Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I was talking to my oldest about my middle child the other day. I was trying to explain to Nolan why he could not go to the park with his younger brother Patrick and Patricks friends Michael and Elijah. "Patrick needs alone time with his friends without his older brother stealing the show, Nolan" "I wont steal the show, mom, thats stupid." "oh I have seen you steal a show or two and Patrick needs time to not be in your shadow" "Thats not even true mom! Patrick gets all kinds of attention!" Not really though. Patrick, 12, was technically the youngest child until he was 8. Then came Lily. The adorable little sister, all smiles and hugs and Shirley Temple personality.... and Add that to Older, handsome brother with a serious and chronic medical condition and a bad boy image... (girls dig that, the vulnerable rebel thing he has going, with the punk rock attitude) Patrick is living, for the most part, in the shadows of both. "Mom, so what?" Nolan argued, "Patrick got all the attention until Lily was born, and I mean ALL of it... for eight years!" And there it was, in front of me, for the first time ever, and as the thoughts were falling into place, like Tetris pieces.... the words were coming out of my mouth, "Not really Nolan... he was the youngest child until he was... Lilys age... Until he was 4... He got all the attention until you got diabetes." Nolan opened his mouth to argue but then what I had just said registered... I continued, "Nolan, patrick took a back seat to diabetes on the day you were diagnosed... and so did you... so did everything... but to him... it was YOU getting all the attention... It was YOU that mom and dad were giving all of our concern and attention to... everything was all about you. Patrick just faded into the background, and he really, honestly... He took it like a champ and so did you." Nolan didnt ask again to go to the park. In some ways I am shocked at how long it took me to figure that out. I know, though, why I wasnt figuring it out... I was too busy... with Diabetes. It keeps you busy... invested, every second of every day. In your sleep. It sounds like melodrama, but it is all true. Diabetes is not just a mealtime problem, a food intake problem, a "how much insulin do i need" problem. Diabetes is a constant worry. Diabetes will eat your soul if you let it. You can become so obsessed with Diabetes that you cannot see the child through it. Numbers will come at you in your dreams. School nurses will call you with questions that baffle you... It is like a nagging parasite. It needs your attantion all the time. If you forget, youll remember via guilt pang or medical emergency. Diabetes is never "controllable". It will take your attention away from everything. Patrick was a middle child much earlier on than we thought, because diabetes is exactly a newborn child. The only difference between having a newborn child in the household and Diabetes, is that a child, eventually grows up and requires much less attention and supervision as times goes by. Diabetes never makes it past the toddler stage. You still have to make sure its not going at the outlets with a fork. You still have to check its pants for poo. Diabetes robs ALL children in the household of a childhood, of doting parents, or even attentive parents. Though it hardly warrants a place setting at the dinner table... Diabetes always wedges itself in, usually between mom and her meal... but it is always there. Invasive, at least. Patrick is an amazing middle child. A Piano player. A boy who has been drawing house plans since he was 7. A boy who is sensitive and funny. Very quick witted and anxious to know more about people. Patrick Dean. My middle child. He is an amazing young man.