It is National Siblings Day. When I first heard this mentioned many years ago, in the early 2000s, it made me think of my own brothers and sisters. Counting me, we are six in number with JoAnne as the oldest and myself as the youngest and only 7 1/2 years among us all with no twins made us pretty unique.
Years later this phrase of ‘Sibling Day’ had a different meaning when our second child was diagnosed with T1D. Talk about unique. Everyone refers to the new normal when a child is diagnosed, but when 2 out of your 3 children are diagnosed, ‘normal’ takes on a whole new meaning. Areas once reserved for some diabetes supplies are given entire shelves. Some supplies that took up shelf space now own half a closet.
I really do not know why I associate a day put aside for sibling love; and made it about having more than one child with diabetes, but I did. Anyone else do this? I’m SURE it’s wrong but in my mind I have associated the two for years and I have NEVER been able to shake it.
Having two with T1D makes it exponentially tougher and made me always respected my oldest, the one who was not diagnosed, because no matter how hard we tried; diabetes, at times, took over. Although it surely helped that he was 20 when his brother was diagnosed and to his credit his only concern was his little brother’s welfare. It’s a sibling dynamic like few others I have known over my life.
I was told once that if you, your spouse, or one of your children had T1D that the
risk of another child developing type 1 diabetes becomes 10 to 20 times the risk of the general population, but still very rare.
Sure, this is the lottery we win.
What did not change, and what cannot change when things like this occurs, was/is our attitude toward this disease. Look…..no other way to put it; it just all sucks and for all the reasons we all know and in our case—-times two…….and in some families; times three and one family I know it became times six……Imagine having 6 kids with T1D?
No matter the circumstances it was about staying positive and moving forward. It was about ‘doing’, together as a family. The dynamic among siblings is an interesting phenomena to observe. I’m pretty sure many siblings have used the phrase, “we are a dysfunctional family, but we ARE; family”. And it’s the ‘family’ structure all siblings need to hold on to. It’s the best of times to remember and also the strength needed in a storm. At some point the parents will be gone and all that will be left to carry on the traditions, the family values, and even the family name will be siblings.
My kids probably talk to each other more than most, and that always makes me happy especially because I know cases where some do not talk at all. I still wish that National Siblings Day meant to me, what it DOES MEAN and is supposed to mean to everyone else. Desmond Tutu once wrote, “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”
Amen! They are…..realize it…..Happy National Siblings Day.
I am a diabetes dad.
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