One thing that I have been working on is making sure ALL of my children feel that I am there for them and that I love them for who they are. The fact is Diabetes has to be a priority in our house, there is no other choice. But it doesn’t have to be the only thing that exists; my children need to know that they matter the most. Finding that balance can be a challenge, being creative has come in handy for this exact purpose.
I am sure other families that deal with chronic illnesses or major life changing events struggle finding this same balance. Knowing limits, boundaries and capabilities is difficult. I can honestly say I feel as though making a conscious effort to know my children and them know me has been so beneficial for us all. There are so many things I absolutely hate about type 1 diabetes but fear to dwell on them too much; there have also been so many eye opening events and so much perspective brought into my life because of it and I am not sure if I would be able to see what I see now, as important and a priority on the level I do now. Perhaps my Heavenly Father knew that diabetes would help me recognize this.
Finding that fine balance where it all can exist cohesively is rough. Figuring out how exactly to go about making something a priority but not a defining character is quiet the task, still in progress. Remembering that something so big doesn’t define us, limit us or shadow over us is important. I do not think I have it all down; there are moments I have to be reminded of all this. Every day I try and put great effort to manage it all. The task can feel so impossible at times, and other time it falls flawlessly in place without any real effort. I know it is possible to redefine the balance in life and begin to get to the core of family.
Each of my children possesses unique qualities that I admire and want to harvest within them. They amaze me every day with their capabilities and compassion. I could name so many different qualities they all have as individuals. Every single day I try to balance Kinzie’s health/diabetes and my children’s specific needs. I want to make sure they always know I appreciate each of them, how they are and for what they do. It has been quite tricky, and sometimes I wonder if it will be enough.
Kinzie is an individual, who happens to have a chronic illness. It isn’t type 1 diabetes I see in her. I see her grace, dedication and loyalty. Her maturity and dependability are always there flawlessly. She is an amazing young woman, who I know can achieve anything. She loves her family and friends, and once a friend of Kinzie’s, you always will be. I try to separate diabetes and Kinzie, at times it is impossible; but when the opportunity arises, I take advantage. Diabetes doesn’t need to be her identity. She can be mouthy, moody and stubborn, but that is Kinzie. She stands her ground not afraid of being alone, walks away instead of engaging in battle. Even if I get 5 minutes in the car with her, I try to focus on her. We are often up late together and I get to have one on one with her where we can exists as mother and daughter, not nurse and patient. We talk about school, friends, goals, life…the most important thing to me is that we just talk. She is my hero.
Jared is my rock, our families rock. He is loving, steadfast and always encouraging. He is quick to help carry anyone’s burden and never complains about it. He wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn’t care who sees. He is a great protector, always on guard. He loves his siblings and takes the role as being a brother serious. When Kinzie is having a rough day, Jared doesn’t leave her side, he has slept on her floor next to her bed ready to be of service and watching her diligently countless times. He can be forgetful, distracted and easily falls off task, but his passion overrides it all. I stand in awe of my young man, he never waivers from his stance. He is my natural caregiver. Every chance I get I take to focus on him, from doing homework, reading to cooking…every second counts. He thrives on helping out and doing what is right. He can challenge me like no other, but melt my heart the next second. His heart will lead him to greatness and I can already see the changes he can make in this world. He is a pure example of unconditional love.
Chloe is 2, so you can imagine her gull. She is strong, loud and very in tune. She is smart, funny, and fearless. Her personality is already so big that sometimes I wonder how she fits it in her tiny little body. She is very confident and courageous, well aware of her sister’s needs. I think it is safe to say she can be obsessive (when it comes to Mickey mouse and Repunzel). If what we see in her is even a precursor to how she will live her life, I can only imagine the things she will tackle and accomplish. She is my strong spirit making it known to everyone when she walks in the room. She makes us all aware when she needs time with mom, we read books and play together all day long. She is quick to demand and faster to hug. She is my little lightening rod.
Mason is our baby, everyone’s little guy. He is sweet loving and cuddly. He has a laid back attitude but not afraid to demand. Always has a twinkle in his eyes. He came to this earth with great purpose, already knowing our families needs. He is the perfect match for us and makes us all better. He connects us all together, as he came after our struggle began, making us all more appreciative of the pure joy life brings. I cannot wait to watch him grow.
I never thought I would be where I am today. I am glad I get the special times I do with each of my children. We may have a challenge before us, but it has been possible to define ourselves without it. I want so much more for my children and can see all their possibilities. I hope they all grow to be advocates for greater cause, push past limits and never settle for second best. I refuse to tell them they can’t, won’t or shouldn’t…instead I try to focus on can, will, and should. I don’t want simple words to stop them in their progression.
No matter the struggle you are faced with, always know that there can be balance. The way we approach things often sets an unspoken tone. I am not perfect, I make many mistakes. I often fall off this daunting task, but am reminded to continue on my way. Every day has purpose and a chance to change and improve what we need to. You do not have to let your struggles or challenges define you, refuse to be the victim.