If you’ve been reading my blog you might have noticed I like to start with stories that make the message personal. I often share anecdotes about A and me or memories I have from my own childhood. It’s not that I believe you want to know personal things about Anabel, our family or me. Maybe you do. Zero judgement if that is the case. I share because this is personal to us. We are real people sharing our personal experiences with T1D. As a child I spent almost every Sunday in church. My mother was and still is very active there. She opened and managed a food pantry when I was an adolescent. Each Sunday and Wednesday we would go with her to stock the pantry and open it for people in need. It took hours and as most teens and preteens I was bored when I was there. I didn’t fully understand why she gave so much attention to the pantry when she got little to nothing in return. It wasn’t until I got older that I understood her investment there. She’s passionate about loving people and offering kindness when she can. She has shown this in pretty much every aspect of her life. I consider blogging a labor of love like my mother’s. When I publish a blog I call a ‘LoLA’ or a Labor of Love Alert. Blogging may not be as meaningful as my mothers vision to feed her community, but it is one way I show love and kindness. I’ve thought long and hard about why I decided to write a blog, when I have several competing priorities and it comes down to love.
The Labor– Let’s be real, moms (and dads) are generally busy people. Whether you are working out of or in the home there are tons to do. Our kids are busying with activities, school, sports and other interests. Let’s not even discuss the investment it requires to help them become decent human beings and contributing members to their society. When you then add the management of a medical condition the labor becomes that much more intense. Blogging is time-consuming. I think intensely about what to write and how it may or may not help others.
The Love– I am hands down and completely in love with my children. Anyone who knows even a little about me knows that my life begins and ends with them. It’s a mom thing. My writing, although therapy for me, is out of love for my daughter and the children out there who look like her living each day with this condition. Being given a life long diagnosis can seem really bleak and dark at first. You literally go through a mourning process. Thankfully, that doesn’t last. Over time, you begin to realize that although not ideal, you can manage it. I have to say this. That management, though, requires a network of people. I can’t imagine managing her condition as a one-woman or one-family show. She has a team of folks that care for her medically and equally important she (and we) need a team of people who will help us care for her emotionally and psychologically. Multiple times a week I give A a diabetes pep talk. Sometimes I give myself one. Seeing your kid in pain is painful. I feel building this network of people with shared experiences is important. As we share our experiences we can also share our best practices, tips, and encouragement. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I need that and Anabel does too.
The Alert– I might also consider this the awareness. Awareness with this condition is crucial. There are so many misconceptions out in the world about T1D and the sweet ones that have it. When A was first diagnosed I had people tell me she shouldn’t have candy and how I really need to watch her diet. I also had others tell me that it wasn’t a big deal and how so many people live with it successfully. Some even compared Anabel to their aunt or grandmother that was living with Type 2. A favorite question, will she grow out of it? Misinformation and misunderstanding of T1D abounds. I get it and I judge no one. Before I had a sweet one with the condition I knew nothing about it.
Why does this matter? Creating a space to tell a story and share information for people who otherwise have limited representation in this community is important. Of all the bloggers, support groups, books and other resources I’ve sought out as a new parent of a child with T1D none looked like me or my daughter. I’ve heard other parents, through this blog, share very similar stories. We need this network and a space. It’s worth the labor.