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Upside Down & Inside Out Days
If you like spirit days from school days, you probably participated at one time or another in one called “upside down” or “inside out” day. Essentially, it is when you wear your clothes inside out or backwards & perhaps as a bonus, the day’s order was reversed for the school day. Spirit days are fun & it is super to get to see our sons enjoy the ones that they have in school & in other group community clubs.
Well, our family is “upside down & inside out” in some ways I think. That is how I started to look at it about 5 years ago. 5 years ago, I was Mom to 3 treasured sons ages 7, 3 and not yet 1. November 29, 2007, was the day that started the funny saying that I adopted about our family of “upside down & inside out” when it comes to type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children. How upside down that in our family, it is Mom that has the diagnosis. From a Mom’s heart, there is not a day that goes by that I am not filled with thankfulness that it is me that was diagnosed & not one of our sons. My heart goes out in compassion to the incredibly strong Moms & Dads who are parents to a son or daughter with diabetes. The strength that those parents have is indescribable & their struggles…again, my heart goes out to them so profoundly.
It is my feeling that in most ways, we are a family that looks very much like any other. The boys are growing & are “full of beans” & “being boys”. I find myself saying what moms of many young children say…some variant of “power down”. At night as the boys finally fall asleep, it is pure peace to see them sleeping & my heart is thankful beyond measure. Just as a wee aside & a little sprinkling of family humour, I will share a cousin’s story with you. A couple of summers ago, I got to attend a large family reunion. A second cousin was chatting to me & said, “oh, I see that you are a Mom to 3 boys.” Being himself one of 3 brothers in his family, he added with a smile, “let me tell you something that my Mom made while my brothers & I were small.” He said that his mom had painted & crafted a wooden sign that hung in their family room while they were growing up that said, “if you want to experience wild life, have 3 sons!”
When I was first diagnosed, I was sensitive to ensuring that our sons understood that although things had changed in our family with the type 1 diagnosis of mom that I would take good care of my health & that we would find the way to do all the things that we had always planned to do. I admitted that I had to learn a number of things however that learning even for moms & dads does not stop. That is a great thing. The first year, the learning curve was pretty large but a step at a time, we did do the activities that we had always enjoyed. Try as I might, there were those inevitable times when hypoglycemia presented itself & as a Mom I would have loved to have been able to shield the boys from seeing that. It is not a great feeling knowing that you have to have those 10 minutes to feel like yourself again right that moment & juice was needed right there & then. Our boys have come to know that when mommy has a low blood sugar, I just cannot at that time answer their many, many questions & requests. They have learned to be patient for those 10 minutes & we look at just the pictures in one of their books as we snuggle in together. They have helpful hearts & offer to bring a juice box when needed because I always tell them when I am in low blood sugar. I tell them matter of factly & it has become natural & honesty is the best way afterall. The boys have seen first hand that most of the time Mommy is “on a motor” just like the rest of the energetic moms out there. They see that once in a great while, those inevitable lows “hit” however it is fine…it just means we have to take a 10 minute re-charge break. Often the boys bring along their snack at that time too. Why? My sentimental heart says to share as a family in the moment whatever it may be, yet my experienced “mom heart” says , “it is because these boys love to eat all day long ‘cause they are growing boys!”
Upside down or right side up…it is okay. It is not perfect yet diabetes or no diabetes, we are family.
May you have a right side up day!! Smiles, Saundie J