Both Shes were just loaded onto buses with 100+ other teenagers to head north for a marching band competition. Later they’ll head farther north to enjoy an overnight stay at a hotel and a full day at Cedar Point.
The older She is on one bus with her besties, including a new bestie who happens to be her homecoming date. He has a great grin, and I can tell he likes my girl. The weekend for her is full of potential, and her greatest concern will be checking herself to limit embarrassment.
The younger She, my sweets, will be doing a different kind of checking: time, BG’s, ketones, Dexcom arrow trends. Sure, she’ll care about her appearance and not embarrassing herself around these new friends she’s making, and in not screwing up during her first ever OMEA Marching Band Competition. But none of that matters. With illness, diabetes demands attention, quickly taking center stage.
It’s now 2:00 p.m. At 8:00 a.m. she woke up at Dad’s and was in rough shape: sore throat, head cold, and trace ketones.
And then this text: “Mom, I don’t think I can make it.”
When she’s there and I’m here, I’m at a loss. We just do things, handle these things, differently, He and Me. My only answer is to grab two bottles of caffeine water and pour two EmergenC packets into each bottle and note the carbs. Then put Vitamin B12 in a baggie with instructions. Later, I see her out on the practice field and make her drink it. She hates it. She makes faces. She pushes through. It is our way.
A few hours later, she’s sitting on the bus. My mental diabetes checklist has me making my way through feet and knees to get to her row to ask if she’s done a ketone re-check. Nope. We race off the bus to find an open bathroom in school. She pees on the ketone strip. Light burgundy. Small ketones. She’s burning fat she can’t afford to lose for fuel. We’d rather see beige. (The whole rest of the world sees beige as boring. We diabetic parents love seeing beige on ketone strips. Beige is beautiful.) I race with her back to bus, tell her dad to prepare a shot, and hop off.
As they pull away, my heart swells with happiness for the one bus which carries the She whose life is about to change, and squeezes with worry for the bus which carries my She who isn’t sure she can make it. She will be 5 hours away.
The difference in their lives startle me in this moment and I have a deep knowing that this will never change. I will always see the differences.
I’ve made plans for the weekend that include a band moms’ night out, and an easy family reunion gathering in a beautiful park. We moms of Children with Diabetes can plan, smile, play, clean, and shop; going about our lives as if we are normal people. The reality? We are pretenders. We are on call. Our phones are charged and within easy reach. We’ve formulated plan b’s in our minds, ready to ditch anything and anyone without a moment’s hesitation. We are worriers. We are rescuers.
We are moms of CWD.