Every February, it manages to surprise me. Inevitably someone at church makes a remark like, "It's nice to see that everyone is actually here today!" and the congregation laughs good-naturedly. Each year at that moment I realize, "Ah, it is Super Bowl® Sunday!" and that the big joke is we're attending our church meetings instead of watching the biggest television event of the year! See, we're not a really athletic family, and although we enjoy participating in athletics on occasion and (rarely) watching a sports event in person, we don't follow professional sports and never watch it on TV.
We'll unabashedly let you know our likes and preferences, and following pro sports isn't one of them. The other unusual aspect of our family is that our children (so far) haven't shown a huge love or propensity for team sports. We had one brief interlude with soccer, and James has dabbled in basketball, but our commitment has never been deep enough to take, say, every single Saturday of a season at the local sports complex.
What these two things mean is that we're a bit unlike the typical American family. And it also could mean that we're more sedentary than many other families with young children. However, we've worked hard to make sure that although our interests may be artsy rather than athletic, we're still able to engage in family activities that promote healthy habits!
So if you won't find us on the baseball field this spring, what WILL we be doing, you ask? Well, not sitting in front of the TV. Although as a family we love movies, we've tried to encourage our kids to spend the precious daylight hours enjoying the great outdoors. We may not be running a pigskin between two goal posts, but you might very well find us hiking the mountain that's literally in our backyard. We're also fortunate enough to live close to a very beautiful beach and make THAT a regular feature of our weekend. And once the long summer days come again, we'll be enjoying the pool as often as we can.
In a lot of ways, we find it easy to engage in these pursuits. We love them so it isn't a struggle. On the other hand, as a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes, I do actively strive to make exercise a part of our life. I've seen first-hand the tremendous difference that vigorous physical exercise has on James on a daily basis. A day at the beach, for example, finds him digging, running in and out of waves, swimming and chasing seagulls (and cousins) up the beach. It also helps keep his blood sugar from going too high despite lots of snacking. And that effect may last for 24 hours! I know that consistent physical activity has a huge effect on his overall health.
So while we may not be your typical sporty family (we'll never know who's playing in the Super Bowl®), we're trying to figure out how to keep an active, healthy lifestyle in our own way. And so far, it's working pretty well!
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.
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