Friday, May 13, 2011
Wild Card! What's your super-power?
My blog week posting was hijacked. Blogger didn't want to let me back in. Totally not cool! I was all set to sit down and talk about all the things I hate about diabetes. And then Blogger wouldn't let me. And to tell you the truth, tonight, I'm just not in the mood to be negative. I have something else I want to share tonight....
With Minnesota's weather being what it is, my family ends up spending a lot of time indoors. One of our retreats when we're feeling cooped up and need out has been the play areas that most of the shopping malls have here. I had the pleasure the other day of observing a mother and her 3-year-old daughter at one of these play areas the other day. Her little girl was laughing and smiling and happy and giggly. She was running around with this incredible smile pasted on her face, blonde curly pigtails bouncing along as she ran, beautiful bright blue eyes shining. This little girl was AMAZING! I think her smile was bright enough to light up the room. She was gorgeous and happy and such a joy to watch. And you could tell, just by seeing her mom's responses to her, just how treasured this child was to her mother. This beautiful, amazing, wonderfully happy little girl, it just so happens, was born with Downs Syndrome. Oh, what an amazingly precious, beautiful child she is! Not "in spite of", but more "because of".
A few months back, there was some talk in the DOC about how many of us PWDs let our A1Cs dictate our self-worth. If we have a good A1C, we value ourselves more. I'm doing the "walk of shame" right now...my A1C is currently at 8.5. It's taking a little bit of a hit from all the exercise and adjustments I'm trying to make with all of it. I'm trying to not let it influence how I feel about myself though. In fact, my A1C has dropped down on the list of things that I allow to influence my self-worth. Right now, my activity level is near the top. My behavior towards my children, the care I take of my family and my value to them are far more important than anything else. My A1C? Not nearly as important anymore. But....when all this talk was going on, it occurred to me that I do not want Lily to pick up on the idea that her value to me or to herself is based on her A1C. Or even the fact that she's diabetic. Her value to me is phenomenally and it has nothing to do with diabetes. If anything, her having diabetes enhances her value to me because I know what I could lose at any given point if her insulin levels are too high.
So how do these two things connect? The little girl with Downs Syndrome and my little girl with diabetes? It's all about value. Many people would look at that little girl with DS and think about how tragic it was that she was born with DS. Those same people would look at my little girl and think about how tragic it is that she has diabetes. The little girl's mother looks at her daughter and sees her only as a blessing. There is no tragedy there. The fact that her little girl has DS doesn't make her any less valuable. She looks at her daughter and she thinks about all she can learn from her. There's this beautiful thing about people with DS. If you've ever had the pleasure of spending any amount of time with a person with DS, you quickly become aware of the pure, unfiltered emotion that comes from them. I'm not trying to make a "blanket statement" here; there are always exceptions. But many of these amazing people show emotion in such an outright, vulnerable, and beautiful way and they're so amazing to see. This little girl's mom quickly learned the value of that feature, the beauty of that ability. It's the same with our CWD. They may not have that pure, unfiltered emotional response to life, but they have other features. They endure in the most difficult of situations. They fight when they need to. They know when to let things go. They're tougher than tough and sweeter than sweet. Diabetes may not be a beautiful thing, but the abilities and features it brings out in our CWD. Our children learn things about life and about struggle that other children don't learn. Part of the problem with being a mom to a CWD (or any child with an illness) is that we want to protect our children and we become frustrated with feeling helpless. We drown in that feeling and we lose track of the beauty that is life with an illness. Here's my take on all of that....God has very special things in mind for our children and diabetes is going to be part of what shapes them and prepares them for those amazing lives He has planned for them. Our kids will touch people in ways that normal people cannot. They will lead lives that are amazing in ways that we cannot begin to imagine now. Living with that knowledge in mind makes it easier to not let the harshness of this life, the struggle that is life with diabetes, get you down. You keep on going and your children learn by your example that we do what we need to do and keep on going. They are amazing, wonderful, incredible children. And they are so phenomenally beautiful!
One last thing before I head to bed, just because I'm dying to share this. I'm super-proud of it. Lily's birthday was Wednesday. My baby girl is four years old now! Yikes! Her birthday party is tomorrow and she picked out a cute little tutu to wear for her party. Since weather in Minnesota is a bit unpredictable, I decided to make her this to go along with her cute little tutu:
She hasn't seen it with all the flowers attached yet and I can't wait to show it to her in the morning! I'll have to post some pictures of her in it after the party tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm sending up a prayer that all the parents of CWDs have a great night of sleep tonight and a fantastic weekend ahead!