The Diabetes Confessional

The make shift Diabetes Confessional - February 2014
The make shift Diabetes Confessional – February 2014

Out of the blue tonight Ashleigh turned to me and said “I’m sad that Carter has Diabetes.” I turned and asked her why, she let me know that she didn’t really know why. As I pressed her to talk while standing in our kitchen she seemed to not know what to say. “Tell you what, how about we make a special place where you can talk to mommy and daddy about diabetes, where you can say whatever you want and our thoughts will stay there?” She liked that idea, and behold, the Diabetes Confessional was born.  It may look like it’s a princess tent, however, it converts relatively easily to a private space that my daughter feels secure in discussing Diabetes out of ear shot of her brother.  My tender-hearted baby, in her moment of need is still thinking of her brothers feelings and putting them before her own.  Once we crawled in, she told me that she was afraid that Diabetes was going to hurt Carter, that it scared her that he keeps getting poked.  I exited the tent and went to get the computer, and Carter’s insulin bottles and a needle as props.  I looked up a pancreas through Google, then explained what the pancreas does.  I then explained what Type 1 Diabetes did to the pancreas and how it effected the person who has T1D.  I explained how I am acting as Carter’s pancreas in order to keep him healthy.  I then let her practice measuring insulin.  After about 10 minutes, she said she was better and left to go and play with Carter.  I am not sure how many times the Diabetes Confessional will actually be utilized, but I take comfort in knowing that Ashleigh knows she has a safe place to talk about diabetes whenever she needs it.  I would love to get inside her brain and see what’s going on.  It must be so hard to have all these feelings and be a four-year-old, not knowing how to convey them all or where to compartmentalize any of them.  I am so proud of her courage, and for opening up to me with any of her thoughts or fears.  That has been my goal with her since Carter’s diagnosis, I just want for her to know that she can open a dialogue with me anytime and I am always here to listen and talk, or explain anything.  The complexity of children is certainly heightened in times like this.  My daughter has so much depth, and her nurturing spirit has aided me more often than not during these past 3 months.  My daughter has had my back when no one else did, and stood with me through my despair and frustration, she has assisted me in navigating the path through these first few months in the diabetes sea.  The least I can do for her is allow her to speak to me in her terms, and meet her where she is.

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