For My Mother
For my mother...
Thank you for driving me to Joslin, even though you didn’t know the way. And for continuing to take me, despite how scared you were to make that lethal left hand turn onto Pilgrim Street to get to the parking garage.
Thank you for Clara Barton Camp, for sending me there. Spending summers with other diabetic children and counselors made me feel less alone and isolated. And made me confident enough to talk openly about my diabetes. To anyone.
Thank you for hiding ice cream sandwiches in the boxes of frozen peas and Ring Dings in the laundry cupboard so that I wouldn’t eat them. I know you were trying to protect me, but you’ve also provided me with stories that make my friends laugh so hard they cry.
Thank you for being patient with my nasty low blood sugar reactions – when I would throw bowls of cereal or cups of juice at you in my hypoglycemic rage. Or tell you I hated you. Or scream empty, desperate words of fury as my blood sugar plummeted. You know I never meant any of it. Not a word.
Thank you for being patient with the high levels, as well. When I had eaten something I shouldn’t have, or had skipped my shot on purpose. You kicked the plastic container on the floor when I was 385 mg/dl instead of yelling at me. You never said “Why are you doing this?” but instead “How can we stop?”
Thank you for trying with me. Walking to the benchmark on Watch Hill Road, traipsing down to the Harbour House with ice cream as a reward, or just going around the block a few times. You would tie your jacket around your waist, tuck a pack of crackers in your pocket, and talk to me about anything but diabetes as we strided confidently towards good control.
Thank you for crying with me. When I was frustrated. Or devastated. Or overwhelmed. Or lost. You said it was okay to cry. And that it was scary. You were scared, too. But I would be okay.
Thank you for making me feel normal. For not allowing insulin injections or blood sugar testing to come between me and my childhood. When Jill asked me to sleep over for her birthday party in second grade and I wasn’t doing my own shots yet, you drove to her house that night, before cake was served, and gave me my shot. And you came back, early in the morning, to give me my breakfast injection. I was diabetic, but they couldn’t tell by looking at me. They just couldn’t tell.
Thank you for letting me wake up Easter morning to see a basket that looked just like Darrell’s or Courtney’s, save for the fact that the contents of mine were sugar free.
Thank you for making my soul as healthy as my body. You understood that the disease is not just a matter of injections and beta cells, but also emotional strength and perseverance. You helped make me strong, in ways that translated far outside the reaches of diabetes.
Thank you for being certain that I would survive. I know you were scared when I was diagnosed. I was only six. But you were strong and seemed so confident that I would be okay, so I didn’t worry. And I believed you.
And you were right.
I love you very much, Mom.