Sunday, June 21, 2015

Best Year Ever

It’s the last week of school and I am picking Ben up.  After not so patiently waiting for him (I hate the pick-up circle) I spot him running across the courtyard with his garbage bag stuffed with dirty gym clothes he finally cleaned out of his sports locker (seriously gross.)  He pops open the back of the van, throws in his backpack and dirty laundry then yells to me, "I still need to go to the nurse's office to get my stuff."

As he runs off again, I slowly move the van up to the front of the pick-up line and continue my game of Candy Crush.   Before I can finish my next level, Ben is in the back seat.  He throws me the sheet of paper with his daily BG log and says, "Let's go."

I put the van in drive and before I can say anything annoying about his BG log, Ben announces, "Mom, this was my best school year ever!"

This surprises me a bit because this past year was Ben's first year in the middle school and it wasn't a year without its challenges.  I ask, "Really?  Why do you say that?"  Then I tease, "It's certainly not because you did so well in Math."

He laughs and says, "No.  It's not because of that … my grades.  It's because this is the first year everyone stopped asking me questions.  No one asks me about my pump or why I have to go to the nurse.  This year I just was ... I just was one of them."

I’m a little stunned.  I wasn’t expecting that.

Jeff and I fought so hard this year.  We fought the school for more independence for Ben.  We fought our own fears, allowing him to go on more sleepovers, letting him walk to the center of town after school to have pizza, and all the while managing his diabetes on his own.   And it was tough (so tough I couldn't even blog about it.)  Jeff and I butted heads at times, because it was scary, like very, very, very scary, but maybe it was all worth it.

My heart swells, "That makes me so happy."

I am watching him in the rearview mirror.  He is looking out the window smiling at his friends who are horsing around still waiting to be picked up and he says, “That makes me happy too.”

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Buzz … Buzz … Buzz.

I open my eyes but I see nothing.  It’s dark.

Buzz … Buzz … Buzz.

I slowly wake up, realizing Ben’s CGM is vibrating on the night stand beside me.  I reach over carefully slapping around trying to find the buzzing CGM without, at the same time, crushing my eye glasses I stupidly placed right next to it.  Eventually my hand feels the familiar leather case.

Buzz … Buzz … Buzz.

Will Ben be high or will he be low?  My foggy midnight brain is unable to guess.  I flip open the case and push the button.  The bedroom lights up from the glow of the CGM screen.  I squint to diffuse the too bright light and see … 275.  I guess he is high tonight.  I check the time, trying to decide if it’s worth getting up and leaving my very warm bed.  It’s only 1 am, 6 hours until we start our morning business, too long to let this high go unattended. I throw back my ever-so-warm covers and feel a rush of cold winter air.  I shuffle to the bathroom where I assemble Ben’s test kit and then shuffle down the hall to Ben’s room.

I flick on his bedroom light.  Ben doesn’t move.  He is used to these middle of the night intrusions.  I wait a second and let my eyes adjust.  I don’t see Ben.  I never do.  He sleeps in a ball completely covered by his blankets.  I sit down on the edge of his bed slowly pulling back the covers searching for a limb, an arm, a hand.  I find his elbow and try to pull his arm out from under the covers without twisting it into horrible hurtful positions.  I finally find his hand and place it in mine.  It feels so big, so strong … Wait! What?  Ben’s hand is almost the size of mine.  That can’t be.  He is my baby.  Maybe I have the wrong child.  Maybe someone else is under that pile of covers.  But then I see the tell-tale signs, this hand, these fingers have been pricked before.  I see on the sides of his fingers the calluses that have developed over the years, 6 years of blood checks.  And I know its Ben.

6 years ago when Ben was first diagnosed he had just started 1st grade.  He really was my baby, so sweet and fun loving.  He was still wearing his Harry Potter costume to the movies and his Obi Wan Kenobi costume (his Ben namesake) to the super market.  And I was scared.  I was scared for my baby to be out of my sight.  I picked him up every day after school because I was too scared to let him take the 30 min school bus ride home.

But it’s been 6 years and Ben isn’t my baby.  He is in 6th grade, in the middle school, writing papers and taking math exams.  Just this weekend he went to movie night at the all-girls school down the road, he went out for pizza after and spent the night at a friend’s house, all without me (or his dad) hovering and nagging.  He managed his diabetes on his own.  I was still scared.  I didn’t sleep a wink the night he wasn’t sleeping in his own bed right here at home.  But as I sit here holding his hand, his grown up hand, marveling at how much time has passed, I have hope … hope Ben will grow up healthy and strong.  (We have already made it so far.)  And despite all my fears I have hope Ben will be OK.