We headed north this weekend, the five of us battled poorly against the mighty M6 and found ourselves near Manchester, where people still say bath as bath and the grass is pronounced perfectly so it doesn’t rhyme with arse. We were not just on a lesson of linguistics, but also a road of discovery. Our weekend was hosted by Diabetes UK, a charity who have been a bit of a lifeline for us since Molly was diagnosed, a charity I will be running 26.2 miles for in April.
The weekend was for families, people just like us, people who had a child living with type one diabetes.
Before we even met the other parents, we knew we would be amongst friends.
The weekend passed in a blur, we learnt more than we imagined, and left feeling more confident in our care, and most importantly I finally recongnised that whatever I do, how hard I fight, this will never be my battle. I don’t have diabetes, but I love someone very much who does. However, it is her diabetes, not mine and now I know that, I think we will all cope that little bit better.
Within each set of parents I spoke to, I found similarities, we all knew the exhaustion of a nighttime hypo, we all shared the same fears for our childrens’ teenage years. We all wanted to see our children fly, but felt the urge to ground them with our own worries for the future.
We met adults who were diagnosed as children, who have led lives enriched by their diabetes, we saw our own warrior kids surrounded by a tribe. We recongnised very quickly that all children with Type 1 were simply, flipping amazing.
And the siblings, the ones that quietly watch for signs of hypoglycemia, the one’s who can carb count without needing to inject, the ones that feel over shadowed by the disease. I saw them more clearly, I saw my son fighting to be heard in a family where the girls seem determined to keep visiting the Hotel de la NHS. I saw a need to readdress my parenting, to make sure I am fair and all three of my kids know how much I adore them.
We learnt that we are not the only parents of diabetic kids who enjoy a large glass of wine in the evening…..
I sat in a room of inspirational mothers and listened as they spoke of their nightmares, as they asked the question ‘am I to blame?’, as we all admitted in turn that coping with diabetes can be all consuming and at times it can feel too much. We cried, and we walked away a tiny bit stronger for telling the truth.
I still hate diabetes, I still wish my child didn’t have it. I still see the gremlin laughing at me on her skin and I want to destroy it. I believe now, even more than before, that Molly must make friends with her diabetes, and perhaps it is time that I lost the hate and start to offer that hand of friendship myself. Molly can then follow in my example.
It was a weekend like none before, of new friends, of outstanding children, of incredible volunteers who gave up their weekend to make our lives better.
I can only say thank you, from me, Molly and her diabetes.
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