My husband and I have often discussed how diabetes may or may not have affected who I am today. He declares it one way. I, resentful, declare it another. I assert that I would still be me without this burden, this tedium, this insistent voice squealing from my back or beep-beeping from my continuous glucose monitor.
But as I woke my precious child to deal with the issue of the moment, Dan Hurley's words from Diabetes Rising came to mind:
"Diabetes is a child that you can't make stop crying. In the beginning you can rock it, you can pat it, you can change its diaper, you can feed it. But after a while, when you haven't had any sleep and it's still crying, you're ready to call it quits...It's a fight you sometimes feel like fighting, and sometimes you don't."
And I have to wonder how diabetes prepared me for motherhood.
Yesterday afternoon, in the car, I found myself annoyed that my little Sweetie would NOT stop crying. If you're a mom, you've been there. You just need a moment of silence to get it together. But the crying didn't stop long enough for me to focus. So over the noise, I glanced at the clock, saw that somehow naptime and feeding time had converged on NOW. And she hadn't had her usual dirty diaper in nearly 48 hours. And her teeth were hurting. So I pulled off the road. I nursed her, at her pace, for half an hour. I changed the diaper that finally came. I rubbed her little gums with medication. And she passed out blissfully for an hour and a half in her carseat, which meant I parked outside the house for an extra hour listening to NPR so she could finish the nap she needed.
Diabetes is like that.
It's never one thing. It's the new pump set you put on at 5:30 that that might have delayed absorption, the Austrian spaztle you had no idea how to carb count for at dinner, the extra helping of sugar free cake you forgot to account for afterward, the fat and the protein conversion to glucose from the bratwurst finally catching up to you. And you sit there for an hour or so annoyed that you feel like crap, but too busy living your life to go test to get a number...and the number comes up and it's 404 mg/dL. And you wonder if you're going to get any sleep tonight. But, like a mother, you sigh and you commit yourself to it, even though it's still crying. And you go get a syringe and a new bottle of insulin. And you wash your hands and check again. And you check on it every so often to make sure it's coming down. And you stay up with it when you'd really like to lie down. And you get back up with it when you hit 50 mg/dL the next morning and drink your apple juice like a good girl.
It's no wonder I'm against the "cry it out" method of parenting. It never works for diabetes. Ignoring it doesn't do anyone any good in the long run. I tried that. I let it cry for many, many...many years. And like we attachment parenters so often say, you become desensitized to the child's cry, but they don't need your attention any less. I think I needed that reminder today.