I must admit to not having spent the past decade in a flurry of positivity. The relentlessness of juggling all T1D throws at a child and family would, I believe, test the patience of even the most devout saint! Some days have been so difficult to square up to, and yet we did, and have overcome all manner of trials and tribulations.
Being a Montessori teacher has helped me enormously when it comes to Pumplette and her T1. One of the first lessons one learns when training to be a directress in a Montessori environment is the importance of one’s own conduct. The absorbent mind of the child misses nothing, registering both verbal and non verbal communication from the adults around them, regardless of whether or not they were directed toward the child. To this effect, I knew Pumplette would look to me for cues about how she would respond to her diagnosis and the differences that separated her childhood from that of her sisters’.
Armed with this knowledge I have embarked upon raising my child and her uninvited shadow, determined to ensure that she would shine and never be eclipsed by the shade the shadow cast. This means hiding my frustration at stubborn, perpetual high readings. Setting the example that we seek a cause but also accepting that sometimes we will find none. It means I must remain calm during the hypo fury, and guide her toward the things she needs without creating additional drama. It also means tough love at times, as we strive to ensure T1 won’t prevent her from participating in school or extra curricula activities. Helping her to realise that she will have days when she has to battle through those highs, and that whilst it isn’t pleasant it is a life skill she will have to develop in order to become a happy and successful member of the human race. For we have always strived to inspire her. We will not allow her diagnosis to become an excuse for her to dip out of aspects of life. She will not be ruled by her shadow. She will be the master and it will dance to her tune. And when T1 decides to change the tune without consultation, she will be adept enough to realise that this can happen and can be conquered too. But most importantly, if I’ve done my job correctly, this will not be faced with fear and trepidation, but with confidence and flair.
Of course there have been many times when I’ve fallen far short of the ideals I have set myself, but there are certain things I know I have got right for her. The confidence with which she faces the phlebotomists makes me swell with pride. As I see her confidently roll up her sleeve whilst happily engaging the nurses in chatter about her life, I have a glimpse of the commanding young adult she will become. I’ve always been honest with her about invasive procedures, whilst simultaneously not sensationalising them. These are necessary things that will form a background to her life and she has to be at peace with them. The fact that I wish it was possible to protect from these painful aspects of her diagnosis is, for her, irrelevant. It wouldn’t help her to see me indulge my sadness in front of her. That won’t create a strong and feisty character who’ll need to draw on copious amounts of tenacity as she grows.
So in summary, I guess what I’m trying to say is this. For our family, this works. Me putting best foot forward and leading the charge from the front. My sadness at my inability to protect my child from this diagnosis is just that. Mine. I refuse to make it hers. By doing this, I hope to raise a child who will be able to find her own peace with her diagnosis, and although I fully expect a bumpy ride along the way, the very least I can do for her is to kick my stones out of her way!