The Sweetest Surprise
A simple gesture can carry a powerful message.
By Deanna Glick
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
July 2008 — January is very quietly my favorite month of the year. Though I'm a summer girl at heart, I adore the sense of reflection and renewal this cooler time of year induces in me. My daughter will turn 3 this year, and, lately, my mind has been drifting to memories of her younger days that have left me a bit melancholy that she's a baby no more. But these memories have also made me realize there are always pleasant surprises in every stage of motherhood.
When I look back on my various columns over the past year, I realize that as introspective, aware and optimistic I have been about motherhood and diabetes, there have been many surprises along the way. I've written about the fear, worry and anxiety so many diabetic mothers feel at some point along their parenthood path. I've also written about the humor, joy, and gratitude that can come with the package.
But surprise hasn't been something I thought was part of the equation, until recently. Something happened the other day that made all my bantering about being afraid of low blood sugar, annoyed at my financial burden, or frustrated with the healthcare system seem trite.
As I was lying on the couch last week feeling beaten up by a high blood sugar, my daughter's hand began patting my arm in comfort. This took my mind back to the various parts diabetes has played in our relationship over the past couple of years and how I could never have imagined my little girl would become a supportive partner in my diabetes care so soon, and with such a simple gesture. It meant the world to me.
In my very first column for dLife, I wrote about fear. What if my blood sugar drops to a level that renders me unconscious while I'm alone with my child? What about when she's older and the fear and apprehension she might feel as a result of my illness? Is it even fair to have a child who will undoubtedly worry about my welfare when she's old enough to understand what it means to have diabetes and what is required to live with the disease? In that same column, I surmised that by having a diabetic mother, my daughter might gain knowledge, compassion, and patience that would serve her well. Apparently that hope wasn't in vain.
My daughter's recent simple gesture carried a powerful message. As I relished in feeling my daughter's tender touch, a sense of warm elation washed over me at the thought of how diabetes hasn't become the monster I feared would come between us. Instead, it has brought out a level of empathy, love, and affection in my young daughter that I naively only thought possible with more maturity.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...