How can a chronic, incurable, condition that arrived unexpectedly one day at our door improve our lives?
Am I mad?
Or just blindly optimistic.
Let me explain.
I like most people, felt cheated, alone, highly fecked off when Type 1 invaded our world. Yet, I took the mindset that it would not stop my daughter doing anything, and then in my head – I instantly added the words, no matter how hard it was.
Now, I actively work to end the sentence without the caveat that my life needs to go down the pan for hers to be incredible.
I have learnt, if you expect hardship, it arrives, tied with a bow on your doorstep. It then often invites its mates, bad luck and tough times to the party.
As much as I didn’t want Type 1 in my house, I was prepared to bargain that the gremlin could stay if hardship, bad luck, and tough times would do one in the process.
I refuse to accept that life is hard; preferring to argue that life can challenge, and the beauty lies in overcoming those challenges.
Type 1 has taught me, that I have the most incredible creature in my daughter, who has learnt resilience from the age of 6, and now – at 15, is demonstrating that in droves to the world.
Type 1 improved my family life, when we all learnt to adapt as a team and figure out the best ways to do things that may initially appear as tough times.
Type 1 improved my life when one week after diagnosis, my family descended on Peppa Pigs world with a rucksack of medical supplies and enough insulin to take out Daddy Pig.
That day, no ride has ever been more exhilarating, no laughter more sweet, no family day more perfect – because we were out there – living life.
Type 1 improved my life, when my other children asked to have a blood test, to know how she felt every day, so they had empathy, at 3 and 6 years old.
Type 1 improved my life when I learnt I was not strong enough on my own, that raising my family would take a mountain of friends and family. Then I invited them in.
Type 1 improved my life when I learnt how many friends and families would stay up all night if I asked – so she could have a sleepover.
I know to some newly diagnosed parents, you are shaking your heads, no one you know will take the enormity of the night shift.
This is my tough love lesson, you create your own reality – someone will help – but you have to let them.
You may need to edge in, by leaving them alone for an hour at first with your child, then a day, and then a night. But you need to let them in, without trying to insist they graduate from your own University of Type 1 management first.
Trying to control a child with diabetes, is like trying to build a wall of jelly. At some point they will grow up, want to party, want to sleepover, want to try alcohol, and want to have a baby of their own.
They may want to travel to far flung corners of the world with only a backpack and a pump. Our role in life is to give them wings and help them know how to manage any crisis’s.
The one advantage we have as Type 1 parents, we know the pitfalls, we know what *may* happen – so we can work with our kids at the right times to help them plan what to do.
Building a wall of dread of these events will only invite in our friends tough times and hardness.
Creating a life where you learn step by step to let go and stand back and watch from the side-lines will allow you to live and breathe more easily.
When we became Type 1 parents we did not sign up to sacrifice our own lives to the condition.
Type 1 improved my life, when Molly first sang on stage some six weeks after diagnosis in a school Christmas play, I cried like the world was ending. As did every other parent who knew our story. I knew then that the natural instinct of every parent is to protect the little ones, and despite not knowing all these people – they all had my back.
Type 1 improved my life when I realised that no all postcodes are created equal, and not all schools deliver the same experience. I have campaigned, presented to the MP of Education in London, and helped create better systems to improve the life of Type 1 kids in school. When you improve things, your own life improves undoubtedly.
Type 1 improved my life by teaching me the true value of sleep; with 8 hours under my belt I can achieve miracles, and I am grateful for every time we get the balance right and that happens.
Type 1 has taught me, that life is unpredictable, and that needs to be embraced, not feared. This was my most challenging lesson, but I think I am there. My life has been improved by a conscious effort to live every moment, and not wait in the darkness dreading the next wave to hit my family.
We improve and grow by identifying what challenges us to make us who we are. I am grateful to Type 1 for the bond it tightened between me and my kids, for the unit we are. I cannot change it, therefore I cannot hate it.
I feel incredibly more powerful when I thank it, recognise the good it brought in the chaos, and move on.
It is a mindset, and mindset can be learnt – trust me I know!
Wherever you are on your journey, as a parent to a Type 1 Child, remember you are just as important, find your harmony, identify your support.
Live your life and chase your dreams
Type 1 Parenting Coach
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