By Chanda Alicea
Its’s Mother’s Day morning and I am doing the same thing that I have been doing every morning for the last month and a half: making my daughter breakfast and feeding her just like any normal parent does. But things are different now. Now we’ve had to add life saving measures (actual facts, not a statement for dramatics) to every single meal since she’s been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The following steps for what breakfast now entails are:
1) Prepping food
2) Checking her blood sugar
3) Doing math to figure out the total carb count and units of insulin needed to cover said food.
4) Giving an insulin shot to cover carbs for previously mentioned food.
5) Documenting the time of the shot so I know when I can check her sugar again for an accurate reading.
I’ve spent the morning enjoying our time together, but I’ve also been reflecting about what my role as her mom means now. EVERYTHING has changed. There are moments where I look back at memories of our life before her diagnosis and it’s honestly bittersweet knowing that what once was will NEVER be again. As her mother, it’s very difficult to see photos of our life in the weeks leading up to that diagnosis. I am filled with guilt because now I know how sick she was and like any mom in my position I keep asking myself how I missed it.
Over the last 8 years, this girl has turned me into a first time petrified mom who was unsure that I would be able to do this to a mom who has learned how to fight for her kid and has taught me how to have patience that I never thought possible. She has taught me to be strong enough for two people, how to fully embrace her being far girlier than I was as a kid and that the small things really aren’t worth stressing over. She gave me the strength to not care what people think of her outbursts in public when we were in the thick of her sound sensitivity, and how important it is to love and accept myself to be better for her.
She has me wearing my heart on the outside of my body 24/7. Thinking of where we’ve been with her health before, what we’ve faced this last month and a half and where we go from here fills me with mixed emotions and brings me to tears. There are no words to describe the physical heartbreak and pain I have recently felt for her. It’s so much that sometimes it seems unbearable. I don’t know what our future holds in a lot of ways, but I do know that even though it doesn’t particularly feel like it right now, we’re not alone, we have each other and we’ll be able to fight through it with grace and tenacity together.
I can honestly tell you that this was not the Mother’s Day I expected, but it was the one I was handed. This life changing period has given me a lot of time to find a new perspective. It has given me an opportunity to see my daughter in a new and admirable light. It has brought me to a place where I am loving and appreciating even more than before that I was blessed enough to be chosen to be this brave girl’s momma bear.