I sometimes forget how weird snack time is at our house. On this particular day, the snack was fabulous, but that wasn't what caught the attention of my new friend. Instead, she got that interested look on her face as I took out the two almost-matching blood glucose meters to prepare to test my son and my niece before their snack. She saw me administer a custom insulin dose to each kid before serving the rest of the kids. And THEN snack time could begin. I forget sometimes that people who haven't spent a lot of time with us don't realize that we do things a little bit differently around food.
My new friend entered the scene of our little play date in a rather unusual way. Among my sisters-in-law, we have an arrangement where we take turns watching one another's kids once a week. I was hosting this particular week and decided that, since I was watching three other little kids, I might as well help out my friend who had just had a brand new baby. I invited her to drop off her two boys and catch a small break, but she informed me her sister was in town taking care of her kids while she had to run to a doctor appointment for the new baby. "No worries," she said, "I'll just send them over and my sister can help!"
So my little group of myself, my two boys, my two nephews and my niece with type 1 grew with the addition of my friend's sister (let's call her Kristina), her own son and her two nephews. Got that? I had never ever met my friend's sister before, but it ended up being a really enjoyable morning as we discovered we had a ton in common. To be honest, I think that may have been our best play date ever.
Kristina displayed an interest in taking care of kids with type 1. I was able to share my feelings about it with her and included my sense of gratitude that, although diabetes can be very serious, it is also totally treatable, and my child and my niece can live very good lives. We had a great time and said good-bye. I haven't spoken with her since that play date.
Imagine my surprise when I find out from my friend that Kristina now has her very own child with type 1 diabetes. Her little 3-year-old -- who was at my house on that very day -- now has his own meter that she uses to test him with before every meal and throughout the day. She is now counting carbs and treating lows. My friend says Kristina is a little overwhelmed, but does take comfort in the fact that, in a few years, she'll feel as comfortable and at ease with it as I seem to be. And given we were two strangers, I can't help but feel there wasn't some sort of divine hand that put us together on that most extraordinary play date!
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.