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Friday, September 9, 2011

My Precious Boy



It was an early release day, and so I picked up the kids from school at 11:20 a.m.
We drove over to Gregg’s office to pick him up for a family lunch. 
In the car, we were trying to decide on a restaurant, and the kids began to squabble over the options. One wanted pizza. Another wanted a burger. The third wanted Mexican or Chinese.
“Jack should decide, because he’s the most important,” Max said.
“Oh, honey,” I said with a sigh. “He’s not the most important.”
“Well, he’s more importanter,” Max replied.
“You’re all important. No one in this family is more important than another,” I explained.
“Are you talking about my diabetes, Max?” Jack interjected.
“Yeah, I mean Jack’s more importanter, cause he has diabetes.”

Fresh out of the ocean
Huntington Beach, California
July, 2011

Sweet, sweet Max, for him, the sun rises and sets with Jack. He adores Jack. He looks up to Jack. And Jack loves his role as Max’s older brother.
The boys are two years apart in age. Max was two years old when Jack was diagnosed with diabetes. Unlike Jack and Madeline, he doesn’t remember life before diagnosis.
I can remember Max at age two, picking up foods and asking in his toddler voice, “How many cahbs is dis?”
So I think it’s only natural for my now six-year-old to understand the importance and seriousness of his brother’s condition, but ay yi yi, I don’t want him thinking that diabetes makes Jack more important than he is.
When Jack was diagnosed, he was really into super heroes. So I started calling him “my super hero.”
Around the same time, I started calling Max “my precious boy,” which was a nod to Gregg’s grandma, whom I adored and who would call her beloved grandchildren “precie.” 
I’d ask Max, “Who’s my precious boy?” He’d point to himself and proudly shout “Me!” 
I still call him that. At night, when I tuck him into bed, and when his arms are wrapped around me, I kiss his neck or cheek and whisper in his ear, “Good night, my precious boy.” He’ll always be “my precious boy,” even when he’s 52. 
And Max is irresistible. Though he’s skinny now, he was my delicious, chunky, squooshy, squeezy baby. It was hard not to hug him and smooch his chubby cheeks all day long. It’s still hard, because he’s so darn cute. I can not get enough of Max.
Not only is he a super cutie pie, he’s an all-around good kid. He’s doing really well in school. He’s a caring friend. He’s truly funny with a great sense of humor (don’t tell Jack I said this, but Max is WAY funnier than Jack). I’m so proud of him, and I tell him that all the time.

Ice cream with a praying mantis
Disney's California Adventure
July, 2011

But it seems that no matter how often I call him precious, no matter how much affection I shower upon him, no matter how much praise I give him, he’s still harboring this notion that diabetes makes Jack more important.
And that breaks my heart.
I need to work on my little Maxie boy. Apparently, he does not realize just how precious he is. Damn diabetes.

19 comments:

Roselady said...

Those pics of your boys, and your descriptions, both priceless. When you're a mother, you can truly id all those special details about each one. I'm sure your littler one just thinks diabetes is important because it does have a way of putting its needs at the forefront. Both great boys!

The DL said...

I often wonder if my brother feels this way. I was older, 15, so he was 17...I think he understood that I needed more attention, but that didn't mean they loved me more. Maybe take some special time to remind him of that.

Lora said...

He is way adorable!!! I am sure he knows how precious he is because you make sure of it!!

Alexis said...

Syn was 3 when J was dxed. He says the same thing and I wish I could help him understand both are equally important.

D makes things so complicated.

What a precious boy indeed!

Kelly said...

Precious boy indeed!...and I damn diabetes with you girlfriend.

Thanks for the words of encouragement and support on my post today they meant alot...thanks also for your suggestion of Lantus instead of NPH...we have tried Lantus but Sugar Babie didn't tolerate it well so we had to go back to NPH...damn diabetes!

sky0138 said...

what beautiful boys you have! Emma is my only child, so I've never had to manage the sibling aspect of diabetes...my heart goes out to you and all the other Momma's out there struggling to make their other kiddos feel just as important. HUGS to yoU!

Holly said...

I'm so sorry. I know how D messes things up. You obviously adore them all-I'm sure they know it. Maybe he just wants to help Jack have good blood sugar? : )
Bless you this weekend, hope you make more amazing memories and pictures (those are AWESOME, Heidi!) Hugs!! : )

Reyna said...

This is perhaps one of the bigger struggles I have had in parenting a child with type 1 diabetes...the sibling fallout is difficult to balance, manage, and predict. Love to you and your sweet Max Heidi. He is precious indeed. xo

Meagan said...

Aw, they sound like awesome brothers! It's good that you think of these things so you can show them both how important they are. I am sure you are doing just fine!!! Adorable pics by the way!!!!! :)

Sarah said...

sometimes I wonder if the trouble isn't that kiddos just lack the words to express the way they feel about it all - maybe he really meant that he didn't know which foods might be alright at that time of day or with certain numbers. I know that sometimes at our house we change meal plans due to tough highs that aren't going down.
But still no matter what it stinks, knowing that our children with and without diabetes think about diabetes so often. I hope this weekend is incredible and you guys do something exceptionally fun together as a fam, I always love reading about your boys ;)

connie said...

I remember when Miss E was first diagnosed I was worried about how that would affect Lil Miss C, I didnt want her to feel left out or feel that her older sister was more important then her. Of course, unfortunately, Lil Miss C was diagnosed with t1d 11 months after her big sister so those emotions were never something we had to address but I do remember the concern I had.

I feel your pain and I can not imagine how difficult it is to reassure your kiddos that they both hold equal space in your heart and that they are both important and special. You are doing an amazing job! Hang in there :)

Love the pics!

Tracy1918 said...

Wow. Heartbreaking and yet, you are clearly raising sweet, thoughtful boys. Shows what a great mom you are, despite diabetes!! 

Cara said...

It's heartbreaking because it effects the whole family. It's so sad to think that this little child thinks he's not as important. Because sometimes diabetes makes ITSELF the most important thing in our lives.

shannon said...

oh, i really like what sarah suggested, as it hadn't even occurred to me!

love the pics btw.

Wendy said...

Ugh.

Straight through the heart.

I love these pics of your Precious Boy. He's amazing.

So is his Mama.

Jules said...

Awwwww, so sweet. Beautiful photos! I too have the hero worship going on in our home so I know what you mean. I had a chat with the kids after reading your post. They don't think reuben is important er, but they now get that diabetes is a priority like ferrying to school on time etc. our poor d kids. Our poor non d kids! Makes you love and appreciate them all like a mother hen, doesn't it?!!!

Misty said...

Breaking my heart, that precious boy! At 6, that makes perfect sense though. I understand how he "got there". Give his squishy cheeks a big kiss for me!

Shelby said...

Reading this I truly share in your feelings. While neither of my children had any special need issues when they were little, I always tried to stress to them I loved them both the same in different ways. Justin was my first born, the one who made me thing I could love no other child more than I loved him. He went through all the firsts and I enjoyed watching every moment and I love the memories embedded in my mind. Christopher, my baby, clung to mom and wanted no other and he stole my heart the moment I saw him but it didn't change the way I felt about his brother. Relationships we have with each one of our children are different with each child. Personalities are what makes each relationship different. My relationship with my boys continues in the same way today however they do grow to need you less which is hard to accept sometimes. As your precious little boy gets older he will realize that he is special in his own way with you also, that I am sure of. Just from what I have read here, your children know how much you love them and their concepts of what your relationship is with the other children will be just what you have made them as you continue to remind him that he is your precious little boy. He will never forget that. Believe me.

Beta Bandit said...

This has been studied in parents with children with disabilities. They have talked about how the roles of the parents change too-- how one parent focuses on that child, while the other seems to tend to the other children. I know... I know... not the most helpful comment, but I just remembered because I had to do a research project on it. (yay school).

I'm sure my other siblings weren't that thrilled when I was diagnosed, especially since I was in ICU for 2 weeks. Oh well, things happen... diabetes happens.