”Courage is not the absence of fear, but the acquired ability to move beyond fear.” ~ Matthew Kelly
Today was Grasshopper’s third anniversary of his diagnosis. We have come so far and learned so much since that frightening day two days after Christmas in 2013. We haven’t spoken to Grasshopper much about his diagnosis until this year. There are always so many T1D tasks to accomplish in the day and he doesn’t remember not having to deal with all that. In the last two anniversaries I quietly acknowledged the day and moved on. Some T1D families mark the day with a celebration of some kind and others choose to never acknowledge it. I knew that this year I wanted to talk to Grasshopper but not make a really big deal about it. I just didn’t know what to call it until I saw a post from another T1D mom who has labeled her child’s anniversary “Brave Day.” I love it. I think every day is his “Brave Day” but I’m not going to let a four year old run with that!
The night of December 26 this year with the help of my mom (Nana to the kids) we had just finished doing a routine insulin infusion site change. We change it every three days or sooner if his blood sugar and ketones are high and not going down when we give insulin. Site changes at the least are nerve wracking for Grasshopper and are often painful even when we use numbing cream. When we were finished I asked him if he knew what the next day was. He said no. I told him it was the anniversary of him being diagnosed with T1D. He looked at me blankly. Then I told him it was Brave Day. His face lit up.
“Brave Day??!! Why is it called Brave Day?”
“Because of the things you do bravely like just now when we changed your site. You held still even though you were scared and you knew it was going to hurt.”
“What are we going to do on Brave Day?”
“Well, I thought we could make a batch of those almond meal snickerdoodles that you like.”
There was a lot of enthusiastic nodding.
“And a parade! The adults can put on a parade!”
I laughed. “Grasshopper if you want a parade we can do a parade.”
The next day we celebrated Christmas with my in-laws, or Poppy and Grandmama, as the kids call them. As Grandmama and Poppy left to drive back home we gathered our instruments. Grasshopper selected a microphone as the mini M.C., Sunshine chose the drum and I grabbed a couple of maracas as we went outside. Grandmama and Poppy drove away and Grasshopper directed Nana, Sunshine and I where to stand on the sidewalk. He then proceeded to give a great oratory that neither Mom nor I could hear because he had his back turned to us. After a little prompting we paraded down the sidewalk and halfway around the block. It started to rain so we turned around and went home. On the way Grasshopper asked me, “Is my Brave Day ruined because of the rain?” I said, “No, sweetheart. Nothing could ruin it because you are here.”
When Sunshine went down for a nap my mom, Grasshopper and I set about making cookies. The kids enjoyed them as a snack along with part of the gingerbread house Grasshopper and Poppy had assembled the night before. Grasshopper was quite pleased with Brave Day and said he wanted to have another parade the next day. This is definitely a celebration we will repeat! I like focusing on the positive. Not the fact that he was diagnosed with T1D but the fact that he (and we as a family) have made it through another year, we know more now than we did last year, we are stronger and more capable of handling the daily challenges that T1D throws at us. It hasn’t gotten easier. We’ve gotten stronger.