On a Learning Curve

Life may not be easy, but it's always an adventure.

Important Things

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Yesterday we discovered condensation inside the battery compartment and under the screen of S’s insulin pump. Uh oh. For an insulin pump that promises to be waterproof up to 12 feet for 24 hours, condensation means something is wrong. In about an hour’s time, however, I had ordered a loaner pump and replacement pump. Crisis averted, I thought. Not according to S. “Did you order me a pink insulin pump? I’m not wearing another pink pump.” No, I had not. I had completely forgotten to ask about the color. Had I thought to remember, I would have selected green, her favorite color.

Silver seems so grown-up, but I dutifully called Animas today to make sure they were not sending another pink pump. Both customer service reps laughed when I explained that my daughter happily wears her pump with little complaint but is now threatening a boycott if she has to wear something pink any longer. You see, she chose pink when she was 4 years old; in fact, the only reason she agreed to wear a pump at that age was because there was a pink option. Now at the ripe age of 8.5 years, pink is her least favorite color.

But the color is important to S. She knows how a pancreas is supposed to work, and she knows vocabulary words like glucagon, cannula, bolus, and basal. She loves the freedom that wearing an insulin pump brings, but she also longs for some sense of control in her life. Diabetes has taken away much of her independence: she cannot eat whatever she wants, she has to carry a glucometer and juice with her when she visits anyone’s home, and her mom insists on knowing where she is at. all. times. So yes, it is important that she be able to  select a silver pump, and I am happy to oblige her request.

The other day I was chatting with a longtime friend about how we were spending the summer. Ten years ago, we were both Marine wives who taught high school English, coached girls’ soccer, and went home to our husbands and dogs. Life was easier and simpler. Now we have followed our husbands to separate coasts. Neither of us is teaching or coaching at the high school level, and only one of us has canine companionship. Both of us have the privilege of raising a daughter or three, and both of us have known extraordinary hardships and disappointments in the past decade. My friend (Look, J, you’re in print! Thanks for subscribing!) told me that she was impressed that I was still living my life the way I wanted to live it. I can’t remember what I replied because I was shocked by her words.

Had you asked 22-year-old me what I would be doing in the years following college, I wouldn’t have imagined that I would be homeschooling three children or that I would have dropped out of grad school. I couldn’t imagine at that point how children would completely change my heart, or that I’d be content to stay at home with small people for the past decade. But these are the values and choices that are important to 39-year-old me. Having loved and lost three children, I don’t want to miss any of the big moments in these girls’ lives. Yes, I let my teaching licenses lapse. No, I did not finish a master’s degree in library science. No, homeschooling was not something I always wanted to do. Yes, it is stressful to manage S’s diabetes and G’s attention problems. And yes, that’s why I have taken up running with a vengeance lately.

These are the things that are important to me: family, friendships, striving to find balance in all areas, recognizing that I cannot control all aspects of life, and surrendering to a God who has my best interests in mind. Having a career and earning all sorts of accolades pale in comparison to understanding that silver is the perfect choice for a new insulin pump.

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