This morning as I woke up, my first thought was…”This time next week I will have been up during the night to check my son’s bg levels!” I know that parents who do this every night will be thinking that I am insane but I am actually looking forward to it.
It has been over six months since that fateful day when my son moved back to his home town to live with his father and left me with an empty nest. I still have a barrage of emotions that flow through me at any given time. I have been a full-time mom for 20 years and a pancreas for 14. I felt like I was terminated without notice. I wasn’t. It wasn’t personal. It was a choice he felt that he had to make for his own growth. That has been something that I have had to come to terms with…and am still working on.
When my son left, I had a firm plan. He would be in contact with me weekly. He would share his readings with me thanks to his new insulin pump system. We would look over readings and he would learn how to make his own decisions. I would remain as hands on as possible with hundreds of miles between us.
As with all of my plans, it was a great plan. As with many of the plans that we make in our lives…well it was a great plan but reality was far different. The first month or so we would call each week. He had issues with uploading his pump information but sometimes it worked. There would be a lot of missed tests. I would do my best not to freak out and ruin our time together.
Soon he saw his new diabetes team and they had their own plan. They arranged for my son to see a new educator on a regular basis to teach him how to handle his diabetes care. Two teachers would confuse the issue. My friends reminded me of how much I had taught my son over the years. I had to step back.
I would be lying if I said it was easy to do. I have been a hands on parent for 20 years. I have been a pancreas for 14. I am a control freak. Letting go has always been really hard for me. Letting go of something that directly impacts the health of one of my children? Yes, the pain of doing that was physical but I have tried.
I no longer ask about bg levels every day. I ask about once a week how things are going. I ask if we need to have a chat. Does he need to make any changes to his rates? Our weekly chats have drifted further and further apart to the point of the occasional text message that reads “CALL YOUR MOTHER!!!” Followed by a phone call, a wonderful conversation and said child responding “What do you mean I don’t call you? I call you every day.” I reply “in your dreams. We haven’t talked in ages.” To which he charmingly replied, “Oh, well I think about you every day.” My children are smooth and have figured out how to appease a mother’s bruised heart.
Like I said, the “we will talk weekly” rule quickly was disregarded. We text daily. I know that he is alive. He has a life that involves girls, skidoos/quads, friends, and school. Mom and diabetes are relatively far down the list because let’s face it, they will always be there (at least in the mind of a 16 year old).
Occasionally I will tell him that it is time that we chat about his readings. Recently I was struck by the similarity of me saying that and that note on the calendar stating you have to see your diabetes team–tomorrow! When I tell my son that we need to chat and review readings, I instantly get inundated with excuses. “Well, now isn’t good. I had a bad site the past few days and my readings are everywhere.” “I forgot to bolus my breakfast and was high so things are really out of whack.” There is always something but as a great friend reminded me, he knows the whys behind what is going on. This means that he has learned. He will hopefully also learn to apply this knowledge but for now at least in hind sight he can say, “Mom, I messed this up and this is what happened.” I guess in the world of diabetes care that is a bonus.
So for today I will count the sleeps until I have sleepless nights for a few days. I will enjoy counting carbs and monitoring testing patterns for part of the Easter holidays. After that, I will go back to adjusting to my children growing up and being independent. I will sleep through the night and know that I have taught them well…and pray that a Higher Power will keep an eye on them both when I can’t.