For five years, my husband and I struggled with infertility. It was the most heart-breaking experience I have ever been through. During that time, I was in real emotional pain. Though I’m not strongly religious, I begged God for a baby. I asked him if I wasn't meant to have a baby, just give me the courage to move on. I never mustered up that strength and just kept pushing myself, my body and my husband. I was determined (and obsessed).
We tried in-vitro fertilization twice without success. We were devastated and nearly without hope. We tried one more time and it actually worked!! I always wondered why it took me so long. I also wondered what was the purpose of this third try working and the others not. I knew there was a plan for me. I just couldn't see it yet.
When I found out it was twins, Michael and I were thrilled! Wow! We hit the jackpot.
As I look in my backyard, watching my six year olds working as a team by whipping old lettuce heads all over the backyard for the deer, I now know exactly the plan that was in store for me, and it is much more than I expected.
First, I believe the purpose of my early trials and tribulations was to ensure that I was ready. Having a high-risk pregnancy, heart problems, twin infants, one with Type 1 diabetes, was the hand I was dealt. Six years of injections, disappointments and heartbreaks were my training. By the time I actually got pregnant, I was ready.
Second, I think these two boys were and still are my gift. Heaven's present wrapped in two swaddling blue blankets! Rocco's constant happy demeanor and easy, determined spirit fills me up every day. Despite the challenges of his diabetes, he is always happy and has a zest for life.
Then there is Zeke. I am convinced that Zeke is meant to be my and Rocco's guardian angel. He is the sweetest boy you will ever meet. He is sensitive to other people's feelings and can really hone in if someone is hurting. He knows exactly how to comfort them. He has a calming presence with anyone he meets. He even has a sort of magical spell over animals. His interests lie in quiet activities. He just has no interest for the loud, obnoxious ways the world can offer. He is the strong, silent type.
Third, I feel like Zeke was given to me to help me watch over Rocco. His personality allows for the openness to be aware of others, and because of his calm spirit he has the ability to hone in on Rocco's blood sugars and to sound the alarm. Also, Zeke has always respected Rocco's diabetes. When they wrestle like bear cubs, Zeke knows just how to work around Rocco’s insulin pump, infusion site and delivery line. This is not easy. Such an apparatus can definitely get in the way. Not a problem for Zeke. Also, when we have to stop doing something fun to care for Rocco's diabetes, Zeke never complains. He just sits and quietly waits. Then he proceeds on like nothing happened.
I think one of the reasons I was gifted twins, one with diabetes and one without, was so I can have an extra person with my son when I can't be there. Now, I don't dare give Zeke this job or burden. I would never put Zeke in charge of Rocco, but I have noticed it kind of happens organically. I also think it will grow stronger as the boys grow older. They have a very sweet best-friend relationship now and they look out for each other. I hope this stays true.
Even though Zeke doesn't have Type 1 diabetes, he has by default melded into much of Rocco’s “life style”. He eats the same foods, lives on the same schedule, deals with Rocco's mood swings, and shares the other minor inconveniences associated with diabetes. The only thing different is Zeke doesn't experience the physical pain or feelings of highs and lows. (This is a good thing: One time we checked Zeke's blood sugar because he was curious. He cried for twenty minutes. Cute! Rocco's felt strong and appreciated).
When they are eleven and riding their bikes to the nearby Seven-Eleven and Rocco gets a low, I know Zeke will bring him juice and wait with him until he feels better. When they are in college (Of course they will go together! Lol!), Zeke will help him if he is in trouble. Kind of like his diabetes designated driver. I don't expect this, but I hope so. A close friend once asked me "How do you think Zeke will feel when he realizes Rocco got diabetes and he didn't?" I simply said "Zeke’s got it too, in his own way". She knew what I meant.
It actually works the other way too. Rocco has deemed himself the "responsible one". When we are in a parking lot, Rocco is always making sure Zeke isn't lagging too far behind (something Zeke does a lot). Every morning, he also makes sure Zeke has all of his stuff in his backpack before school. He is constantly making sure that Zeke is paying attention and following the rules. Rocco LOVES to get things right.
Lastly, like all mothers, I think I have a great responsibility to create these two beautiful gifts into two amazing men. I feel as if God said, "You wanted them so here they are in virgin clay. Go and mold something amazing!” Just to make sure we also develop a little character along the way, we were also given some obstacles to make us grow some tough skin!
Having twins and a child with Type 1 diabetes isn't always easy especially when I can't always be there to protect them. I am glad God offered me another way to watch over both little boys - with each other.