Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself. ~ Joyce Maynard

I came across this quote today and it got me thinking.

Before my kids were diagnosed with T1D I had hopes and dreams for them, just as every parent does. I did my best to provide them with opportunities to experience different things, as a family we travelled quite a bit and always told my kids that they could achieve anything and to set their goals high but be prepared to work for it - since nothing worthwhile in life is handed to you on a silver platter.

When your child is diagnosed with a chronic, life-threatening medical condition one of the first questions a parent will ask, after the obvious "will she/he be okay?", is "how will this affect her/his life?"

As parents of kids with T1D we worry about the things that our kids may not be able to do but always do our best to let our kids know that there are very few things in this world now that they can't do. Okay, so scuba diving is pretty much a "no-go" for people with T1D - as is flying a commercial airline - but every day people with T1D are pushing the boundaries and I believe that our kids are lucky to be living with this disease at a time when they can essentially live a "normal" life, provided they take care of themselves.

But that's not the point of this post.

Many of us parents, once our kids have been diagnosed, forget the hopes and dreams we have for ourselves. Our lives become completely focussed on our kids and just getting through each day, often too tired to think of anything but the absolute necessities of life: dealing with T1D, caring for our other family members, going to work, looking after the family home. A lot of the time we even put the pets before ourselves!

The problem is - what kind of an example are we setting for our kids?

If we're telling them to reach for the sun, and we're so heavily weighed down here on the ground ourselves then what kind of message is that?

There are many parents of T1D kids, and other kids with chronic or terminal illnesses, that become advocates for their child and other kids in the same boat, this is a wonderful thing and something that I encourage as much as possible (obviously). At the same time there are many parents who struggle to manage caring for their child (or children) with a medical condition while trying to work full-time or part-time to provide for their families.

I guess my point is that, in whatever way we can, we as parents should always try to better ourselves, to continue to reach for the sun, the stars the moon and show our kids that life does not stop when the road gets a little bumpy.

All of us as parents should use the tools we have been given and do whatever we can to be the best person we can be.

So, you're a parent of a kid with T1D, your a Mum or a Dad, but you are so much MORE than that. 

What do YOU want out of life?

And what is stopping you from achieving your dreams?

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