“Mom, would you do all of this stuff if I had some disease?”
“Absolutely!! I love you both equally and if there was something that you had to deal with, I would do everything in my power to make it better for you as well. I pray you never have diabetes or anything else but I will always be there for you no matter what.”
About two years after my youngest son’s diagnosis, my oldest child and I had the above conversation. It broke my heart that he could feel that perhaps he was not as important. He knew what his brother had gone through and never complained about special treatment. He spent the night in the ICU with the rest of us when we didn’t know if his brother would live. He has made some of his own sacrifices in the name of diabetes. According to him, he is “The Unknown Child”. He is the forgotten one. He is the one that people don’t hear about because he does not have diabetes.
He is far from forgotten and I have done my best to ensure that he realizes that. I do my best to be a part of all of the things that are important to him. Equally, he was extremely important in his brother’s diabetes care over the years. He was my youngest son’s lifeline in school for at least five years. Teachers would often turn to him to ask questions about his brother’s care rather than calling me. He became an expert in carb counting and knew many of the ins and outs of diabetes care. In fact, when he moved on to another school, my youngest son got a little nervous and had a bit of a rough time getting used to not having him to rely on.
Despite the fact that articles were not written featuring his face, my oldest son became involved in the diabetes community as well. Siblings of a child with diabetes are very special in their own way. The support that they offer is second to none. He has developed friendships with some of the wonderful people that we have met over the years. When we went to our first Friends for Life conference, he disappeared almost immediately after our arrival. He had friends to hang out with. I gave him a room key and saw him during meals. After a day spent at Disney with this amazing group, he came home with tales of carrying four and five meters for other guys while they went on rides and had his pockets filled with strips and other diabetes “gear”.
Now he has had his times when he has complained that his younger brother gets everything. He thinks his sibling gets all the attention and my poor little forgotten child gets none. On the other hand, his younger brother has said the same thing so I am pretty sure that both of them of are full of it and just trying to get their own way at the time.