Make No Mistake Moms and Dads, It’s Your Graduation and/or Awards Day Too!

Congratulations, milestone reached.
I always love this time of year as people post all of the great accomplishments that their child achieved.  Graduating High School, Graduating College, and whatever they call, these days, cap and gowns for kindergarten and/or middle school.  Step up–graduation?…..whatever…..your child is moving on in life.

Wonderful news.

Silently, I have always found myself to be prouder in my mind when I know someone with diabetes has reached one of these milestones.  Any child that has an obstacle in life, and overcomes it to move forward, is worth mentioning.  We see so many stories of kids who have major disabilities receiving degrees and it just warms our heart, doesn’t it?

But our kids who battle T1D, they don’t look any different from their peers, do they? When you meet them or first see them, there is no appearance of the challenges they face.  But make no mistake, they are there.  I remember the story of a parent who during their child’s graduation ceremony, noticed their young son wavering back and forth as he stood at the end of the ceremony.
“Oh, oh!”
And just in the nick of time the parents were waiting for him when he left the ceremony to give what was needed to tend to the glycemic reaction.

The photos don’t show that.

The photos show arms around family members and friends celebrating graduation from high school.  The photos show smiles and good times.  No one would look and say look what the young man achieved, even with the illness dealt with 24/7/365.  No one would say, what a heart warming story that despite; sleepless nights due to diabetes, adjustments made to play sports due to diabetes,  rearranged schedules all through middle school and high school so lunch was at reasonably time adjusting to diabetes, countless trips to the school and school nurse due to diabetes, fighting to make sure they are not left behind in school trips and countess activities due to their diabetes no one would, really, even know.

But you know, don’t you mom and dad?

So when YOUR child who battles T1D;  graduates, ‘steps up’, receives an award, attends sports night, gains entry to an honor society, is named to the homecoming court, named to the prom court, wins a race, aces a test, achieves success in the robotics club or whatever club they participate, are pinned, white coated, named valedictorian an/or just live life to the fullest—-well you just enjoy that huge smile on your face a little bit more than so many others who DO NOT understand the lives we lead.

And should it be forgotten for the moment, or not even known by outsiders, that your child has T1D at these ceremonies………we, as parents WILL ALWAYS KNOW, won’t we?  Because the fact that we will NEVER forget drives us with everything we have to make sure our kids never forget what they really are…… like everyone else.

So let me say to all of you parents, congratulations on another wonderful year of your child’s achievements.  Because unlike many others, your child achieved everything they did this year despite, and in spite, of their type 1 diabetes.

I know that smile, and those tears of joy, you will have on your face….and you enjoy EVERY second of it!  Congratulations.
I’m a DiabetesDad
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

School’s Open…….If One Roars ALL THE TIME…..It Won’t be Heard.

LionWe took every precaution there was.  We read-up on what every parent suggested.  We had back-ups of back-ups.  We met with the nurse.  The kids were all getting a letter home in her K class so everyone was on the same page.  Our 504 plan was in place.  Jill had quit work so she was ready for anything………and still the poop hit the fan on day one.

For reasons way beyond our control the bus took a different route and dropped Kaitlyn off almost an hour past when she was supposed to be dropped off.  This was way before cell phones and this was actually back-in-the-day when you could not be in contact with the bus driver.

This was Day One.

I tell you that so you know, I totally ‘get’ the frustration with what can happen on the first day of school.  Imagine the panic of not knowing where you child was/is in general; and now add to that the anxiety of your child not only having T1D, but on the VERY FIRST DAY of school in her life.  Not 10 minutes late, not 20, not even 30—-but an hour.

Got that feeling in your stomach?

Why I was not arrested for murder that day was probably sheer luck that I could not get to the school.  But it was a lesson learned, a crucial lesson learned.  No matter what you do, SOMETHING is going to happen.  I also learned that in a school system, this may surprise you, they do not revolve around our kids with T1D.  Do they care?  Sure they do and that is why they became involved with the school district to begin with; in most cases they LOVE kids.

But they also have to deal with hundreds of kids every single day at any given moment.  Now hear me correctly, when something goes wrong they need to also be responsible.  And more importantly, they (and we) need to be responsible in advance of something going wrong.  But even after every step being taken, something will derail.  It’s at this point that WE NEED TO BE AT OUR BEST.

Remember when a mistake is made, your most important objective: to ensure that it never happens again.  How you get there is up to you.  But your actions will dictate how successful your future will be.  Being upset is absolutely understandable but always remind yourself that the next step is to correct it.  Respectfully, firmly, and respectfully—-yes ‘respectfully’ is listed twice for a reason.

There are too many scenarios to list one-by-one but just remember your actions set the ground work.  When Kaitlyn’s stop was missed, as angry as we were, she was fine.  We did not contact the principal every time something happened.  If we had to work it out with the teacher, gym teacher, and/or school nurse, we did.  We went to the principal only when needed, and they responded over the years.

School officials may know because they know; they may know because you told them; but they DO NOT KNOW your child as well as you.  Your child(ren) are your world.  I know the force of ‘mama-bear’ and all that goes ‘with it’, but just remember that NO ONE knows ‘your child’s every move’, like you do.

Again, I am in no means making excuses for anyone but I’m reminding you that your child has to be in school every day; pick and choose how to correct a situation and when to roar.  Roaring all the time only makes people immune to hearing it when it is happening all of the time.

Take a breath and always remember your objective—–to CORRECT the situation.  Food for thought.

I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

It’s Here. Take the Time to Enjoy What You Do.

school busSchool.

I just love seeing all of the pictures posted of kids at their first day fo school.  There is a ‘newness’ to it, isn’t there?

The year begins full of hope and we, as parents, are ever watchful to notice that indeed our children are growing up.  And that is a fabulous thing.

With our youngest now out of high school (yikes!) it is such a time to reflect of those little people jumping on the bus for their first day of school.  It seems so long ago that they all started.  Now I know that many people are full of anxiety because school and diabetes is sometimes a real life water-and-oil mixture but take the time to realize what is happening with your child.

I promise you that diabetes will be all around your child before and after the first day of school so why not take the time to just stop, watch, and realize just how great your child is doing.

Enjoy this time with pictures and signs and happiness.  Our kids are growing up.  And they are growing up healthy with their diabetes.  Take the time to realize that this ‘first day of school’, no matter what year your child is in, is happening because of you.

The sleepless nights, the shots, the badge of diabetes police worn proudly; stop for a moment and take in the fact that your child is growing up ‘just fine’ because of you.  NO ONE will, or can understand that, unless they are a parent.

And when you are a parent to a child with diabetes, every now and again, a moment comes along that YOU MUST stop and take notice of your wonderful, tired, sleepless nights, frustrating, and fearful efforts.  For us, it was always the first day of school.

So much so, that the night before they started school each year the family was treated to ice cream sundaes.  My dad did that for us when we were growing up.  That tradition will continue I am sure.

Sometimes ice cream sundaes are perfect to enjoy.  Just like the first day of school.  Congratulations parents; enjoy.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

No More 504 Plans

DoneI bet you really wish you could say that, don’t you?

Imagine a life with no more 504 plans. (for those who are not aware, a 504 plan is a plan created in cooperation with the public school systems in the United States ensuring that our kids with diabetes are ‘looked-after’ in the appropriate manner—a very simplistic definition of a very complex procedure) 

Today is one of the biggest days of our child’s life; Rob will graduate high school today and in all of my joy that he has accomplished so many great things and that this will be such a fabulous day; as I sit here I realize: there will be no more 504 plans.

No more cleaning out the nurses office of supplies, no more writing and rewriting a manual to anticipate all of the things that could happen and must be covered, no more two children with diabetes in school, no more class trips and all that means to those who have diabetes (you know all about that), no more endless calls to the nurse-doc-back to the nurse, no more meeting with all of the teachers to discuss ‘diabetes in the classroom” (and make note, our children’s school has been fabulous for the 16 years we worked through 2 kids) and a long, long way since that first day of ‘one of the worst days in our lives’ of school……a million years ago.

The day before Kaitlyn was to start “K”, she and Jill got on the bus to see how the route to and from school would go.  We were the last stop before going to school and the first one on the way home so it worked out perfectly

Remember, this was in a day with no pumps, no cell phones, and a long time ago.  It all was planned perfectly.

The first day of school the bus picks up Kaitlyn and off she goes to her first day of being a ‘big girl in grade K’.  It was timed out and the bus would be dropping Kaitlyn off at 3:10 pm and Jill would meet her, take her in, check her blood sugar and do what was necessary.  Jill is THE MOST organized women on earth (and I am NOT exaggerating) and this was all set.  Jill walked out of the house to wait for Kaitlyn by the bus stop and ready to hear about her first day of school

3:10 pm……no bus
3:20 pm……no bus(Jill calls the school, they do not know where it is—-what would you be feeling?)
3:30 pm……no bus (are you starting to feel the anxiety)
3:40 pm……no bus
3:50 pm……no bus (2nd call to school–they are looking still…..would you be climbing the walls yet?)
4:00 pm… bus

So as you could imagine–day one was a wreck.  Turns out the bus got there early and since no one was there, the driver just decided to do the entire route and come back.  Kids were screaming and crying, moms were furious, but none more than Jill–our daughter has diabetes and this could have been a real disaster,  Kaitlyn was white as a ghost and very upset.

This incident seems like a million years ago and yet, yesterday.

That incident just fueled our desire to be further educated.  To have the control of this disease to make sure we did everything we could to minimize its impact in our lives.  It served us well and today Rob is leaving high school.

We have all grown enormously over the years in so many aspects.  And when it comes to diabetes, on this day, we are all graduating to another level.  And THAT is a very good thing.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Our Final High School 504…….Maybe I’ll Get it Right.

Well, it’s finally here.  Jill said to me a few nights ago, “Let me know your schedule, the school wants to meet about Rob’s 504 plan.”

I said okay and of course, two days have gone by and I have yet to give her dates I am available (as I state, when it comes to diabetes, no one makes more mistakes than I).

Before I continue I must thank Crystal Jackson and the American Diabetes Association’s incredible efforts on educating all of us about school.  Their Safe at School information is second to none.  And Crystal Jackson (and she will be the first to tell you there is an entire team at ADA ready to assist) is a mom and a hero to me an my family and so many more.  Thanks Crystal.

Coming back to school can always cause anxiety and we pretty much keep it in stride by this point. As I read over Rob’s 504 plan–I believe it is six pages, I found something else that I have not included and must add, this, his senior year.  Maybe I’ll get it right, finally.

The 504 plan is (in my simple vocabulary) an agreement on what to do for my child in your school because of his diabetes.  And the law backs it up.  You have to love it.

Click here, 504, to see the ADA’s more official definition.

I have two simple tidbits for you:
Be prepared on what you want for your child (and be realistic, there are many examples out there),
Friction and friction will only get you heat.

The more prepared and non-confrontational you are, the better the chances of a smooth meeting (in most cases).  In other words, “I pay your salary” should not be a line you use in your discussions.

Chances are many of you had your 504 meeting already so be free to share your experiences by responding….it is never too late to learn something new, is it?
I’m a Diabetesdad.