Responsibility is a necessity when it comes to living with diabetes. Diabetes doesn’t go away; it doesn’t take a break; it doesn’t give you a night off. As adults, we are accustomed to having responsibility. But it really breaks my heart sometimes to think about how much responsibility I expect my nine-year-old to have.
I have always been a “consequence driven” person. As early as I remember, I stopped doing things because they could potentially be dangerous or put me in positions where I might be made fun of.
What I used to consider the “responsible” trait, I have now realized was me living with a lot of fear. I was afraid of all the bad things that could happen. I could hurt myself, look awkward doing something for the first time, or not like something I ate.
Now I realize I was only looking at one side of the coin. I was not looking at all the GOOD “what ifs.” What if I had fun?! What if I liked the food?! What if I found a new hobby that I really enjoyed?!
I don’t want Logan, or his sister, to turn responsibility into FEAR. So while diabetes doesn’t give us a break, we don’t have to create fear while we live with it.
Part of that starts with what many of us strive to do…live without restriction! I am always amazed when people ask, “He can’t eat that can he, since he’s diabetic?” It really comes down to educating him (And myself, honestly!) that we are not striving for a restrictive diet. We are striving for a balanced diet. We want to have all the fun stuff: the birthday cake; the ice cream; the big bowls of yummy mac & cheese. AND we want to have the healthy food that fuels our body in a way that builds us up.
Then we get to recognize where we can incorporate a little more flexibility! Again, it’s about balance. Diabetes can feel very heavy sometimes with all the necessities, planning ahead, and device changes. How we keep those things less restrictive is to allow fun in other areas. Maybe it’s about having more friends over to play than we normally would be willing to have, or it’s going for an extra scoop of ice cream on the special days. Maybe it is even playing before homework gets done.
Whatever helps you balance the responsibility with still being a kid…LET IT WORK FOR YOU!
There is no right or wrong answer…so practice and see what works. We are all figuring it out as we go, which, in itself, can feel like a responsibility! Don’t give yourself more pressure than you have to.
This blog post is PART ELEVEN of IT TAKES A FAMILY: LIFE WITH TYPE 1, written by Lindsay Dunlap.
The Dunlap family lives with two generations of T1D, and Lindsay is graciously sharing their experience with us. If you’d like to connect with Lindsay, she’d be happy to talk about the highs and lows with you at email@example.com.
Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, including support for families through programs such as Camp Hamwi.