I read the post Despising the Big D, written by Steve Woodruff of Impactiviti Blog. The gist of his post is that, from an outsider’s view, diabetes sucks. I began leaving a rather long comment and realized that what I had to say was better posted right here as a jumping off point for some things I have been thinking about.
I am the parent of a six-year-old with diabetes and the way I always think of it in regards to children is “innocence lost.” It’s not fair for a child to have to be anything but a carefree child.
But I see these young children taking it all in stride and adapting, perhaps more easily than many adults would, to the new routines and demands.
And maybe because T1 diabetes seems so prevalent these days, other children are accepting and caring for their friends with diabetes.
One child in my daughter’s class went door to door to raise over $250 for my daughter’s Kiss-a-Pig campaign. Another child approached me in the hall before lunchtime book club and showed concern that my daughter not be excluded from the cookie AND cupcake that day. Another girl, upon hearing the museum rules of “no food and no drink” on a fieldtrip turned to me and said that Q NEEDS to be able to bring those in with her.
Maybe the child who raised so much money will become a fundraiser for a large non-profit. Q gave a presentation about her Kiss-a-Pig campaign to her class and they out fundraised the rest of the school raising over 90% of the total. Because they know her and see her each day checking her blood sugar, having snack earlier than everyone else, getting insulin at lunch, are they more vested in her care and her campaign than other students?
The child who asked me twice “are you sure” that Q could have a cookie at bookclub and a cupcake to celebrate a child’s birthday, is usually the kid who is in trouble. Perhaps he’s learning to be a good friend.
I wrote to the teachers “I am sure this child is frequently chided for his behavior, but he showed compassion for another today so I’d like to nominate him for ‘star of the day.'”
The teacher said that she was going to tell his mom the story at teacher’s conferences the next day.
The child who wanted to make sure that Q could bring her juice boxes and Smarties into the museum had sat next to me on the bus. She was nervous about her first bus trip and I said I would be her partner. I had Q’s pump bag on the seat between us and she asked with curiosity if I could show her what’s inside. As I described each item she asked question after question and got quite the diabetes education.
Perhaps she’ll go on to become an endocrinologist or CDE or nurse.
So while diabetes has definitely changed who my daughter is, and in many ways making her an even more caring and compassionate person and has given her empathy towards others, I think the same is happening for the children around her. And THAT is an amazing and powerful thing.