Changing roles is something I am used to when it comes to my job. I have had several jobs in my life and even when I have the same job- teaching- I have done it in different buildings and at different grade levels. Change is good, it's expected, it keeps us fresh. Except, I am having a little more trouble with embracing theory in regards to parenting!
Two weeks ago, my three girls flew off to Europe. Before they left, I made sure that I had placed all the insulin supplies in their hands to be packed. Lots of supplies! Aside from the money factor, a large part of the reason I didn't want to go on this trip with them was that I wanted to allow them the chance to experience Europe on their own. By that I mean, without the Diabetes Police. I will admit, it is hard for me not to constantly ask them about their blood sugars, if their site needs changing, did they bolus, and the list goes on. Of course, I left some instructions with my mom and told Tessa to slyly be sure they were checking. We pick them up on Tuesday and I have to say, I am pretty proud of myself for not inundating them with texts about their care. I did ask a few times, but in my defense, one was a follow up because Tylie was having low morning blood sugar and needed me to get a message to our educator asking for suggestions. (They worked!) The end result of all of this is I miss THEM! The girls, not the diabetes.
I know that I have a tendency to get wrapped up in the details and the what ifs to the point that sometimes I forget to be in the "now." Whether I am focused on blood sugars, lesson plans, house hunting- that is all I can think about or, as my husband points out, over think about. My back up plans have back up plans. Do I like to control situations? Absolutely! I know that at times I can be downright irrational about it in fact. Call it OCD if you must. However, in this case, beyond helping them get their necessary items in order and visually and verbally confirming that they were in the bags, there would be little I could do from across the ocean to change anything. I knew without a doubt they could take care of themselves. Somewhere, about day three as I was forcing myself not to send a text asking if they had been checking their blood sugars it occurred to me that I had to trust that they would take care of themselves. It was time to let them practice all that we have taught them. Maybe in the end, this will give them more confidence and they will be more consistent with their care overall. At the very least, it will give me more confidence that they are more than capable without those annoying reminders I can't seem to hold back. Keep in mind, I still have TJ at home so I am not diabetes free and still have had plenty of opportunity to exercise my inner control freak! There is also Troy, who insists I never miss a chance to tell him what he should be doing!
The bottom line is that I am so proud of them. I am not sure, in the same situation, I would have dared fly across an ocean. Heck, I don't even have diabetes and the idea of flying across an ocean makes me queasy. It's that OCD thing again. By all indications, they are literally having the time of their lives. My two T1 girls side by side with their non-D sister experiencing the world. I envy them that, their ability to go with the flow. Granted, they each approached this trip in a different way and with different expectations. I have no doubt when they return, they will all be looking at the same picture but seeing a different story and that is how it should be. I can't wait to hear the stories, to really listen to them and not ask the questions about diabetes that lurk in the back of my mind like a storybook villain. These two weeks have made it painfully clear to me that my kids most certainly do not allow diabetes to slow them down. I find it embarrassing to admit for all my talk about letting them be "kids first" that way too often I begin a conversation around a diabetes question. Maybe I am letting it slow me down? I am not making any promises about being entirely hands off. After all, I am a mom and will be watching from the wings ready to jump in and save the day, but I am going to make more of an effort to let them drive what they need from me. These girls have lived with this disease for so long that they don't know anything different. They have grown with the support of some amazing health care providers, teachers, mentors and friends. It might be time for me to learn from them and take as step back and trust what they know. I am excited to discover what these amazing young women will teach me.