Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why bittersweet?

The title of my blog.   Ahhh.  Well, more sweet than bitter.  I know your life with a D child is too.   D just casts a certain cloud over normally happy and stress free events.  But you manage, you factor in diabetes like it has its own persona (which the volatile little b@stard actually does). 

I recently read a friend on facebook had posted.

'When life deals you lemons... find some vodka'.

Anyway, todays post is about two seperate incidents.  Bittersweet, both of them.   And both happened this morning.   Just thinking about them makes me tear up. 

Both tore at my heart in a similar way. 

Where my kids are concerned there is only the deepest most protective kind of love.  Selfless.   The word slave The word servant comes to mind.

Ordinarily, I dont make a habit of looking around my sons room, as I clean up I stack his precious papers and writing books and put them into his draw.   Hes quite prolific, writing out poems and songs and stories with illustrations,  hes also a list maker and note taker.  Love this about him.   For some reason today, I picked up some books and flicked through.   There were words in his immature-learning-to-write-scrappy-little-boy-trying-to-stay-inside-the lines-kind of way.

He had written a story entitled 'My little brother Reuben'.

My breathe caught in my throat, and I swear I almost turned blue.

He wrote 'My Mum has to keep him alive.  I hope she can keep him alive every day.'

My head spun and my heart raced.   Diabetes is a huge deal, and we pray together regularly for things, I guess this story was a heartfelt prayer, a big brother, worried about his little brother, and this disease.  Painfully aware of the stress it causes his parents - the weight of this on his little 7 year old shoulders.  My smart, funny, sensitive little boy.    Seriously this just makes me so proud and sad, all at once.

The other incident...

It happened early, straight after Reubens morning test and insulin dosing.   Josephine has taken to helping me invert the cloudy protaphane insulin, she also begs to flick the needle to get rid of the air bubbles.   Amongst other little things, shes always got the needle clipper ready for me to take the sharp needle off the end ready for disposal.   

Today after the needle was safe, she wanted to give her stuffed elephant some insulin, so I took the opportunity to talk with her about Reubens pancreas being effectively dead, and when she eats sugar her body knows what to do, but Reubens got to have medicine given to him.   She surprised me and told me she knows that when hes low, he needs sugar.  When hes high he needs more medicine.    Frickety!  

Suddenly she stood up, a look of panic on her face, and yelled 'Hes hypo hes hypo!' (The elephant that is, not Reuben).   I follow her out to the kitchen and shes got some string cheese from the fridge and stuffing it forcefully into the fabric mouth.   So, okay this is all amazing, shes got the hypo sorted, except that I had to explain that cheese will do nothing for a hypo and she better give her elephant something with sugar in it, like a juice.   

Normal innocent childhood play, with diabetes in the house.   Sad, but proud.

Thats why its *bittersweet*.


  1. I so understand that combination of pride and sadness. Our kids absorb so much, and of course, it all eventually comes out in some form or another.

    "My Mum has to keep him alive. I hope she can keep him alive every day." -- Oh, my!!! What a profound statement coming from such a young little guy. So poignant!

    Our kids absorb so much

  2. Your children are so wonderfully in tune to what needs to happen daily to keep Reub's alive and safe. They are caring and nurturing children that you are "en-slaven" (word?) to. :)

    Bittersweet indeed my love. xo

  3. Siblings help those of us living with "D" get through our lives even after we move out and live separate lives. I LOVE that even at their young ages, your kids are so caring and thoughtful toward little Reuben. You are all so blessed to have each other!!! Loved this post Jules, bittersweet yes, but absolutely beautiful. (((hugs)))

  4. Wow - your kids are SMART! Rueben's lucky to have such a great family (and mom with such a tender and wry eye)!

  5. love this post Jules...reading your son's prayer that you find totally brought tears to my eyes...what a sweetheart. and your little girl too...totally reminded me of shortly after emma's diagnosis when i saw her "playing diabetes" with her stuffed bear...D-siblings are the BEST!!

  6. Bittersweet, indeed! The prayer tugged at my heart!

  7. Jules, your babes are so sweet. I think often we parents forget that they not only hear all our worries but the emotions behind them, too. Such insightful amazing children :) I am glad you're raising your children in an environment where they aren't scared about diabetes, though - that they know there are ways they can help whether treating a hypo or praying an extra heartfelt prayer, you have a family of doers for sure :)