My son, my best friend as he calls himself, uplifts me in so many ways. He constantly has a smile on his face. I can yell at him (and I cannot tell you what I might say…) and he will still come hug me and tell me how much he loves me. A few weeks ago I fussed at him for not being responsible enough to manage school, manage his diabetes, and sports, and who knows what else I fussed about. Later that week, a letter was left on my dresser telling me thank you for all that I do. I shed tears. I shed tears because even when I do fuss at him, it is not because I do not think he is an exceptional young man. I do. I know with all of my heart he is an exceptional young man. I get compliments about him daily. “Anthony is such a sweet and caring young man.” “Anthony is such a respectful young man.” “I didn’t know he was your child! I love that young man.” “Anthony is so funny and always full of life.” These compliments make me feel great as a parent, but my son is a diabetic and he is a young 6’1 black male.
I am not scared for him… actually I am, and I want to make sure he has a true grasp on life and he understands these unspoken rules that we still have in 2018. This boy gives me life. He makes me smile when I am exhausted. He gives me ideas. He is so intelligent that sometimes I wonder if I can even teach him anything else. He has style! I call him the “reject Fresh Prince of Bel Air” with his loud colors and fun socks that he wears daily. I look into his eyes and see just how naive he is to the world. When he hugs me, I can feel his genuine embrace and all the love that he has for me and the world. He is a beautiful child. Now, he gets into trouble, so please do not think this boy is perfect. He has lied. He has made me so upset that I want to seriously….I can’t say that in the blog…I will not add anything incriminating in this blog (ha!). But he does frustrate me sometimes.
One of his puzzle pieces is he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 7 years old. I still remember that day. I had just got off of a cruise and his dad called me and asked if I was sitting down. After he shared that he had been hospitalized, I still had to wait hours until I was able to get to his hospital room. This was nerve-wrecking, but I will never forget what this seven year old said when I climbed in the bed with him. I spooned my baby and he said, “It’s ok mom, it is just a childhood disease.” Friends of his and mine and even some of my students came to his hospital room with cards and balloons and none of us really understood how this puzzle piece would affect us over the years.
Anthony was in a coma for about four days. He was hospitalized a couple of times after that. Recently he had a scare that left his dad and I ending the conversation with “Boy, you scared the shit out of us.” I don’t know what this boy goes through, but I know that he always has a great attitude. I don’t know how he feels all of the time, but I know that he always makes me smile. I have no idea how he can prick his finger three to five times a day with ease and still be excited to get out of bed, go to school, and play basketball. I don’t know what it feels like to have to wear a device to sleep with daily that distributes insulin to my body, but he does. I have no clue what it is like to have to count every single carb that I eat daily. I can’t imagine my parents fussing and telling me how one poor decision could lead to my death, because this disease is so unpredictable but he still has control (oxymoronic…yea…). But what I do know is that I am so proud of this young man.
He has adapted to all of mine and his dads life changes. He listens well. He advocates for others. He will be an amazing artists. He is a beautiful person inside and out. He has taught me and so many others how to embrace life. He even thinks he teaches me about music….
This thing called life took him, me, and his dad along with all of those that are close with us by surprise, but he helps us remain calm. He has shown us the power of God each time he has survived a crisis that none of us have control over. He has provided me with an understanding of what it means to truly “just keep pushing and fighting and you will conquer…”
A week ago, I couldn’t figure out what to do to assist him with his diabetic burn out. He has been diabetic for over eight years and he has been a bit careless. Before I fussed, I had to sit back and think about my daily routine. Yeah, I walk his dog (on most days) , I go to work , I text….and yeah I do a lot during the day, but I do not check my blood daily. I have no idea how taxing that is, but I do know that he needs to do it. He is a teenager with so many other things to do, so as a parent it is my job to help him when I see he is falling. The joys of parenting, right?!
After thinking and talking to his dad, I decided to purchase a meter of my own and I promised him that twice a day, I will check my blood with him. Man!!! Oh man….OMG…I cringe as I stick my finger. I cringe as I mess up and have to re-stick my finger. Last night, I think I almost cried after it took me six times to finally get it right. That was six times I had to stick myself. That was six test strips. That was about five minutes of frustration.
He has no control over this and if he does not take care of himself and check his blood to manage his insulin intake, this could be detrimental to him; amputation, loss of vision, dialysis, etc. When I decide to complain about something, I am reminded to keep my mouth closed when I feel the pain of my fingers. When I look at my 6’1, almost 6’2 black male, I see strength, I see tenacity, I see courage, I see love. I see life and most importantly I see a puzzle piece for him and I. That puzzle piece that reminds us that miracles happen and that is why he woke from the coma, left the hospital each time he was admitted, and is standing with the most beautiful spirit ever!
#ThisThingCalledLIfe happens, but the key is to embrace it and enjoy it! It is to learn from those obstacles and understand there is always a good to every bad. My promise to him is I will check my blood twice a day for the rest of my life if that will help him. And each time I check my blood and cringe at the site of the blood, the needle entering into my soft skin, this helps me to see just how amazing my young man is. As parents and as people, let us be reminded to embrace #ThisThingCalledLife…