Christmas is a great time of year for a kid. I've struggled to come up with an "angle" on how to present Christmas through the eyes of a family with diabetes. Finally, after some serious reflection it dawned on me -- there is no "angle" to Christmas with type 1 because kids with type 1 can experience all of the same joys and excitement that any other kid can have!
Looking over our pictures throughout the years, I've noticed my camera lens sees the same things every parent sees. We see absolute, utter joy upon waking on Christmas morning. We see excitement opening up that long-awaited present. We see a bit of contented fatigue after a daunting schedule of attending parties and performances, church functions and family events. We see wonder in the eyes of a child viewing the lights on the Christmas tree for the first time in a whole year. Not one of those things is dimmed by diabetes. I have pictures of James downing a gingerbread house, attending a school party replete with cookies, and taking a trip to the mountains to make a snowman.
Sure, there are some things that can be more difficult! As we've discussed before, cookies, special drinks (wassail and eggnog -- non-alcoholic, of course), and even the increased activity of playing in the snow affect James' blood sugar, but truly, such obstacles are no more difficult now than they are at less exciting times of the year! I assert that Christmas for a child with type 1 diabetes can be just as magical as Christmas for any child anywhere.
Are there any tips and tricks to surviving Christmas? Aside from sharpening your carb-counting skills and making extra allowances for the effects of excitement on blood sugar, I'd say that as a parent of a kid with type 1 diabetes, just try to enjoy the season with your child. While there is no vacation or holiday break from diabetes, the joys and excitement of Christmas go a long way to reigniting memories of the great things about childhood and forgetting -- even briefly -- the pressures that are prematurely placed on the shoulders of our kids. May the peace of the season truly fill our hearts and our lives.
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.