This is my sweet brown child. Well, this is one of them. I have two children but only one has Type 1 Diabetes. Anabel was diagnosed just a little over a year ago. Like all parents who walk this road with a child with T1D, my husband and I have been through the flurry of emotions that come along with initial diagnosis, to finding a new normal and working not to compare life pre-diabetes. One important disclaimer here, I am not an expert on this condition.
Anabel is 9 years old. You see the picture, she’s cute. No, she’s beautiful! She’s also seriously the sweetest child you would ever hope to meet. She navigates her life as someone who is insulin dependent better than most adults would. She’s responsible and thoughtful. Over the past few years we have all learned a lot about T1D. One unexpected experience though, has been what seems like a lack of representation of children of color in this community. Perhaps it’s our geographic location, but throughout the last year we have literally never met another child of color with the condition. (Okay, okay maybe 1). In her school, which is predominantly comprised of people of color she is the only one. In her support group, she’s the only one. Even when we went to family diabetes camp, we were the only ones!
So why start a blog? This experience and its apparent lack of diversity got me thinking about how one builds community within a community. Everyone inherently wants to feel included in something that matters in their lives. I want my daughter to be represented in the community of people managing this condition. I have been an educator for over 10 years and as an educator I am first a learner. In the last year I have learned a great deal (please note I still have so much more to learn) but I feel like there is value in sharing our experience as a family.
A note about inclusion… all are welcomed here! I’m a person of color although I am multi-racial I identify as a black woman. My husband is Dominican. I hope that this can be a place of support and learning for anyone interested. I do intend to share our experience with this disease from the lens of a family of color who deeply cares for a sweet brown child.
Thank you for taking this journey with us!
I had the distinct pleasure of writing a post for Bougiemama.com. This site is special. It’s a place that highlights women of color bloggers and focuses on five key areas: parenting, wellness, style and beauty, and prosperity. I’m all about all of these things! Enjoy…
Continue reading “Feature: Parenting From a Place of Grace”
Every three months we go to the endocrinologist (the Endo). The appointments are long. Anabel kind of dreads them. Okay, she really really dreads them. We review numbers, discuss questions, and re-up on prescriptions. It ends and we wait for the next appointment. However, one commonality of every appointment is a commendation we receive from our practitioner about how well her T1D is being managed, whether when dosing insulin with shots or, more recently, with an insulin pump. We had the routine on lock! That is, until illness enters the equation. Continue reading “Insulin Pumps, Illness, and Waiting”
Over time I’ve realized you’re either an egg person or not. You like these golden white wonders or you don’t. You can scramble, fry, and boil these beauties. Anabel is an egg person. Please note- I am not one of these egg people. I make them in baking, for my sweet one, and for nostalgia in my grandmother’s memory. She too, like Anabel (her namesake) was an egg person. She had an amazing deviled egg recipe that she made on holidays. Continue reading “Low Carb Egg Snack Recipe”
Catharsis– the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions. Continue reading “Catharsis To End And Begin A Year”
“We carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness.” -R.J. Palcio, Wonder
I saw something I hadn’t seen since Anabel was diagnosed. I took her and her friend (I call them A squared) to see a movie. Once we settled in with their snacks she comfortably took her insulin pump out of its belt in front of someone other than her family. She plugged her stats in and let it just hang out for a while. After completing her bolus she told her friend a joke, they both laughed together and she tucked her pump away. Continue reading “The Comfort A Friend Provides”
One of our family traditions includes baking holiday goodies, especially cookies when we are all together with our extended family. My sweet one loves to bake and enjoys learning in the kitchen. Anabel is awesome with numbers, ratios and the like so baking is her jam. What is not our jam, however, is guessing at the carb tallies for these sweet treats. It can turn into an entire family dialogue. I yell over to my sister, “Hey, how many carbs do you think is in one of your cookies?”. She looks over at me with a bewildered side-eye and says, “I have no idea!” I give her a side eye back and respond, “Well, how much flour did you use and how many cookies did it make?” She takes out her phone, finds the recipe and from there it goes. Continue reading “Holiday Cookie Mania Hack”
Sharing stories are one way that children can learn about themselves and the world around them. I’m a major advocate for representation in children’s literature, whether it’s their race or nationality, gender, interests or unique characteristics being represented. I think it’s important to have a range of literature that illustrate a diverse body of people. When it comes to my sweet one I want her to read great books with strong protagonists, women of color and great stories about people living with diabetes. I intently search for these books, sometimes having better luck than others. Continue reading “A Sweet Book Review: ‘Maggie’s Mystery’”
We sat in a ‘support group’ shortly after her diagnosis. The parents at the meeting looked mostly sleep deprived and concerned. A few smiled only when you smiled first. The topic was Supporting Your Child With T1D At School: What you need to know. I thought ‘Okay, this is an important topic’. I normally talk, a lot, but in these meetings I think its helpful to just listen. Most of the families have been dealing with this condition far longer than we have and we have a steep learning curve. So, “shut up and listen”, I say to myself. One parent sat with her arms crossed and said, “Our school nurse is terrible, absolutely terrible.” She went on to describe how the nurse wouldn’t touch her daughter’s insulin pump and didn’t provide the basic care her daughter’s condition required. This challenge drove her to write letters to the principal and superintendent, even the school board. At one point, and rightfully so, she said incredulously “I mean, her care can mean life or death for my daughter”. Continue reading “A School Nurse of Distinction”
What can a simple bowl of cereal represent? For a child with T1D, more than you might think. I don’t blame my sweet child for her desire for normalcy. To her, a bowl of cereal should just be a bowl of cereal and not a set of carbs that require counting and mathematical formulas to determine units of insulin to be given prior to eating. I get it on some level, though I can’t understand her experience completely. As a mom, I just want to protect her and care for her. That makes it easy at dinner time to grab her insulin pump, determine the carbs on my own and plug it into her pump. But, doing this does not help her. In fact, it harms her more than it could ever help her. In our world, a simple bowl of cereal can represent independence. Continue reading “Independence: Not Only Inevitable But Necessary”
In the early days of diagnosis we were thinking about the possibility of getting an insulin pump for A. Hey, we are still in the early days, so I guess I’ll say the EARLIER days of diagnosis. I’ll dig into that story more in a future post, but I want to highlight ways that we can make living every day life more enjoyable for our sweet ones. Changing infusion sites every 3 days is no fun. Even less fun is the process of inserting a new sensor for a Dexcom. Have you seen the needles on those things? I engage in serious and prolonged pep talking with my sweet brown child when these events come up. However, finding ways to get her excited about something makes the process so much easier. What sweet one doesn’t want a blinged out insulin pump or Dexcom?!?!? Continue reading “A Little Bling On Her Pump”