This past week was Diabetes Blog Week (or D-blog week), and each day, I followed a prompt from the lovely Karen over at Bitter-sweet Diabetes. I had planned this post for last Sunday as it was Mother’s Day, but waited to post it after learning of today’s prompt. Today, we’re asked to share our diabetes hero. And mine is my mother.
My mother is amazing. She’s an elementary school teacher, so every summer I was able to spend lots of time with her. Even now, she travels to visit me during her summer vacation, and I get her all to myself over holidays. My mother is not only my diabetes hero, she’s my best friend. I love her more than words can say, and she has shaped the young woman I’ve become.
When I was 11 years old, my family learned I had type 1 diabetes. Even though the disease runs in my family, it was still a shock. No one had been diagnosed with type 1, nor anyone diagnosed that young.
Every night, my mother woke up to check my blood sugar at 2 a.m. When I was older, she would turn on the light to make sure I reacted. She didn’t expect to live the life of a newborn’s mother when her child was 11, but she did and without complaining. She brought Diet Coke to birthday parties because she knew the other moms wouldn’t think to have any. She let me eat cake and give my own shots. She packed small index card boxes full of juice, crackers, glucose tablets and instructions and made sure every teacher had one on their desk. She read about diabetes and found other mothers walking in the same shoes. She joined JDRF (JDF back then). She didn’t let me watch Steel Magnolias because she said it wasn’t my reality. She was right.
When I forgot insulin or syringes or strips, she would bring them to me even thought she’d reminded me earlier not to forget them. When I left my diabetes bag on a school bus, she drove across town to my teacher’s house to get it at 2 a.m. When a teacher wouldn’t let me leave class to check my blood sugar, she put her foot down with the school and everyone quickly became schooled in the 504 law. (And learned not to mess with my mom).
She let me drive at 16, even though the thought of me driving while low terrified her. At 6 a.m., she drove to a friend’s house after they called to tell her I had a seizure. She drove me to the hospital after playing basketball caused another seizure. She held a Tootsie Roll in my mouth and stroked my hair during a seizure at sports camp. She still let me go to camp again. She let me sleep over at friends’ houses. She let me, as irresponsible as I was, live my own life.
She’s poured juice down my throat when I couldn’t drink it myself. She told me no when I wanted candy and my blood sugar was high. She told me yes when I was low and begged for candy instead of glucose tablets. When I wet the bed as a teenager because of high blood sugar, I was embarrassed and ashamed. She was at my grandmother’s house in another state, but she answered my collect call. She calmed me down, walked me through what to do and promised not to tell my dad. She dried my tears and calmed my fears through the telephone lines.
She encouraged me to be an advocate and to embrace diabetes. She taught me how to be myself and to love myself just as I was and am. She recited Jeremiah 29:11 to me everyday and reminded me that diabetes was part of His plan for me to prosper and not to harm me. When I didn’t do what I was supposed to do, she disciplined me. When I did well, she praised me. She loved me through so many hard times.
She knows my fears, my hopes and my dreams. She knows my past, my sins and my shortcomings. She still loves me. Completely and unconditionally.
My mother is amazing. She is a superwoman and a hero worth having. I’m just like her, and that realization used to infuriate me. Now, I’m incredibly thankful to be a woman like my mother. And one day, I hope to be a mom like her, too. She is my diabetes hero!