Thanksgiving is officially celebrated on the 22nd, but the entire month of November is an ideal time to count your blessings. While most people wouldn't put type 1 diabetes at the top of their gratitude list, having a child with type 1 can bring your family even closer together and give you a unique perspective on how much there actually is to be thankful for in your lives. Here, parents of kids with type 1 share what they're most appreciative of this Thanksgiving season.
"I'm thankful for sunshine and rain, and the beautiful world we live in. I'm thankful for fresh strawberries and chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven. I'm thankful for good friends who offer me smiles and laughter when it has been a hard day. I am thankful for my family. I love my husband and each one of my children, and I am so thankful for what a blessing they are in my life. I'm thankful for my parents and what a good example they have always set for me. I'm thankful for good doctors and medicines. I'm especially thankful for the miracle of insulin and that it keeps my little girl alive and healthy every day."
--Kim, Southern California
"This year, I am most thankful for my new job. I was out of work for six months, which was a tough thing to survive in this economy. But now I have a great job with insurance that helps me provide the things my daughter with diabetes needs to stay healthy. Every day, I am filled with joy to be able to go to work. You'll never hear a complaint from me!"
--Jackie, Tulsa, Okla.
"From the very beginning, gratitude has been closely tied to how I feel about James and his diabetes diagnosis. We were grateful initially for a diagnosis of a disease that is pretty well understood and can be managed to lead a 'normal' life. We were grateful for James and his hardy little personality that accustomed itself so quickly to a new life of pokes and prods. Of course, our gratitude for family and loved ones that exceeded every expectation was tremendous. I'm personally grateful that with diabetes, I can put my feelings of worry and sadness to work: I can, through my diligence, take good care of James. I'm grateful that I have grown so close to him in doing so. I will forever count the hours spent snuggling in our pediatric bed as some of the most precious of our lives! Above all, I'm grateful for the scientific advances and the sacrifices of so many people -- the discovery of insulin, the advances in insulin administration and glucose monitoring. I hope and pray that scientists around the world will continue to think of my child and help find, if not a cure for diabetes, new and better ways to keep him alive, safe, and without limits."
--Jen, Southern California
My Priorities in Order
"I am thankful for my new perspective on life. After my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 last year at age 8, I notice the little things that used to bother me don't bug me anymore. I used to get stressed when the house got dirty. Now I realize that a dirty kitchen floor isn't worth getting worked up about. When your family faces a health crisis, you realize what's really important in life. And I am thankful that I finally understand that."
--Nika, Boston, Mass.
My Role Model
"My mother passed away this year, and I am thankful for the 37 years I got to spend with her on this planet. I am also thankful she was able to see my two children born and to have a special relationship with both of them. I am also thankful for the amazing example she set for me as a strong working mother. I would give anything to have her back, but I am eternally grateful for the time we got to share. Losing her has made me an even better mother, because I am determined to create memories just as special as the ones she created for me."
--Jamie, Tujunga, Calif.
"I am thankful for the little things in life: cookie dough ice cream, long hot baths, trips to Disneyland® with my kids, date nights with my husband, going to garage sales on Saturday mornings, snuggling with our puppy, and spending time with good friends. All these things make life worth living."
--Virginia, Anaheim, Calif.
"I am most grateful for my good friends who are always there for me and lend me a helping hand. I am a single mother, and I couldn't juggle my life responsibilities without the help of my good friends. When my son was diagnosed with type 1 two years ago at age 10, my friends rallied around me and became my greatest support system. It indeed takes a village -- and I am thankful for mine!"
--Sara, Austin, Texas
The Gift of More Moments
"I guess I am grateful for the same things everyone else is thankful for -- my kids, my family, my health, my home. But since my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 last year, I am even MORE thankful for those things because I realize how fragile life can be and how it can all change in an instant. I find myself treasuring the little moments -- dancing in the rain with my son or gathering seashells with my daughter. I am thankful for every moment I have with my children, and I am thankful for the doctors who keep my daughter happy and healthy. I am happy she has an illness that is treatable and that they are making strides in diabetes research every day. And I am thankful that so many talented people are working toward finding a cure -- which I firmly believe will be found in our lifetime."
--Angela, Point Pleasant, N.J.
The Basic Essentials
"After spending some time earlier this year volunteering in Haiti, I am thankful for the basics: clean running water, a roof over our head, a working bathroom in the house, enough food to eat, good medical care. I know so many people in this world don't have these things. That's why I never want to take these things for granted, not even for a second."
--Nick, Scottsdale, Ariz.
"Being grateful and more appreciative is something I have been trying to be more mindful of this year, so I started a gratitude journal in January. As I flip through the pages, I am reminded that I have so much to be thankful for. Writing down things at the end of the day has helped me take note of the little things in life that I might have otherwise overlooked…like an unexpected hug from my husband, a postcard from my dad, my daughter's artwork hanging on the refrigerator door. I am grateful for all things big and small in my one glorious life."
--Laura, Bentonville, Ark.
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.
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