Diabetes…..Parenting? Is it Water and Oil?

What didParents.

That would be us. 

Do you ever feel like there is ‘parenting’ and with that is also ‘parenting and diabetes’?  No one gave us a manual or a ‘how to’ book, for either.   But it just seems to be that there is a whole chapter (dare I say and entirely different book) when it comes to what we as parents are called upon to do when diabetes becomes the new normal.

I am amazed at the intensely unyielding efforts in which parents try to move mountains, heaven AND earth to help in the diabetes world from their own child to other activities.  They organize events, they advocate, they tend to the daily management plans of their children; they organize school activities INCLUDING management of their children, and keep up this pace without a break. 

What is it that you want your child to absorb from all of your efforts?  What is the one thing that you hope they remember when it’s time for them to go to college and/or enter the adult world?

What have you done that you hope they don’t remember?

To our friends who are now adults with T1, what do you remember about the dynamic between you and your parents when it came to diabetes?

Let us know the good, the bad, and the ugly; the good times, the bad times, and the quiet times.   There is much we can learn from the voices of experience.  Please share what you remember?

People do as people learn; the rest of us guess.

I am a diabetes dad.

What a Horrible Parent!!!!!!

i am so badI am such a horrible parent!!!

Ever say that?  How could I have reacted in such a manner?

When Kaitlyn was a little girl, I stated to Jill that I should correct (or lightly discipline) her in front of my son, T.J. so he did not think she was getting all the attention. 

I waited for the right moment forgetting the warning Jill gave me: “Make sure you know her blood sugar number before you do anything.”

Sure, sure; I’m Diabetesdad (I am thinking) I got this no problem.    Kaitlyn was around 3  or 4 and TJ was around 6 or 7.

Bingo.  Opportunity.  I don’t even remember what it was that she did ‘wrong’ but I stated something like “Honey, you should not have done that”,  In a  loud but not screaming voice.  TJ was right there and I thought; “…. this is perfect.”

With that, Kaitlyn looked up at me; her lip started to quiver, tears rolled down her little cherub cheeks.
(Oh my God what have I done?)  The absolute unthinkable happened.
She pee’d all over herself.

The horror on my face could have been read around the world. 

T.J. ran into the kitchen and speaking at the same time as he grabbed napkins.  “It’s okay Kaitlyn honey, I’ll clean you up.”  He started wiping her down as he was telling her it would all be okay. 

I took her to her room and changed her.  I checked her blood sugar and of course she was over 400.

Mortified.  Paralyzed.  What could have possibly had possessed me to be such an incredibly horrid father.    WHAT DID I DO?

I could not shake it for weeks.  It took me a long time to come to the realization that a bad choice or an incorrect choice is part of this entire “new normal’.    If I beat myself up every time I made a wrong choice I would be dead by now from the wounds.  But that does not make it any easier. 

I know that I could say that we need to move-on after these incidents but because I say it; it does not make those feelings just magically disappear.  They exist.

Know this; we all go through these feelings.  They happen.  They happened before.  They will happen again.  Also know that if diabetes was not in your family; this would not be an issue.  So before you beat yourself up too bad, it won’t change anything.  Our ONLY choice is to learn what we can and apply when possible to make sure it doesn;t happen again.

But that doesn’t make it all better does it?

What has happened in your life that you can share?

I am a diabetesdad.


PS–Feel free to hit ‘like’ on my Diabetes Dad Facebook page.


Parents, Diabetes IS Not Yours, Give it Back.

It’s not my disease.

Surely diabetes takes a toll on an entire family but I remember the story that friend shared years ago when our journey was just starting about whose disease it really belonged, and it was an important lesson I never forgot. 

Let’s call her Kathy.  A woman around 38, a beautiful woman inside and out with a husband and a sixteen year-old daughter at the time of this story about 19 years ago

The conversation went something like this:

Kathy: I want to tell you something Tom, and you will get angry but you need to hear it.

Me: Shoot.

Kathy: I have had diabetes for over 30 years and it belongs to me.  It did not belong to my parents.  You, as a parent need to know this point.  The best gift you can ever give Kaitlyn is to give it back to her.

Me: What are you talking about?  It impacts the entire family; it belongs to all of us.

Kathy: No, it doesn’t.

Me: How can you say that….

Kathy: Listen.  It DOES impact all of us but you must give it back.  From the time I was diagnosed my parents did everything for me.  Measured my insulin, gave me my shots, checked my blood sugar.  Everything!  They did everything for me because they felt I should not have to ‘worry’ about it as a child.  I did nothing.

Me: That’s how it should be, you were a child, and it’s our job to….

Kathy: Wait.  When I was 14, my mother and father were killed in an automobile accident.  Just like that they were gone.  In as much as I was so distraught at their death, I became angry as the months went on because I knew NOTHING about my diabetes.  Nothing.  I had it for years and I knew NOTHING.  I became angrier that they didn’t teach me about MY diabetes than their own deaths.  It took years of me speaking to someone to understand that it was their love for me, BUT…….I should have been taught.


Me: Wow Kathy I’m sorry.

Kathy: Learn and teach.  The best gift you can give your child is to give diabetes back to them.  Be there every step of the way but teach Kaitlyn starting now.  You are never too young.  It’s not your disease Tom, it’s Kaitlyn’s, never forget that because at the end of the day SHE has to be the one to manage it.

By time Kaitlyn was five, she was testing her own blood sugar; by six she was injecting herself after we measured.  By 8 she was managing most of it by herself, under very watchful eyes, but herself none-the-less.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not our disease, it’s Kaitlyn’s (and now Rob also).

Thank you ‘Kathy’ wherever you are today.

I’m a Diabetesdad.

Is your Child a Daily dHero?

Our Kids.

Wow the things they do.  The things they put up with every day.  Whether they have diabetes or they do not have diabetes; the fact that diabetes is in our households makes them live each and every day in a way that no one will understand but us; their parents.  The new norm as they say.

One of my Diabetesdad articles I wrote a while back was called “life with an asterisk”.  It is exactly the phrase that our children live with every day.  They are more resilient than we, they are more afraid than we, but still they go on.  And some go on VERY STRONGLY!

So I have decided that my Sunday blogs will be dedicated to highlighting a child up to grade 12 that has diabetes in their household (siblings also; absolutely).  Sunday should be a family day and my Daily dHero will start next week.  I will only mention the first name of the child and the state they live in just to keep it very safe. And I will highlight why they are a Daily dHero.

Our kids are special.  Tell me why your child should be considered by replying to this post; none of the replies will be made public.  Highlight what they do that is special at home, at school, or in their community.  Anything that they do despite/in spite/with their diabetes.   Make sure you include what state you live in, and when diabetes entered your household.  Remember–siblings will be highlighted also. If I chose your child to be highlighted, I will email you for a picture or I will take it from your FB page.

As we say at Children with Diabetes; kids with diabetes are still just kids.  But they are special, so let me know.  I am a Diabetesdad.