Taking care of my twin boys has been such a wonderful experience. They are good children, with an old-school sense of how to behave. Not as in, "Children should be seen and not heard", but the kind of kids you can take to a nursing home to visit their great grandma and have them understand the moment is not about them.
I am proud of the nice little men they are becoming. But also, I am proud of myself. I have been“training” them since they were born. So, as I watch them react appropriately to situations that should be far beyond their years, I know I can take a little credit. Believe it or not, being proud of yourself can be hard for women and especially moms.
I also believe that without a strong adult presence to create some structure, little boys can sometimes get lost. My hubby Michael provides this structure in a playful way, without stifling the boys. I am very proud of Michael. Without him, my children would be over-protected and to be honest, kind of wussified. Ha ha!
When Rocco was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 22 months, our world changed (to say the least). At first, Michael, who is the realist, was devasted. He worried about Rocco’s struggle throughout his days but also wondered how we would pay for all of the medical costs that came with the disease. I have since learned that this is a normal male reaction. After the diagnosis, while we were in the hospital for three days, he focused on how to take care of his son as if he was studying for a board exam. The nurses said they had never seen such focus. However, I remember being angry at him for giving a crap how much this was going to cost. I remember being upset with him for not sitting with me and holding Rocco, our poor child was in the middle of struggling with shots, fluctuating blood sugars and living in a baby cage crib for three days. These were the concerns I had a the time. Every time I looked at Michael, he had his head in the Diabetes 101 book.
The minute we got home, Michael immediatley went through our cupboards and threw away practically everything that had the word sugar in the ingredients. (We now know that diabetics can have sugar and that sugar is an important remedy for low blood sugar episodes).
He did all this while I just sat and held our son, in the ER, in the hospital, at home. I didn't learn, I didn't read, I didn't throw away sweets. I just sat, holding our diaper-wearing son.
During the sugar purging, Michael got frustrated and yelled at me. He couldn't understand why I wasn't helping him. Looking back now, I think I was in a sort of shock. I am sure I was probably in the denial stage of grief. I couldn’t focus on the long-term impact on Rocco or on the probable financial impact of his care. Michael on the other hand couldn't see the current situation just the future one.
Although I was numb when we first got the diagnosis, the reality of our challenge has hit home as events have unfolded. When a significant moment comes up, I feel it, I write about it and I share it. I think I am the type of person who isn't strongly affected by things until I actually experience them. I have a strong survival instinct that is powered by immediately looking at the bright side even when major events occur. My reactions can pop up weeks or even months later.
For example, when my dad died during the month of April, I went into "go" mode. Selling his house, helping plan the funeral, and tying up his last loose ends. It wasn't until August of that same year that it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt the pain and the loss then, four months later, after all the jobs had been complete.
After six months of his diagnosis, we got Rocco's pump and a supply order bill came in the mail. It was only then that I felt the major financial impact. I realized then that this was the fear Michael felt in the ER, minutes before the doctor confirmed the diagnosis.
A couple of weeks ago, four years after his diagnosis, Rocco's blood sugar reached 23. I felt that. Big time. Thanks for letting me share my feelings about that. Michael couldn't put his finger on exactly why this was so life changing for me. I cried/sobbed for three days. I couldn't get a handle on my sadness. Until my friend suggested that I am finally mourning the loss of the life Rocco would have had without diabetes. I think it was so difficult because I saw first hand how very life threatening this disease could be. To be honest, I am still not sure how he is going to handle it all when he is by himself as an adult. I am hoping this will be clearer as he grows and I meet more Type 1 adults. This reality is what Michael felt in the first three days in the hospital.
When I turned down a job that was something professional I used to do before I had the twins, I mourned the loss of the career woman I once was and that I always thought I would be again.
Finally, when I sent the boys off to kindergarten and waited with baited breath for their first day to be over just so I could have my little birds back in my control, I felt the weight of the responsibilty of the diabetic 24/7 care that I will happily carry to Rocco’s adult life.
Sometimes, it amazes me that Michael and I can work so well together during the day to day operations. I thank him often for being so attentive and studious during the hospital stay in the beginning. As with many parents everyday, I only hope that if we work together Rocco and Zeke can become well adjusted to a lifestyle that most days is not well adjusted. As with any partnership, espcially ones that are being challenged everyday with needs that are not the norm, there are days when our differences can cause big-time friction. But so far, for us, this hasn’t often been the case. I am truly thankful to have Michael as my rock. I wouldn't want to do this on my own.
Having a child with Type 1 diabetes can be daunting for the two of us. I know that sometimes the responsibility lies only with one parent. I write this blog in part to help those people feel less alone. If you read this blog and you are a parent who is the lone caregiver for your child, please know that my respect for you is immeasurable. I take my hat off to you.
No marriage is perfect. But I am proud to say that Michael and I are somehow getting each other through it. I am hoping that love, respect and a sense of duty carries us all the way to the old folks home!
Ok so here are some pics of us over the past twenty years. Feel free to make fun of hair or clothes styles! Life's too short not to laugh!
One of our first pics. We were only dating here for a month! We were crazy about each other!
This is the day we moved in together. Notice the gross fridge! There. Did I distract you from the size of my shorts?
This is the day we got engaged. I waited six long years. We got married a year later.
Ahhhhh.... Grad day!
I still do!
Honeymoon in Costa Rica. This still one of our favorite days.
DINKS! Double Income, No Kids... Hawaii
New York, New York!
Yes, after five long years... Dreams really do come true!
We still do!