Today, I choose to celebrate Ryan, my T1d child. My child who chose last night at the mall to throw his quarter, given to him by dad, into a fountain and “wish for a cure.” This child who came home on Friday before MLK day and for the first time heard his “I have a dream . . . ” speech and admitting to his Nana that he almost cried when he heard of MLK’s untimely death and replied, “What about his dream?” This child who talked about heaven to his daddy and thought of his friend in Sunday School who’s mom is really sick and wondered if he was sad or scared and pondered about him for a while. This is also the son who in conversation last night mistakenly said that the only time he has juice is when he is high, stopped dead in his tracks, began to laugh hysterically and through giggles and snorts said, “Juice when I’m low . . . when I’m high would be bad!” Thankful that he can find laughter in it all.
My son, at six-years-old knows the seriousness of his disease. He remembers and describes what it was like before dx. He couldn’t sleep because he was using the restroom two and three times in the night (because of high blood sugars) or because he would wake up drenched in sweat and want to change clothes (because of low blood sugars). He remembers not feeling good but not knowing why or even how to explain it. He remembers, in his words, “watching the other kids play on the playground” at school because he was disoriented and weak from either crazy lows or crazy highs. He remembers the inability to be full from eating; he always felt hungry and never satisfied because of the starvation ketones and how the body reacts to them. He remembers the withdrawn personality and how he would experience separation anxiety being away from me and Jason instinctively knowing something was wrong in his little body but not being able to express it.
My son, at six-years-old also knows how to be thankful for insulin, OmniPod and advanced technology to make surviving and managing the disease possible and easier. He LOVES his pods. He loves that he only has to count carbs (which he is VERY good at) and punch a few buttons to eat WHATEVER HE WANTS (within the reasonable guidelines of ANY child with or without the disease). He is thankful for glucose tabs. Seriously! He loves that they are 4g carbs each and depending on how low his sugar is and the upcoming activity or lack of it, we can roughly pinpoint how many he needs to try to avoid the rebound highs . . . and BONUS: they taste like “a giant Smartie.”
This boy is amazing. Mature beyond his years. A joy to be around, ask anyone! And he’s MINE. He’s God’s gift to me. He chose Ryan for me . . . He chose Me for Ryan.
But God also chose ME to be mom to two other boys, and I celebrate then today as well.
Ethan, my eleven-year-old, my “tweenager.” And boy is he ever there! He is my JOY. He is most like me of the three. We butt heads often. But he “gets” me. This is the boy that wants to go to the mall with his friends, totally without me, but texts me every day at lunch just to say “Hey.” This is the boy who can’t decide if having a mom who will “go to bat for him” when he needs it is a “blessing or a curse,” then laughs out loud and looks away and softly says, “it’s a blessing.” The boy the swore off candy at Halloween when his little brother was dx’d (we’ve since corrected this thinking that Ryan can never have candy, but his willingness was amazing). The boy who sees the other child sitting alone at lunch and goes to sit with him. The one who went back and helped the crippled child with braces on his legs go out to recess. The one who respects adults to the point of not even defending himself when the adult is wrong. He has a gifted sarcastic sense of humor. And still curls up into a ball with his head resting on my arm sitting almost on top of me rather than next to me to watch a movie or a show on tv. I celebrate him today too.
And Aaron, my five-year-old . . . my baby. And my baby he will always be. He is my BONUS. My constant reminder that God not only answered my prayers for a second child but also gave me a third. My natural born commedian. My child who lives in his own world, entertains himself and is forever happy. My baby who sounds like a cartoon character because of the pitch of his voice and the sounds that he is still struggling with a little (th’s, s’s, etc). The one who, even a year post-dx, still asks when he wants something sweet to eat, “Does Ryan have enough carbs for that?” And you know, he is so much smarter than we give him credit for, he’s reading now, simple words and phrases and sounding everything out. He wants to do well in school and takes his time to do his work rather than rush though to get it done, and already taking a little teasing from his friends over it. He’s the one who’s two biggest heros are named Ethan and Ryan and loves nothing more than a warm blanket and soft pillow. He has a gift for making others laugh and everyone who is around him loves him. And I also celebrate this boy today.
Jason and I have been blessed with three amazing young men. Men who possess characteristics that were instilled in them by God, not taught or learned. They have huge hearts, brilliant minds and amazing characteristics. And I choose to celebrate these three gifts today.