I've always done everything in my power to make sure Eric and Nate have the same opportunities, D or no D. But this week... Nate went to summer camp.
And suddenly, unexpectedly, Eric was jealous.
I have two very different boys here. Nate is outdoorsy, athletic, rough-and-tumble, enjoys (ENJOYS!) doing farm chores, can take or leave the electronics (unless, of course, he's competing with Eric for control of the iPad), likes to read books. Eric is much less physical, much more focused on what he likes. Which consists, primarily, of Legos and Minecraft. He doesn't care for going out on the boat when we visit my mom's lakefront camp, and he's not terribly interested in fishing. Last year, when Nate went to jukado camp for a week, Eric couldn't have cared less.
In retrospect, I shouldn't have been surprised that he cared this year, though. Because this year, there's a big, big difference. THIS year, Nate went to camp with my brother's 3 children — Cady, Charlie, and Harry. Cady is 12, Charlie is 10, and Harry, like Nate, is 9; all three boys are in the same cabin. And Eric, who greatly enjoyed hanging out with his cousins & brother to play Big Boy Games when we were out visiting them earlier this summer, is explicitly excluded from this club.
To make matters worse... Charlie piped up, "Well, why can't Eric stay too? There are other kids younger than him who are here."
Gut-wrenching, the truth: "Eric can't stay here because of his diabetes. There's no one here who knows how to give him insulin or change his sites, or what to do if he gets low or high."
Eric was angry. Very angry. We talked about it, of course, on the drive home after saying goodbye to Nate, and I reminded him that while there are a very small number of things he cannot do because of his diabetes, there are other things he gets to have or do that Nate doesn't. "Like what?" he demanded.
"Well, you get to go to the daycare and swim in the pool every day this summer. Nate doesn't, and that's because you have diabetes and he doesn't."
Eric allowed as how that was, indeed, a benefit. "What ELSE?"
"Well, you get to have candy and juice any time you feel low, and often Nate wants it but I won't give it to him because you need it."
Yep, that struck a chord, too.
I was running out of benefits. "You get to see Dr. Olshan, who is very, very funny, but Nate doesn't."
"Is he the guy who gives me shots?" [said with suspicion]
"No, he's the funny doctor who lets you play with his plastic thyroid model."
"Oh. OK." A grimace to indicate that this was a little on the lame side, but he does like Dr. O a lot, so it counted.
Please, please don't make me come up with another one...
A sigh. "But, Mom, I really wanna go to camp."
Cautiously: "We can probably arrange that, but it wouldn't be THIS camp. It would be a camp for kids like you with diabetes."
Thinking about that. "Would it be better than this camp?"
"Probably about the same." Think fast! "BUT, you should know that Nate wouldn't be allowed to go to it. Only kids like you can go. No matter how nice it is, they won't let him stay there. It's like... you can't go to Hogwarts if you aren't a wizard, and you can't go to Camp Half-Blood if you aren't a demigod. See how that works?"
Eyes wide. "I'm a DEMIGOD?"
Er... "Not quite. But you are special in a way your brother isn't, and that's why you can go to diabetes camp and he has to go to, uh, ordinary kid camp."
I know, I know... I am going to have hell to pay when Eric decides he needs to throw it in Nate's face that HE is going to HOGWARTS. But it's better than having him think of his diabetes as a giant liability to his fun.