When it’s time to stop and count your blessings, where does type 1 diabetes fit in? Maybe you feel gratitude for a trick that’s made your child’s care tasks a little more fun. Or is it some unexpected blessing in your child’s life that has somehow resulted from diabetes? Check out some of the ways parents have discovered to see the magic in everyday diabetes care.

X-Ray Vision

“I’ve found that going through hard things changes us into more empathetic people. When we see someone struggling, we are well aware that belittling the struggle or wishing it away won’t help. Instead, we listen and put a hand on a shoulder, knowing that makes all the difference. We’re a kinder, gentler family because of diabetes. It affords us a unique perspective that helps us understand what is really important in life.”

—Meri, San Francisco, blogger at OurDiabeticLife.com and mom of 16-year-old Jack, 12-year-old Ben, and 10-year-old Luke (each of whom has type 1)

Comic Relief

“Since the day he came home from the hospital after being diagnosed at age 12, our now 15-year-old son Brandon has handled T1D with humor. He makes up silly songs about diabetes that only people with T1D or their families would understand. I’ve learned from my son that finding ways to laugh makes life with diabetes a lot easier.”

—Tami, Griffith, Ind., mom of 15-year-old Brandon

Disappearing Junk Food

“As a family, we all take better care of our health because of our 4-year-old’s diabetes. We focus on eating whole foods and home-cooked meals because it’s easier to count the carbs—and it’s better for us! We exercise as a family, too. It makes our daughter feel good to know we’re all in this together.”

—Marloni, Boulder Creek, Calif., mom of Hannah

Lasting Impressions

“I’ve learned to be grateful for the little things, like the guessing game we often play when it’s time for Anna’s blood sugar check. Anna is 7, so she loves this, especially because I try to sound like Bob Barker from The Price Is Right®. It’s just a fun and silly little interaction we have, but it serves the purpose of making blood sugar checks not something to dread. It’s also a way to make sure some of her memories of day-to-day life with diabetes make her smile.”

—Teresa, Buffalo, NY., mom of Anna

A Great Crowd

“The silver linings to diabetes that I’ve discovered? The people we’ve met. The moms, dads, kids, siblings, adults, grandparents, researchers, diabetes educators, camp counselors, and even the diabetes alert dogs I’ve scratched behind the ears. If given the opportunity to fold the hand we’ve been dealt, I would. I won’t lie. I hate diabetes, and so do my kids. But alas, we can’t, and so we play the hand we’ve been given the best we can. Thankfully, the players at our table are some of the smartest, funniest, bravest souls I’ve ever known. And I wouldn’t know them if it weren’t for diabetes.”

—Tina, Seattle, blogger at StickWithItSugar.com and mom of “Sweetstuff,” “Middles,” and “Sugarboy” (each of whom has type 1)

Colorful Props

“When our daughter Allie Lou was first diagnosed, I was in deep grief and wasn’t ready to make diabetes fun. Now, I see it differently! I try to get all of her diabetes supplies in fun colors—her supply kit is bright pink with polka dots, and her continuous glucose monitor is pink. Instead of the plain medical ID bracelet, Allie Lou’s is fun and fashionable. This way she wants to wear it!”

—Sarah, Moraga, Calif., mom of 5-year-old Allie Lou

A Brief Intermission

“When changing my daughter’s infusion site, I let her take the pump off , and without any site or tape on her hip, she can run around and have some freedom for a few minutes. It’s a time we’re both grateful for, because it feels like a mini vacation from diabetes.”

—Tracy, Lynn, Mass., mom of 9-year-old Alexis

Stage Presence

“At our local JDRF walk last year, our son was asked if he would like to say a few words. I offered to help him prepare, but he said no. I didn’t hear his speech until he gave it. When he started talking, I couldn’t believe that was my 11-year-old standing there in front of dozens of people, looking and sounding completely poised. His speech was funny, inspiring, and honest. The crowd rewarded him with a lot of applause and cheers. I wish with all my heart that my son didn’t have to deal with diabetes, but I also think that having diabetes is what gave him so much courage to get up there and tell his story.”

—Brenda, San Francisco, mom of 11-year-old Matt

A Beautiful Partner

“I am grateful for my husband and feeling like we are truly a team in caring for our son. In the early days after Evan’s diagnosis, I was so worried that I could have stayed up 24 hours a day monitoring his numbers. I would try, but then there would be my husband, who would send me off to bed so he could keep watch. Thankfully, we’re way past that stage now. But what hasn’t changed is our commitment to sharing in our son’s care. I know my husband is just as skilled at managing highs and lows as I am. I’ll even give him credit for being way better at site changes! I always knew he was a wonderful dad and husband, but it took diabetes for me to find out just how wonderful.”

—Maggie, Houston, mom of 8-year-old Evan

Living by a Code

“I mourned when my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes at age 4, because it felt like diabetes was making her grow up too fast. After all, why should a little kid in pre-K need to worry about checking her blood sugar when a classmate brings in birthday cupcakes? Children with diabetes need to learn and do so much to keep themselves healthy, but the result is that my daughter is now the most mature, responsible, hardworking 16-year-old around. I wish with all my heart that her childhood could have been more carefree. However, the discipline she’s developed from having diabetes is something that I can see will serve her well in life.”

—Liz, Bryn Mawr, Penn., mom of Erica

Interested in meeting other families managing type 1 diabetes? Join Lilly Diabetes at the annual Children with Diabetes® Friends for Life® conference! Learn more here.

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.

The Price Is Right is a registered trademark of FremantleMedia Operations BV. Children with Diabetes and Friends for Life are registered trademarks of T-1 Today, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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