Parents never want anything to happen to their child. You do your best to protect them. And keep them safe from what might hurt them. The very notion of an illness that could destroy them must keep you up all night sometimes, your hearts aching with the acceptance of your child’s mortality.
And while you are worrying about the quality of your child’s life, know this:
They will be okay.
While you worry about how diabetes will affect our lives, we will be living them. We live with this. Through this. We do this every day. This is our disease. But this is also Our Lives. So while we test our blood sugar and take our insulin, we won’t be missing out on a thing. Do not worry. Your child will make you crazy by talking on the phone for hours with kids they just saw at school. You will catch them dancing in their rooms to music you don’t understand. They will drive the car to the store for the first time while you wait at the window, wringing your hands. They will go to school dances with their friends and come home with stories that make no mention of finger pricks or infusion sites. They will cry when they are sad. Or they will light up the room with their smile when they are happy. They will fall in love. They won’t miss a thing. They will persevere.
They will be okay.
So when you look at them as they sleep, wondering what their level might be or if they ate enough of a bedtime snack, know that they sleep peacefully. You do the worrying. You will so carefully integrate diabetes into their lives that they will barely notice the seams. Your love and perseverance will teach them to succeed at both life anddiabetes.
But they won’t notice the separation.
To them, it will just be Life.