Archives for December 2015

Just Like Her

american girl dollAs our kids have gotten older, the joy of Christmas has been amplified. The excitement leading up to Christmas morning takes me back to 5-year-old Kristina hoping Santa saw my wish list consisting of all-things Barbie.

Imagine my joy this year when I stumbled upon a website that sells 3D printed insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors for dolls. I just knew Isabella would LOVE them. In fact, I was pretty sure they’d be some of her favorite Christmas gifts. I promptly filled my online shopping cart with all of the supplies that would soon make her Barbie “just like her”!

On Christmas Eve I strategically placed the teeny tiny wrapped gadgets in her stocking…knowing we’d be saving one of the best gifts for last. I wondered if I should have brought one of her Barbies up from the basement since I was certain she’d want to do a “site change” as soon as she opened them up. I didn’t want to delay Barbie’s pesky two hour calibration window for her new glucose monitor any more than necessary!

Once the wrapping paper dust had settled Christmas morning, the old “Oh, look! He filled your stockings, too!” set off a flurry of renewed excitement. One by one the kids dumped their loot onto the floor. As they pushed aside their reindeer Pez dispensers and packs of gum, they began unwrapping their final bursts of holiday joy.

As Isabella ripped the paper off the miniature Dexcom, I knew I had made a mistake. The expression on her face…I’m still not really sure what it was. Disappointment? Curiosity? Confusion? What I did know was that it wasn’t the one I had envisioned when I clicked “place order now”. It wasn’t excitement and it certainly wasn’t joy. In fact, for a brief second, it almost felt like sadness.

I looked at Greg with a face signaling that this wasn’t the way Christmas morning was supposed to end. I watched as Isabella looked between her toy medical devices and her sister’s miniature Lite Brite and her brother’s Storm Trooper keychain. Her “gift” didn’t feel so much like a gift, after all. At that moment it was me who was filled with sadness…and a little bit of shame.

I had, once again, made it “about diabetes”. I had assumed that Isabella WANTED her doll to be just like her. But she didn’t. Actually, I don’t know that she’d ever even considered that her doll COULD have diabetes. She’s never once asked why her dolls don’t have T1D and she’s never said she wished they did.

This week it was announced that the American Girl empire has developed a type 1 diabetes accessory kit. Had I heard this news just one week ago I would have been first in line to throw down the $24 to make sure Isabella’s doll would have one. In fact, I would have driven two hours to the closest store and purchased extras for all of Isabella’s T1D BFFs, just knowing they would be a hit!

But not today.

Today I will let Isabella make that decision. Today I will not assume that in order for her to feel accepted she must be surrounded with dolls “just like her”. Today, instead of making assumptions about what will make Isabella happy, I will ask her.

Thank you to American Girl for giving our daughters the choice to have their dolls be just like them in so many ways. I love that the brand is embracing the many differences of young girls today and feel fortunate that, whatever Isabella chooses, her doll can be just her…

Or not.

Cheers to Changing the World,

Losing Sight

filling-my-cup-title-800x1200I am stubborn. Like, really REALLY stubborn. Probably one of my worst traits is that I think I’m invincible. I take pride in being the working mom who does it all and rarely suffers a Pinterest fail.

And I like it like that. No, I LOVE it like that. I thrive off of accolades and the “how DO you have the time and energy to do that?!?” queries. I am in a constant battle of one-upsmanship. Not with other moms, though…with myself.

Those teacher gifts? They’ll be much more creative next time…I just need to get a glue gun.

That Elf? Oh, I know the kids will be even more excited when they see what I have planned for TOMORROW night!

Our next family trip? Wouldn’t be complete without surprises hidden in the kid’s special airplane bags (yes, SPECIAL AIRPLANE BAGS!)!

A few weeks ago I had dinner with one of my very best friends who re-hashed the horrors of her ill-fated assignment as “room mom” for one of her kid’s school parties. “Never again” she said as she recounted the judgy judgerton eyes of the other expert room mom moms when they realized my friend hadn’t brought forks.

“No FORKS! What will they eat their grapes with?!?”

After our laughter died down, all I could think was that I am THAT mom…without the judgy judgerton eyes, of course.

“We need a volunteer to make reindeer crafts at the party” = That’s ME!
“Is there anyone who can host the next family picnic?” = ME ME ME!
“Anyone interested in chairing this committee?” = OF COURSE! IT’S ME!!!

Which brings me to my New Years Resolution for 2016…

If you thought I was going to say “I’m hanging up my cape!”, you don’t know me well enough. Remember that part about me being stubborn? Well, no flipping of the calendar will change that. But here’s what has to happen this year, and what I am truly going to make an effort to do.

I’m going to take better care of me.

Yeah, yeah, I know that this is the standard “Resolution Heard ‘Round the World” each year. But for me, this year is different…it has to be.

Two years ago while attending the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference I decided to take advantage of the free retinal screenings that are offered. I’ve had 20/20 vision my entire life and, being the perfectionist that I am, I wanted to keep my perfect record going.

After a series of tests at a handful of fancy machines I was told by one of the staffers that Dr. Ben would need to speak with me before I left (cue ominous music). I had no idea who “Dr. Ben” was or why he needed to chat…I just assumed he would be coming to give me a congratulatory high five for having rocked the exams.

I was wrong.

After shaking my hand and introducing himself, Dr. Ben asked me if my husband was also at the conference and if he could come meet us. While most people would have been nervous about why he’d be making this request, my over-confident self thought Dr. Ben just wanted Greg to be there to share in the high fiving.

When Greg arrived Dr. Ben asked us if I had any stress in my life. Hah! Hilarious, right?!? Here we are at a type 1 diabetes conference with 3-year-old triplets. Stress? Nah. Life is easy peasy.

Though his face was full of kindness, it was obvious Dr. Ben was concerned about something. He proceeded to tell us that the detailed scans of my eyes showed the beginnings of retinal detachment and that the cause was most certainly stress. His message was clear: I needed to eliminate some causes of stress in my life or the progression would continue.

I promised Dr. Ben that I would take it easy and that I’d delegate some responsibilities at home to Greg. I told him that I’d try not to succumb to my desire to be super mom, and to not worry if things didn’t turn out just perfect.

I made all of these promises to Dr. Ben, to Greg and to myself…

But I lied.

Fast forward to July 2015. Same conference. Same exams. However, I was confident that the results would be different…and they were.

Dr. Ben shook my hand and asked me if I could call Greg again to meet us. I did so happily knowing he wanted us both to hear how proud he was of the strides we’d made in the past year and that things looked great.

He asked me if I’d taken his advice from the previous year to try and eliminate some stress from my life and if I thought the scans would show improvement. I nodded confidently and told him I thought I’d done a good job of delegating and not trying to do so much. I could tell by the look on his face that the smile on my face and the upbeat tone of my voice wasn’t going to change the truth.

As the doc walked us through the images of my retinal scan, pointing out the quadrants in red indicating the already irreparable damage, I could feel the reality of my choices settling in…

“You will develop tunnel vision and you’ll slowly lose the ability to see…”

Believe it or not this statement wasn’t the one that drove home the severity of the situation. The realization that I would possibly begin losing my vision didn’t do it. It was his next statement that brought the lump into my throat:

“Your daughter could, at some point, need you to administer a life-saving Glucagon injection. What will you do if you can’t see well enough to do that correctly? What if your vision is so impaired that you don’t have the ability to save her life? You can’t take care of your daughter if you don’t first take care of yourself.”

In that moment I realized that most parents, let alone parents of a child with any type of special needs, rarely consider taking care of themselves FIRST…or even second or third. You know that moment before a plane takes off when the flight attendant tells you to put your mask on FIRST, and then help your child? How many of us actually think that way on a day to day basis?

In that moment I realized that to be an awesome mom, wife, entrepreneur and friend you don’t have to do it all. The floor can get mopped tomorrow but your kids won’t always ask you to play Old Maid with them, or to listen to them read a book for the first time.

In that moment I remembered the quote “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” I realized that, though my heart and my pride were full, my cup was nearly empty.

So this year I am making a resolution to take care of myself. I vow to put my mask on first and not worry so much about that load of laundry that’s been in the dryer since last week. I will take time to paint my nails and read People magazine…guilt free. I will be ok with the kids eating PB & J on a weekday.

I am making a commitment to fill up my cup and, when I am room mom for the class party…

I will purposely forget the forks.

Cheers to a Cup-Filling 2016!