… because I have to be.
My goddaughter’s mother once mentioned to me in passing that, “With kids, you can never think about you first. You know, if you are hungry when you get home, first you have to feed them and make sure they are taken care of. You have to come second.”
Now, the logical side of my brain knew that I was talking to a very healthy woman with a normal pancreas, one who COULD wait to eat without fear of passing out. But the emotional side of my brain, my heart to be exact, cried.
I WANT to be the selfless mom. I want to ALWAYS put Lily first. I want to get her food first, to engage in activities the minute we walk in the door regardless of my blood sugar level when I am lucky enough to be home with her from work, to spend the entire day outside never thinking about mealtimes and just following our stomachs, and to jump in the pool on a whim without disentangling an insulin pump first while she cries that the other kids are already in the water. But it’s not possible. For any of the above to happen, my body would have to take the responsibility of managing my insulin, and that is not going to happen.
My husband always, always, always jumps in when it’s my turn to take care of our child but a low or high blood sugar or equipment malfunction rears it’s nasty head. And I love him all the more for that, for being the perfect, supportive partner. But I still wish that I didn’t need the rescuing. I want to be the selfless mom, the one who doesn’t need the unplanned help.
I know what I have to do, I know what makes the most, logical sense: I should make the most of the moments I can enjoy (like the messy baking session in the photo above), and count my blessings that the times I need to focus on me when I was planning to focus on her are fewer than the times that things go as planned. This also gives me motivation to be a good diabetic–I know that if I work with my doctors to stay in the best control possible, I can be the mom I want to be more of the time than not. And I can be around a lot longer to support my daughter in all the ways she will need me as she grows.
And you know what, I think I have to deal with the fact that to make all of this happen, sometimes I HAVE to be selfish. I have to stop playing with playdough to test my blood sugar, and I have to leave the water park because my infusion set gets dislodged, and I sometimes have to guzzle a juice box (or two) as my screaming toddler demands one herself and I didn’t bring enough for both of us.
I hope, from the emotional side of my brain, and my heart to be exact, that when she is older she will appreciate that I was selfish and she will understand that because of this she still has me, a healthy me, with her to guide her through life.