So, when I am introduced to a new group of women, I am always leery. I wonder if it will be the kind of group where they roll their eyes at the person who just walked out of the room. The kind of group where they call each other after a get together and say "Can you believe she said that?" I hate that group. I avoid that group.
About two years ago, I was invited to join a group of moms who care for their Type 1 diabetes children. They meet for breakfast once a month. The group is sponsored by JDRF. When I considered joining this group, I did what I have done for many years. I went in with a full-armor suit of skepticism.
To my surprise, they were a delight! These women talked and shared. They instantly threw out their most scary thoughts about the past month. The group listened with compassion and not judgment. To be helpful, they shared their own experiences. They offered positive solutions to help the struggling moms. Halfway through one of the early meetings, I whispered in my head, "These are my people!" I felt like I had found women each of whom served as a pancreas for a diabetic child. Women who knew what it was like to be married to your cell phone when your Type 1 child is away from you. They were honest about making mistakes such as giving too much insulin or not enough. Judgement calls that are made on an hourly basis. Early on, one lady had to leave early and no one talked about her after she left! This is always my telltale sign if I am involved in the wrong group. Another lady brought in extra diabetes supplies she had and gave them away -no charge!
When a cell phone rang, the group stopped everything and waited politely for the latest blood sugar reading of the child on the other end. When the mom hung up the phone, all focus was on her and her child. "Is he ok?" the leader of the group asked while we all held our breath. "He's fine! Just a kid in his class brought an unexpected birthday treat and I had to count the carbs." Everyone smiled around the table, relieved, and the conversation turned to dealing with unexpected treats. We started throwing around carb counts for everything from rice crispy treats to cupcakes.
Yes! Yes! These are my people!
The group reminded me of a herd of elephant moms. I know, I shouldn't use that reference for a bunch of women - LOL! This was a group of mom elephants caring for their babies. In an elephant herd, when one of the children is orphaned, the other female elephants take over in caring for that baby.
I sensed from the concern over the phone call that these women were my fellow elephant sisters!
It has been three years of knowing them and meeting them once a month and I love them! I have two of them on Rocco's emergency contact list. Enter elephant care. I know that if I were ever stuck, these women would swoop in and take care of my son(s). As I would for them! We have covered the phone for someone who had a job interview, we have shared supplies, and, I am happy to report, I have never seen an eye roll yet!
When a new child gets diagnosed, we lovingly invite his or her mom into the group! We try really hard not to scare a new mom with our diabetic speak of all the scary scenarios that could happen. We show the new ladies love, because the first couple of months can be very scary.
The best part is when we get together several times a year with the kids. Seeing other kids living a happy, healthy and normal existence with the disease is encouraging to newly diagnosed children. Watching the siblings of the diabetic children patiently waiting for the blood sugar number to pop up on their sibling's monitor makes this whole crazy world seem a little more normal. For everyone - siblings and all!
So, thank you ladies for being such a trustworthy, support group for me, Rocco and Zeke! I cherish our friendship and couldn't live without you guys! Maybe one day we can even get the husbands involved!
World, meet my people! Aren't they cute?