Sunday, November 25, 2012

Naturally Sweet Cousins Do Not Have Diabetes


To begin with, our family is tiny.  Just one brother each for my husband and I.  And of our two siblings, only one had children; my brother.  They are a family of four, just like us.  That means that our two daughters have only two cousins.

The cousins do not have type 1 diabetes.  No one else in our family does.

A fact that I am so grateful for.  Nobody should live with type 1 diabetes (and I do not need to list the million reasons why because we all know.)

The four cousins are all close in age and resemble each other in a way that is confusing to wait staff when we eat out.  Four light blondes with a sprinkling of golden-red highlights.  Light eyes and eastern European complexions.  They even smile and laugh alike!

Besides physical appearance, everything else is the same too.  They love the outdoors; swimming, playing fun games, jumping on the trampoline and in general, just having a good time.

It makes my heart soar to see them happily playing together.

But I also see something else when I watch closely.  When our oldest daughter tests her blood sugar, I see her favorite big boy cousin grimace in sadness.  He remembers when she didn't have type 1 diabetes and wasn't tethered to a pump.  I know he wishes dearly that she didn't have to poke herself.  He once told me that he wished for a cure.  "Me too", I said.  "Me too."

My little niece, the baby of the foursome, doesn't understand it either.  She carefully pronounces the word Diabetes and lets it roll off her tongue in a way that shows her concern.  Last night during an impromptu slumber party in youngest daughter's bedroom, I watched her carefully touch the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) sensor that was protruding from youngest daughter's left forearm.  "Why does she have to wear that?" my niece asked with a concerned look on her sweet face.    My reply, "To keep her safe."  With a knowing look far beyond her years, my niece nodded her head in acknowledgement.  She too, wants to keep her cousin as safe as can be.

These young cousins already know the extra amount of work that it takes to remain safe.  They patiently wait for site changes, blood sugar checks, CGM calibrations or even a snack to be eaten before resuming play.  They accept the challenges of type 1 diabetes and still love our two daughters unconditionally without reservation or hesitation. 

They are not only cousins but friends.

And maybe, just maybe, one of them will grow up and figure out a way to make life a little less about type 1 diabetes and a whole lot more of uninterrupted playtime!

Because this is what it is going to take.  Someone with a deep connection to type 1 diabetes who won't stand a moment more to wait for that cure.

Maybe it might even be someone you know!


Scott K. Johnson said...

This is a pretty moving post. Impressive how they can grasp the weight of diabetes, even just a little, at such a young age.

Naturally Sweet Sisters said...

Thanks Scott! I think so too. Sometimes, I find that to be one of the biggest, most impactful moments of having T1D... what it does to shape the eyes of the kids around us. My only hope is that through this, we manage to spark change in the way others view T1D and dare I say, a cure? HOPE!