Kaitlyn’s Bridal Shower was this weekend and those two smiling faces would make any man’s heart overflow. Over the next few weeks leading up to the wedding, I have a few things I would like to say and I hope you will indulge me a little, and more than that; I hope I leave you with a few things as well.
Jill was never ‘a friend’ to our kids…….although sometimes she would seem like that, and other times she would not seem like that. What she was, and is, is the most incredible ‘mom’ they could ever have. In Kaitlyn’s upbringing, Jill set the bar on what we would attempt to do as a family in this world of diabetes. Her fierce appetite for knowledge is the single reason Kaitlyn and Rob are doing as well as two parents could ever hope (although we always hope they can do better, wink-wink-parents–right?).
And outside of Diabetes, TJ, Kaitlyn, and Rob had the compass of life that Jill lived by; and they are lucky indeed.
When it came to diabetes, I may have been the one ‘out there’ (and she was when needed) but it was Jill’s resilience in not only understanding this disease, but making it understandable for one child starting at age 2 who had it, and one at age 5 who did not, and then a little later a thirteen year old diagnosed because that’s how life goes some times.
The dynamics of three children and a husband and wife as a family….well will stay with us because everyone has life and it impacts so many in so many different ways and what is important to know is……………………….here we are.
What is important to know is that we did not just get from there to here on a wing and a prayer; although prayer was surely a big part. We prayed for the ability to learn and the direction to go so our children would not die (there I said it). Quite frankly, there’s no way to soften that thought–it was our fear and probably always will be. Probably yours too. But that fear…….feel it. Really feel it because it is THAT fear that is your first lesson in diabetes. The lesson—-own it; because it will do everything to own you.
But we learned to harness that fear with the reigns of education so we could ride this out with us in as much control as possible. We learned that we had to do EVERYTHING we could because the biggest mistake in diabetes is thinking that you are done learning….and as parents, we never are done. Many times I mentioned how with a 5-year-old and a two-year old, the house was always clean, the kids were always well taken care of, and yet, by time I came home, Jill was asleep with diabetes articles, and magazines, all around her on the bed. She did not just want to know diabetes; SHE HAD TO UNDERSTAND IT COMPLETELY—-it’s the only way to beat your enemy.
We would fail a thousand times and yet;………….try to do it better the next day.
By her desk I would see notes from the newly diagnosed family she found the time to speak to, or write the letters for fund-raising, in addition to everything else she did. And of course, I would move the magazines and see the mascara stained pillows of tears from a mother who only wanted her baby to not be ruled by diabetes. Oh on many-a-night I saw those tears on a pillow.
Our daughter is just a month away from marrying the Prince Charming she dreamed about since she was a little girl. And truth be known, he’s a pretty special man. Take a look at the picture again. I can tell you that the bond of THAT woman and THAT Bride-to-be is absolutely unbreakable. She guided her, and absolutely LOVED her into the mold of the woman and bride she has become.
So many moms wonder what ‘if’; when their child is diagnosed………..look at the picture above moms, the answer is yes.
No, we did not ‘just get here’, we got here through a lot of love and a lot of prayer. And she grew from age 2 to today overnight—-just 27 years in the making. May you find your way as well, and may God Bless you on that journey.
I am a diabetes dad.
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