At swimming lessons last week, I had an interesting encounter with another mom.
When we arrived at the pool, I did what we usually do: I sent the boys in to change into their bathing suits, then Eric came out to give me his pump and get a blood sugar drawn. He was lower than I wanted him before an hour-long swimming lesson (84), so I gave him some juice and a couple of lifesaver candies to bring his blood glucose up enough to get through the class without a low. I barely noticed the woman standing there with her baby boy, watching through the window while her daughter, who must have been about 4, was doing her lesson, but she obviously noticed us. She waited till Eric left the room, then said, "You're amazing."
I made a noise like, "huh?"
"I'd be so scared," she explained, waving her free hand at the meter I was putting in Eric's bag.
I thought about this for a second or two. I made a point of meeting her eyes and said, "The first three to six months were complete terror. I hardly slept at all, and when I did I was in his bed with him. But after a while... it settled down, and we got into a rhythm. And now it's just part of life. We've been doing it six years now, and it's pretty much routine."
She didn't seem to be able to grasp that. "I just can't imagine having to do all that all the time," she said. I laughed. "You do more for that little guy there," I said, nodding at her baby, "than I do for Eric now. I mean, yeah, when he was younger, it was harder, but that's true even without the diabetes. You learn, you figure out how to incorporate it into your day to day life, and on you go. It's no different than with a baby, really. And Eric is learning to do more and more of it himself."
This, actually, is truer than I realized, because he is now quite accomplished at taking his blood sugar, is learning how to program his pump (I keep reminding him, only with supervision!), and just the other day recognized a low on the bus and self-treated with a juice box.
I don't know how I could have gotten across all the learning that happened, all the help I had on the way, how much of a village it has taken to get from there to here. "I had a lot of help," was what I said, but it doesn't even begin to describe the process of getting from terrified jelly-puddle parent of new T1 to vigilant but not panicked parent of T1 child to where we are now, which can be best described as casually tossing a roll of smarties to a kid who says he wants to play outside for a while.... but keeping an eye on the clock.
As it happened, Eric didn't end up swimming that day — a kid in the preceding class yacked in the pool, so the lesson had to be canceled in order for the pool to be cleaned... and that, of course, threw his blood sugars off given that he now did not have the exercise to burn off the extra un-covered juice/candy input. *sigh*
But as she was leaving, the other mom said once more, "You really are amazing."
Part of me thought, Why? Because I do what has to be done? Because I'm not going to waste energy I don't have crying over something I can't change?
Then another part of me thought, You know... it's not so bad to have someone else think you're awesome when you don't have to do anything additional to earn it. I think I'll just go with that.
So there you have it. I'm amazing.