Kim and Evan get major props on this one. A couple of weeks ago, they sent an email inviting us to be part of a "Type 1 Dinner" that they sponsored at their home. They assigned us to bring a part of the meal, and we set it on our calendar. What a great event! Interestingly, it seems that as type 1 diagnoses rise throughout the world, I find that some of the people in my social circle that I knew casually or with whom I had other things in common are now joining the ranks of having a child with this chronic illness. Some of them were there that evening.
Among the guests at our type 1 dinner was a little girl that I had long ago designated as James' future wife. Yes, I know I can't really pick for him, but this adorable girl had little blond pigtails and big blue eyes and a really sweet, good-natured smile. Plus she had a really cool mom. To me she seemed just perfect for my little (then) one-year-old! Of course this was years before James' diagnosis and another few years after that until this little girl was also diagnosed. Now I imagine that my matchmaking is all the more prudent: How nice would it be if the two could help remind each other to test and count their carbs together!
Another friend -- not a guest at our first dinner but an invitee to the next meeting of our little club -- attended my elementary school and my college. We took history classes together years ago, and now we find ourselves back in the same town, with our own families and each with a son with type 1 diabetes.
Some of the families were new to me, people that Kim and Evan knew and associated with. But it wasn't difficult to find common ground when we both had second graders wearing insulin pumps.
We talked about our diagnosis stories, comments that we hate getting from other people, products and funny stories. Our conversations naturally drifted away from diabetes too. It was evident that although we were united primarily because our children shared a disorder, our lives were thriving and growing in other ways despite the upheaval that an initial diagnosis brings.
In all, it was the inaugural event in what I hope will be a long-observed tradition. As a parent, I walked away feeling connected and understood. James seemed really excited to see so many other kids testing and getting insulin. Already we have plans for a meeting next month, and I have two new families to invite. While it saddens my heart to know that so many families are dealing with diabetes, I am heartened to know that at least we have each other.
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.