Siblings—DO they Really Understand? A Story that Changed My Life.


 No matter how hard the attempt, diabetes has always prevented us from giving the full amount of time needed to those who are the brother and sister of someone with diabetes.  Whatever the event, attention is drawn away.  And we tried pretty hard to find a balance.  But it seemed falling short indeed did happen.  One story in particular breaks my heart to this day.

When Kaitlyn was very young, I told my wife that when Kaitlyn would be around T.J. (her brother) that we should correct her in some sort of manner.  The goal was so T.J. would see that Kaitlyn was by no means perfect and in some case needing of discipline.

Shortly thereafter the opportunity presented itself (or so I thought). 

Jill was not around and I was watching T.J. and Kaitlyn (Rob was not even born yet but the memory is burned in my heart to this day).  I do not even remember what the incident was and it doesn’t matter.  I seized the opportunity where T.J. and Kaitlyn were together and I raised my voice and said, “Kaitlyn, stop.  Kaitlyn that is wrong and don’t do that again!” 

(To this day I still tear up remembering this story.) 

Kaitlyn looked up at me with those big round eyes, and her lip started to shake.  Tears rolled down her cheeks and she pee’d on herself and all over the floor.  No sooner than that happened that T.J., at probably only 7 years of age, ran into the kitchen and retrieved paper towels and tissues and started cleaning Kaitlyn and the floor. 

“Don’t worry about this Kaitlyn, I will clean it up.  It will be okay.” 

I stood there with my mouth hanging open as T.J. cleaned every inch of his sister and wiped the floor around her once I took her in and changed her. 

Jill will tell you that I was inconsolable for weeks after.  What had I done?   What I did not factor in was that at the time I did this, Kaitlyn was over 350… ‘accident’, with little help, was inevitable with the right final push which came from me, diabetesdad,.  No one has made more mistakes at this than me. 


There are a few points here and the most important point is that the brothers and sisters of those with diabetes ‘get it’ more than we know.  But we should always keep looking to encourage them, spend time with them, and let them KNOW ALSO just how important they are in our lives and do it more than we think we do. 

Those who read my Facebook pages know how different our 3 kids are and just what is so special about each.  T.J., now 25, is a vital part of our community working at Long Island’s largest hospital and also volunteering in our local fire department.  He is awaiting the call from the NYPD that he has been accepted into their academy.  He is a dedicated boyfriend to Joelle, and has always been ‘the watcher’ over his younger sister and brother.  I have seen T.J. cry 5 times in my life.  He is a very strong man in many ways. 

Sometimes the siblings of the one with diabetes……become another child with diabetes as well.  T.J. cried in my arms when his little brother was diagnosed also with diabetes at age thirteen in 2009.  “He cannot have to live with this forever, he just can’t.” 

We pray for all of T.J.’s dreams to come true.

We are so very proud of all of our kids.  I have stated a thousand times how kids with diabetes do everything…….and because of their diabetes, they do it with an asterisk.  I even wrote about it once.

But siblings……they do everything with an asterisk too, never forget that point.  Feel free to share just how special the siblings in your house are to you.

I’m a diabetesdad.

A Sibling Making a Difference…..Today’s Sunday Hero

No one knows how hard it is to be a sibling of a child with diabetes.  No matter how hard we, as parents, try to balance the playing field our child(ren) with diabetes demand so much more attention.

But we certainly try, don’t we parents.  My Sunday Hero is Jonathan.  Jonathan is a Senior at his high school in Florida and he created a program where siblings can make a difference too.

Jonathan’s “End Zone” is for siblings to run an event and ‘not just do nothing”.  Jonathan and his family are very active in diabetes causes and Jonathan spent his summer volunteering in the local office of the diabetes organization they support. 

It takes a lot for a teenager to give up their time.  It is crystal clear that Jonathan is not only dedicated to curing diabetes but it is quite clear of the love he has for his sister.  That is not only commendable; it is downright inspiring.  Taka  a bow Jonathan, you are Diabetesdad’s Sunday Hero.

Do you know  a Hero?  A child with or without diabetes who is trying to make a difference?  Reply to this post and I would love to feature them here… my Sunday Hero.  Kids are amazing and kids with diabetes…..are still just kids. 

Happy Sunday…..I am a Diabetesdad.