Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What Does It Feel Like to Have A Child with T1D Away From Home?

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I remember when our youngest was newly diagnosed.  At the time, since she was only three years-old, we weren't missing an abundance of sleepovers.  In many ways, having no pressure to sleep over at a friend's house was a nice respite of one.more.worry of living with T1D.  We just didn't think about it at all and enjoyed the comfort of middle of the night checks through a short walk down our bedroom hallway. 

As the years ticked by, sleeping away from home was still less of a big deal.  Through the friends that she made, many opted for play-dates only, in lieu of long sleepovers.  Even as our older daughter was diagnosed, sleeping overnight still seemed less important than getting together for fun day-dates.  Perhaps it was a sign of the times as social networking (yes, the girls had phones - yep, no regrets!) was easier to stay at home but still communicate with friends.

Then, one day, fifth grade camp was upon us.  By then, we had stumbled through several uncoordinated, messy sleepovers and realized that the reason of not having them, was less about T1D and more about the cranky, irritable little girls that needed recovery sleep after.  Taking a plunge, I agreed to chaperone both sessions of the camp and rise above the fray of not just one or two tired girls, but an entire cabin of overly exhausted pre-teens. 

Simultaneously, through the years, our girls grew to handle more and more care.  They also fell in love with their T1D Camp Midicha and while it was a struggle to let go for an entire week, I also found it amazing that an entire volunteer platoon came forth to lead not only wee little ones but the older teens. 

Which has brought us to this point... a quiet house.  Both girls are happily ensconced at camp for the 9th year. 

And it feels.. right.  We now have an almost 17 year-old and 15 year-old.  In reflection, I am grateful that we didn't force or push separation any sooner.  The girls are both well-adjusted, able to care for themselves independently and have grown into their own pathways towards young adulthood.  Letting childhood happen organically, with or without T1D, during ages and stages, has made for a smooth growing cycle. I worry less because, I too, have been given time to teach myself how to navigate their childhood.  There has been no hurry, no rush and no keeping up with the Jones'.  Instead, the girls have led the way and together, we have allowed them freedoms at the right times.

The house is quiet.  The children are away from home.  And as a mom, it is OK.

Yes, I miss them tremendously, but I know that the foundation has been laid for a successful transition to college and beyond. 

This is what we hoped to accomplish all the way back in 2006. 

I am sure I will cry next spring when that graduation cap is on her curly head.  And again, in two more short, fleeting years for our youngest.  However, those tears will also be mixed with pride at the accomplishment that we made together in creating a family unit that allowed our girls to pursue their passions, dreams, hopes, accomplishments and independence, all while living with T1D. 

That's what I hope we all feel when we find ourselves faced with a quiet house. 

Well done, parents and kids! 

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