“Can I eat some of this cantaloupe?” Jack asked, while peering into the fridge.
“Sure,” I answered from across the room, standing next to Madeline, who was sitting at the kitchen table, working on her math homework, asking for help.
“Mom, I don’t get number 7,” Madeline said.
“I’ll look at it,” I offered.
Just then, Max appeared. “Will you read to me?” he asked, handing me his current favorite book, Max for President.
“Mom, my cantaloupe,” Jack reminded me. “I’m hungry. I want to eat. I just tested and I’m 113. Will you give me my shot now?”
“Mom, what about number 7? I need help. I’m stuck,” Madeline whined. “Can’t you help me, before you give Jack his shot?”
“I want to read now,” said Max, tugging on my shirt. “I’m supposed to read for homework, remember? Can’t we read now? I want to read now. I even have my book.”
“No, Max, she needs to help me first,” Madeline answered.
“No, she needs to help me first,” Jack said.
Ahhh, that’s life with three kids! It’s a good life, but I am often pulled in three different directions by three little voices all calling “Mom!” at the same time.
Most days, I can handle it. Most days, all of the kids’ needs, wants and reasonable requests are met. The mail might pile up and the laundry might wait to be folded, but my kids are taken care of.
On some days, however, I become overwhelmed, and I accidentally neglect someone or something. Earlier this week, it was Jack and his cantaloupe. I got sucked into 4th grade math homework and 1st grade reading, and I forgot about Jack and his cantaloupe. I forgot!!! Ugh!!!
After I’d finished reading to Max, a grumpy (and rightfully so) Jack, asked, “Mom, my cantaloupe, can I have it now? I’ve been waiting for hours and hours. It’s been like 7 whole hours already.”
It had only been an hour, but obviously, it had felt a lot longer to Jack.
“Oh, my gosh, Jack!” I exclaimed. “I’m so sorry! I totally forgot.”
Guilt set in. I felt horribly for making him wait. I still do. I know I’m doing my best. I know the kids are demanding and raising them would be challenging even without diabetes in our lives. I know there’s only one of me and three of them. I know I’m only human. I know mistakes happen, and I know there are worse mistakes to be made, especially when it comes to diabetes.
Nonetheless, I felt badly, and it’s still weighing on me three days later.
“You must be really hungry now. I’m truly sorry, honey,” I apologized. “I got so caught up with Madeline and Max that I forgot you were waiting for me.”
“It’s okay, mom,” Jack said. “But can I get my shot now? I want that cantaloupe.”
I was forgetful and he was forgiving.
His understanding gave me a small degree of relief, but again, I’m sitting here three days later, writing about it, because I’m bothered by the fact that I allowed myself to become distracted and therefore Jack had to suffer.
If I’d forgotten to check his homework or wash his favorite shirt, I wouldn’t feel so badly. But when it comes to his diabetes, I hate to screw up. Jack deals with enough; he doesn’t need me adding to his challenges.
Not only that, but this served as a giant reminder of the impact diabetes has had on us. Life with diabetes is about so much more than testing blood sugar, administering insulin, battling highs and lows, counting carbs, etc., etc.
When Madeline and Max are hungry, they can grab a snack, any snack, and eat. It’s not so simple for Jack. If he wants to eat something with carbs like fruit, he needs an insulin injection, and that requires me (or Gregg, but Gregg’s at work in the afternoons).
I wish life were easier for Jack.
This is one of those things that, unless you’re raising a child with diabetes, you would never know. You’d have no clue how challenging it is to stay on top of this blasted disease at all times. You’d never realize the guilt that comes from making a minor mistake. You’d take for granted the ease of doing something as simple as eating.
Life will eventually get a little easier...at least when it comes to Jack eating. As he matures and takes on more of his diabetes care, and perhaps after he switches from insulin injections to a pump, he’ll be able to administer his own insulin and eat more freely.
In the meantime, he’s stuck with me. Poor kid!