Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Gift (Should I Thank Diabetes?)

As a mother of two children with type 1 diabetes, I am no stranger to surprises.  We shift gears on a moments notice quite easily at this point - which really does scream against my natural tendency to plan.  The unexpected IS expected.  At least that is what I plan for.

So it is not a shocker when a very special moment occurred in a very ordinary moment.  What is a surprise, is that in a way, I really feel like ought to be thanking the Diabetes Monster.

While sitting in the waiting area of my oldest daughter's school lobby, I noticed a beautiful woman, presumably another mother, sitting across from me and looking in my direction.  I didn't recognize her and assumed that she was one of the many parents that I hadn't met.  Our school is quite large, so not knowing everyone (unlike the elementary school) comes with the territory.

The bell rang and I got up to go find my oldest daughter as she continues to need assistance with packing and carrying her things due to that pesky broken hand. 

After an hour, my oldest daughter and I drove over to the elementary school, where we actually do know everyone, to pick up my youngest daughter.

The same woman that I had earlier noticed in the lobby was also at the same school and staring at me while I wrote on my child's sign out sheet. 

Which now makes me giggle, but I was seriously wondering if I had something embarrassing attached to me.  Any kick me signs?  No.  Toilet paper on my shoe?  No.  Lipstick smear?  No. 

Well, what then????

Just as I am about to leave and walk back to my car, the woman quickly approached and asked me if I had a daughter in the school.  I said that I did and that I also had another daughter in the middle school. 

She started to smile broadly and said, "Wait, is your oldest daughter is Mrs. L's class?"

I said yes and asked if she had a child in the same class.

Quite excitedly she said, "Yes!  My oldest daughter is the same class.  We just moved here from another state and my oldest started school a week ago."

Then she said, "My daughter said that your oldest daughter has juvenile diabetes.  Is that right?"

At this moment, I feel my smile stiffen a bit and I am prepared for a miscommunication and a story about type 2 diabetes or a story about a cousin's neighbor's brother or heck, even a cat.

But then she said, "I have it too.  Since I was 7."

When I told her that I actually had two children with type 1 diabetes, her smile lit completely up and she got right down at their level and pulled out her own silver insulin pump.

My girls both did the same and for about 60 seconds, three insulin pumps hung out together, like a completely typical moment in the school pick-up lounge.

Except it isn't typical.  It is wonderfully surprising.

Here is the thing.  It is hard to feel completely happy to have someone in your club (because who wants anyone else to have type 1 diabetes) but really, the truth is that I WAS excited and so was she!  Another friend for my daughter and another friend for me.  I am sure that she felt the same way.  These are our kind of people.  The people that get us and the people that we get too.

Since that meeting, our girls have had a few play dates.  The mom and I have also met for lunch - and even had another lovely mom of children with diabetes join us.

I love that my daughters have another friend who understands the need to test bg before eating and waits patiently while they do so.  I also love that I have an adult friend who can tell me stories about life on her own.  And I am more than happy to share that she is truly living a full, well-traveled and complete life as a wife and mother of three healthy and happy children.

Which is really one of the best gifts that I could hope to hear.

And for that, thank you diabetes monster.



Sheila said...

I have thought this many times. I think of the wonderful people that I have met due to diabetes and think to myself "Think of what I would be missing in our lives by not meeting these wonderful people".

Naturally Sweet Sisters said...

It is true... in many ways, our life is richer and fuller than ever before. Thank you for being in our life, dear friend!