My week of “walking a week in her shoes” has turned into a 3-day experience that will just have to suffice.
A 14yo has the right to change her mind. But if she could have given fair warning (any warning) today of that change, there wouldn’t have been that cartoonish moment between us where all you heard were my eyelids blinking in disbelief, eyes big as saucers.
Those who really know me, or were any part of my adolescence and knew my parents, know that I was trained “Leo Buscalgia” style on the art of verbal and non-verbal communication. And I was forced to communicate well with both of my parents whether I felt like it that day or not. I channeled my mom big time today, with tapes of those communication lessons looping ’round and ’round and ’round my brain. I have come to expect good communication with my immediate family, especially from Pip with whom I’ve had an outstanding and open relationship, full of all levels of communication from the casual, “Hey, you know what I was thinking, Mom?” to deep, soul-searching discussions regarding her life. Or my life for that matter. She’s always been acutely aware, and has great perspective for someone her age – even prior to her diabetes diagnosis.
When she came home from dad’s I asked where she would like to put the next site [on me], she cautiously asked how long I was planning on keeping this up. Screeeeeeeeeeccccccchhhhhhh. Hold the phone! Say, what? “Why do you ask? We texted last night about a site change today. You even told me to wait for you to come home from dad’s so you could torture me all on your own.”
“Oh, I dunno. It’s just…” And that was that. I didn’t push. Something was up. Will I ever know what transpired overnight to change the energy surrounding me trying to walk in her shoes? All she’s ever wanted was for her parents to know, to understand, to feel, to believe.
Well, I do try to understand. As a matter of fact, I spend more time than she knows trying to understand. But the knowing part? We will never know all that our CWDs go through. Ever. It’s not realistic to ever think we will. Unless of course you have T1D yourself!
And, that part is hard for me to swallow, the not knowing. I advocate. I learn. I support. I give her rope when she craves more independence. It’s been working. Until today. I may someday find out what today’s change of heart was all about, and then again, maybe I won’t. And, I’ll have to find a way to be okay with that.
My oldest separated from me slowly. I actually urged her to spend more time in her room, because when I was a teenager the only way for me to separate was to get out of the house. Now it’s hard to get her to come out of her room and spend more time with family! As for my Pip, her turn came in like a tornado, eerily quiet for a spell, then fast and furious. Today felt like “aftermath” and I just wasn’t ready.
So, what’s a mom to do? Turn the focus on yourself again, even though you feel as though you just learned how to turn the focus off you and onto them. And, do something healthy. Selfish even! I did three, overachiever that I am:
#1: My husband and I asked both girls if they’d like to accompany us to the pool (fingers crossed behind our backs we’d have a rare Sunday afternoon date – it worked), gave short lists of chores to each one, packed a bag and headed out. For two blessedly-hot hours, including dips in the pool, avoidance of two loud-mouthed, flirtatious cretins (urban definition), and no talk of diabetes. Well, practically none. Baby steps, I tell ya!
#2: As I took a shower I cranked up the bathroom boombox to my favorite go-to song for Mom moods like the one I was having. And I sang. Loudly. This song has been special to me ever since its release. I listen to it when I need a reminder of the person that I worked hard to become. I listen to it and before the song ends I have a new plan. (Please tell me what your go-to song is. I really do want to know. But, if you really don’t have one, I’ll share mine with you. I do have to live up to that family nickname after all!)
#3: I read Meri’s timely blog post “Their Diabetes” from ourdiabeticlife.com and was inspired. Read it. It might inspire you as well. Thank you, Meri.
In the days and months to come, I will live by this mantra. And on the occasion I lose my way, I’ll just crank up Alicia and make a new plan.
Yes I will.
Yes I can.
Yes I am.