The girls have moved into the summer season of competitive golf. This means that we have been traveling to various tournament locations around our state and watching as they complete a round of golf; typically lasting upwards of 5-6 hours.
It's been exciting, challenging and inspiring. Last week, both girls won their age brackets and collected first place trophies. Nothing short of awesome as this win was scored through 90+ degree temperatures as they walked and pushed their own clubs around 18-holes. While they were completely exhausted after the match, the very first words spoken came out as, "When do I get to play again?"
They love this sport.
However, golf has also been interesting. There have been many blood sugar checks during their long rounds. Conquering this need to remain vigilant over T1D is sometimes a struggle. No one wants to stop what they are doing, especially at intense times during the match. As a result, both girls have had "I learned my lesson' rounds wherein T1D was not a priority and lows (or highs) surfaced too many times to count. On those rounds, the scores were not their best and both girls knew that T1D interfered, even though it could have been entirely prevented.
Through our learning, we also teach others.
Initially, we declared to the course judge that both girls had been dx with T1D. Mostly, this is a discreet process as the only real reason to declare the information is to ensure that the medical equipment used does not become mistaken for GPS or distance measuring software. While we are all entirely too familiar with the assortment of blood sugar meters, CGMs and insulin pumps, many are not. If there was an issue, having T1D on file can instantly solve any concerns.
As sisters, the girls have formed a unique bond in having a love for the same sport. Yesterday, both girls had the luck of the draw to be placed into the same foursome for competition. In golf, this is a rare treat for parents too. Most often, they tee off hours apart and as such, a 5 hour competition can run closer to 8 hours by the time both girls are done with the course.
Before the match started, I noticed my oldest daughter casually checking her CGM, frowning and then with her typical, ninja-like skills, re-checking using her blood sugar meter. A nervous dad waiting for his daughter to tee off, stood near me and stared as well. I smiled, catching his eye and quietly explained that my daughter had type 1 diabetes. His blank look gave no indication of understanding, so I further added, "Juvenile Diabetes" and then received a head nod. I didn't clarify further as my statement was mostly spoken to help identify the equipment that she used.
Not more than two holes later, as parents gathered a little further down the course due to the rule of spectators, our youngest paused to check her blood sugar. There was interfering with the game or her fellow competitors, but it was noticeable in the sense that she walked back to her bag, pulling out her meter, poking a finger and reviewing the results. The dad glanced back over at me with a puzzled expression and I nodded, with a friendly smile and sharing the answer to his unspoken question, "Yes, she has it too."
The IT factor.
Saying 'she has 'it' too' is not a new phrase for our family. However at that exact moment of watching both of my girls as they navigated the difficult course, connecting with both the thrill of competing and the satisfaction of playing to their best of ability, without interference from T1D, I realized that they did indeed have 'it'.
I have never defined the girls by their T1D, nor have they felt that a label needed to be added to their identity. The reality is that both girls are so much more than a disease. This mindset that 'it' is an intangible, amazing combination of the desire to accomplish, to learn, to succeed, to fail and to try again, is what makes them special. ‘It’ is the invisible stuff that brings out the best of kindness, generosity, strength and perseverance. The 'it' is in both of my girls and because of that unseen bundle of qualities, both girls will continue to amaze the world with all of the things that they can achieve without limitations; especially without being limited by a strangers’ perceptions of T1D.
Yes, they both have 'it'.
The rest of the match went on without a hitch. Oldest daughter completed one her best rounds and youngest daughter finished with a great score within her age group. Even though the talk buzzed of golf, nothing to do with how they played or what they scored came into my mind.
Smiling proudly, as we walked off the course at the end of the day, I couldn't help but to think about how lucky the world is to know our daughters that have 'it'.