Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Some more "firsts"

What is it about "firsts" that make me crazy. I don't consciously think about it, but when the day comes, I'm a blubbering idiot. We had two "firsts with diabetes" in a row. Riley's birthday, his first with D, was on Saturday. Then, mother's day was the very next day.

I did pretty good on his birthday. There was so much other stuff going on that I didn't have time to think about it all, I guess. Plus, he was having so much fun.

But, mother's day, that's another story. It probably didn't help that due to Riley's increased activity on Saturday, he ran low most of the night. Not too low, but low enough to get me up to check his sugar more often. Then, at 6 AM, he was 71. Too low. This was after his pump had been suspended for 3 hours already. He gets a snack and wakes up at 249. A great start to mother's day.

I was just so sad all morning. I had so much to be thankful for, I knew, but still this first mother's day with D was upsetting me for some reason.

Then, it was off to church. It was nice. We have people place carnations in the sanctuary in memory or honor of their mothers. I got two. One from Riley and one from Holden.

Of course the sermon was about mothers. As the preacher is going on about how wonderful mothers are, I'm biting my lip trying not to cry. He goes on to say that real mothers are very protective of their children. They'll do anything to keep any harm from coming to them. OK, I'm about to lose it in the middle of church.

Riley had gone to "children's church". After the sermon ended, he came running in with this big grin on his face and a homemade mother's day card, just for me. When he handed me the card and said, "Happy mother's day. I love you." , I.lost.it...big.time.

I just started kissing him and crying. My mom was standing there and I felt bad for crying like that in front of her. I quickly got up and walked to the car. I didn't want anyone to see me like that.

Here's the thing. I'm a mom before anything else. That's not really how it's supposed to be. But, I'm being honest. I put being a good mother number one on my list of priorities. Because of that, I think I felt like somewhat of a failure on this, his first mother's day with diabetes. I felt like I had fallen down on the job. I disease has taken over my child's body. And I can't do anything about it. I can't make it go away. All the tears, all the prayers, all the sleepless nights, and he still has diabetes. And he always will. He always will. What horrible words to write. Yes, I still hope for a cure, but baring that, my child, my precious baby, will always count every bite of food he eats, will stick himself with a needle several times a day to check his sugar, will be attached to a machine 24/7. My baby is dependent on medicine to live. Without it he will die. Die. Without his insulin, he would die. I just keep typing it to try to get it to sink in.

I know him having diabetes is not my fault. I know "it's just one of those things". Cognitively I know that, but it doesn't help my heart. My heart still aches for him on a daily basis. My heart still breaks a little every time he says "Mom, I'm so glad I won't have diabetes in heaven. Do you think God will hold my pump for me?" You see, even though he knows he won't have diabetes in heaven, he still can't imagine not having his pump. It's a part of him now.

I'm his mom. I'm supposed to make him better. I'm supposed to protect him from the bad stuff. That's my job. Nothing bad is supposed to happen on my watch. But, in October, it did. And, I can't fix it. I can't make it go away. And, it just kills me.


Scott K. Johnson said...

Wow. What a great post. I've said it before, and I'll say it here again.

It's a million times harder being the parent of a child with diabetes than being diabetic yourself.

See, we (all of us, D or not) are very adaptable. We find a way to move on and survive. We find a way to be happy.

Be confident that diabetes will not always be the first thing on his mind, and it will not consume his every thought. Sure, there will be struggles and frustrations, but those too will build Riley into such an incredible person.

There is a plan for everything. We don't always understand, but we're not always supposed to.

Lyrehca said...

Indeed, what Scott said.

Penny, it sounds like you are so very hard on yourself. Truly, Riley will grow up and mature and it will be OK. Things will get easier. You will all adapt as time goes on. And hopefully you'll be able to have some peace with everything.

Megan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Megan said...

Your post had me crying. I almost wish you could have diabetes for a day. Just to see that it's not that bad. Your son was "grinning" you said. He's happy! He doesn't care that he has diabetes. He doesn't care that a machine keeps him alive. He was grinning. He's happy you are his mom.

A lot of people have to take medicine to live. Mine just happens to be in a pump.

Riley will have good days and bad days with diabetes. But more and more that bad days will be the rare ones.

A Mother said...

I agree that having a child with diabetes makes "your heart hurt". No one wants their child to have any type of illness. Riley will be fine and YOU must find a way to be fine! He will pick up on alot of your emotional "cues" as he grows up. You need to have faith in yourself as his caregiver and his medical team to keep him physically healthy as well as mentally healthy. If he feels that you have hope and optimisim, then so will he! Give him this gift...Good Luck!

Jamie said...

Penny - a lot of the time I feel the way you described yourself in this post. You're not alone in feeling what you are feeling - but after reading Scott's post - and Megans, I feel a lot better about it all. I mean, as parents it is our job to worry about our children, and having something we interfere that we cannot control throws us for a loop. As long as he's happy - that's all that matters. You are doing an AWESOME job on his Diabetes care - he couldn't have a better mom when it comes to that - he will learn from you how to care for himself as he grows bigger. Yes, when he's 30, you'll STILL worry about him - but, like I said, that's our job as parents to do so :)

Hang in there - he's doing wonderfully, and so are you :)

SUPERMOM said...

Thank God that Riley has a mom like you who loves him and will care for him. I have to believe in my heart that our children will grow up ok and it's not our fault that they have this terrible disease. And that God gave these special children to us because he knew it takes a strong and special mom to raise a child with diabetes. I think we all share your feelings and the feeling that we coudl not protect our babies from this. But know that you are his protection. Look how many children you see out there who are neglected and then imagine if God had given Riley to one of them. You will get him through this with happiness and joy and what he will remember from his childhood is having a great and loving mom. Not that diabetes stood in the way of all he wanted to do. He is happy loving you. YOur strength and love will be what he remembers and hangs onto through life. YOu are doing a great job some thinsg are beyond our control.

Sandra Miller said...


As I was reading this, I thought "yes, those firsts are so hard, but it does get easier."

But then I got to your last three paragraphs and completely lost it. Still crying as I type.

Because everything you write is so very true-- for you and Riley, me and Joseph, Jamie and Danielle, Shannon and Brendon, Julia and Olivia, Vivian and Daniel . . . and too damn many others.

And I just hate it.

mary ellen said...

I cried too as I read the post - your feelings were identical to mine -
My son is almost 5. He has had d. more than half of his life.
He just got the pump, and now I feel like I did when he was first dx: emotional , scared, and his fiercest protector.
I really like reading your post. I think God chose you for your son, and me for mine.