In a few weeks Riley will have had diabetes for a year. Recently I realized that I had fooled myself into thinking that I'd just gone on with my life. I hadn't. I had let diabetes take precedence over things. As much as I've tried to lie to myself and say that I fit diabetes into life, it was just the opposite. I fit life into diabetes.
I didn't realize this until last week. Something happened that woke me up to the fact that I had lost parts of myself to this disease. Big parts. Important parts.
I've said before that being a mother comes first in my life. But, when diabetes entered the picture, I wasn't just a regular ole' mom, I became the mother of a diabetic. I went into "Mama Bear mode". I wasn't going to let diabetes take anything away from Riley's life. I was going to make sure that Riley's life was just as full as it was before diabetes, maybe even more so. But, in focusing on Riley's happiness, I forgot about my own.
It's like I forgot that I'm more than the mother of a diabetic. I'm also the mother of a teenager. A teenager that three years from now will be gone off to college. I thought I was there for Holden all this time. I showed up at games. I listened whenever he decided to share parts of his life with me. But, was I really there? Was that really me, or was it just what was left after diabetes got it's part?
I'm also a wife. This is where I feel like I've failed the most over the past year. Michael and I have always been very close. He's my best friend. We are one of those couples that, with the exception of at work, you never see one without the other. We do everything together.
Over the last year, that hadn't changed. We still went just about everywhere together. But, once again, was I really there?
I feel like it's almost an art to learn how to maintain the best possible control over the sugars without letting the sugars become a part of you. It's hard. Really hard. I thought I was doing a good job. I thought I'd just made it part of life. We still did the same things as a family as we used to. But, now I realize, I wasn't really there.
I have tried so hard over the last year to teach Riley that he's so much more than a reading on a glucose monitor. That he can do anything he wants. That while it's important to maintain good control, it's most important that while he's doing that he enjoys life too.
I've been trying to teach him that without living it myself. I know that children learn the most by example. What sort of example am I setting for him? He knows the technical stuff. Just today I asked him what he does when his sugar is low. "Eat fruit snacks", he said with a little grin (he really likes fruit snacks). And, what do you do if you're sugar is too high. Again, he gave the right answer, "Take insulin".
While the technical stuff is important, I don't want Riley to let his life revolve around it. Maybe it's unrealistic to think that diabetes won't alter the paths that Riley chooses. I want him to make his decisions, not based on a disease, but based on what he really wants out of life.
If I want him to do that, then I must learn to do that myself. So, from now on, I'm no longer the mother of a diabetic. I'm the mother of a 15 year old and a 4 year old. I'm the wife of a wonderful man who would literally do anything for me. But, most importantly, I'm me.