Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go… Do you remember that old song? My kids have sung that song in all of their kindergarten programs, and we often sing it as we’re heading over to my parents’ house or to my in-laws for a Sunday afternoon dinner.

There’s something really special about grandmas, but let’s be honest, they tend to get all the credit. How often have you heard songs about going to Grandpa’s house? I know I never have. But I must admit I’m guilty too — I tell my kids we’re going to Grandma’s house when they know perfectly well I mean Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

As I have watched my parents be grandparents, it’s generally true that Grandma does a bit more of the work than Grandpa when they help watch the kids. She makes meals, reads stories, changes diapers, and teaches them to sew and bake and all kinds of other things. Although my dad always has a hug and a kiss for each of them, you usually won’t find him changing diapers.

I guess that’s why I find it so heartwarming that my dad has taken a special interest in learning how to take care of Kaitlyn’s type 1 diabetes. My dad has type 2 diabetes but until recently has never had to deal with pumps or carb counting or insulin. His diabetes has now progressed to the point that he needs more than just oral medication to manage it. It was a big change for him to make the jump to having an insulin pump, but guess who has been his number one cheerleader? Kaitlyn! They have a special bond because of diabetes.

About a week ago, my parents offered to watch the kids overnight so that Evan and I could have a quick getaway. I was in a hurry to get out of the door, and I knew that I needed to change Kaitlyn’s site before we got out of town, so I just brought all the site supplies with me to my parents’ house. When I got everything out to change her site, my dad came right over and said, “Why don’t you show me how to do that? I’ll do it this time.” I was so happy that he wanted to learn even though he has a different pump and a different way of getting it all set up. He did it beautifully. Just about everyone I have ever tried to teach (which has not been very many) has fumbled over the steps and been really nervous about doing it. My mechanically minded dad handled it with no problems. It brings such peace of mind to have someone else able to do it if Evan and I were ever unable to.

Bottom line is that I love my dad, and Kaitlyn loves her grandpa. I’m so glad they have each other and that they can be a support and a source of encouragement for each other for the rest of forever.


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. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.


Related topics:
Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes: What’s the Difference?
People in the Know: Can Grandma Look After Her Alone?
Talking to Relatives About Type 1 Diabetes

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