Moments before, I sneaked into her room, turning on her bedside Tinker Bell lamp. Her beloved “pony,” a well-worn unicorn was tucked beneath her chin and one hand was rested on the bed, palm upright, fingers relaxed as if they were already in position for a blood glucose check.
Immediately after checking her finger, she withdrew her hand, curling it around pony.
She barely stirred. Not even a minute of sleep wasted. Dreamland uninterruptus.
One evening as I snuggled with her in bed before she fell asleep I told her I would check on her in a few hours. Her eyes perked up and she asked, “Really?” I told her that I often check on her in the night but that I’m so quiet and quick that I never wake her.
I described how sometimes her arm is extended as if she knows I’m on my way in. And how sometimes when I take her hand in mine, she quickly tucks it underneath her chin as if in protest. She asked, “Really?”
I pretended to be her, letting her try to get my hand. I quickly pulled it away from her time and again. She giggled at the thought of the midnight scenario, that she could tease me like that even in her sleep.
I feel like the more the burden I can bear, the less she has to. There is time for that. In a couple of years she will be counting carbs and giving herself insulin during school lunch. In just more than a decade she will be living on her own, away at college.
But for now it is my cross to bear. If I can do midnight finger checks and unexpected pump changes at 3:00 am without her knowledge and without her waking, I will. And she doesn’t need to know.
One dawn she came to our bed. When she used our bathroom, still groggy, she suddenly exclaimed, “Mommy, we have an emergency situation here. The straw (cannula) is out.”
What she didn’t know was that I had changed her pod in the night and soaked the adhesive of the old one with baby oil so the adhesive would slip off without pulling or irritating. She didn’t realize she had a new pod on her back.
Katie of Musician Mama recently described how a duck swims: “everything looks smooth above the water, but below the surface the duck’s legs are paddling like crazy.”
And that’s exactly how it is for parents of children with diabetes.
It is amazing what we parents do so that the burden falls on us and not our children. It is amazing the knowledge we gain to literally keep our children alive. There is never a pat on the back for us or an “atta girl” but we do it, day in and day out rarely complaining when we have every right to.
We somehow make it look effortless to outsiders. Other parents see our kids on the playground and just see another kid, perhaps just like theirs. Maybe they glimpse the occasional finger check, juice box, or snack. Maybe they even witness an injection or bolus by pump. But they don’t really see all that goes into the behind-the-scenes.
Because we are sleep deprived, we are stressed, and we are constantly thinking about diabetes.
It is like the man behind the curtain.
Read all of my NaBloPoMo 2010 posts.