Last night, my husband and I went to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. It was so amazing and we had the best time, but it was a long time away from the kids. We had to leave in the late afternoon to get down there, find dinner, and brave the crowds and parking. The show was very cool, and the band came out three separate times after the finale for encore performances. After the show, it took almost another hour for us to get through the sea of people down to our car and battle our way out of the traffic to the freeway. By the time we were back it was very late, and we had been gone from the kids for about nine hours. Although my mom was there early in the night to drive the kids to and from their evening activities and feed them dinner, my two oldest kids were in charge for most of the time.

I’m really lucky to have such responsible kids to take care of things while we’re away. Our oldest, Daniel, has been helping to take care of Kaitlyn and her type 1 diabetes ever since she was a little girl. He learned how to check Kaitlyn’s blood sugar around the same time that she did, and he knows what to do when she’s high or low. We’ve trained him on using emergency treatment for severe low blood sugar, although we’ve never had to use it, thankfully, and we hope he will never have to either!

My second oldest, Anna, is also a huge help. Anna and Kaitlyn share a room, and it often happens that she will hear the CGM (continuous glucose monitor) alarm go off during the night and come to get me because I’ve slept through the alarm. She is super conscientious when it comes to watching over her sister and best friend.

When I’ve talked to Daniel about how he feels about taking on the responsibility of watching Kaitlyn, he says that he doesn’t get nervous, because she pretty much knows how to take care of things on her own, and because he’s so used to being around Kaitlyn and knows what she needs. In fact, he’s probably much more comfortable and confident with diabetes than most of my adult friends and family members.

Even though I know the kids were in good hands, I always get just a bit nervous when we’re gone for a really long time, or when it’s really late. During the concert, I kept looking at my watch and phone to get blood sugar updates from the CGM app and to text the kids to see how they were doing. At one point, I looked and saw that Kaitlyn was going low, but before I even said anything, Daniel texted me and said, “Kaitlyn’s low, but I’m on it. I just gave her juice.”

It was music to my ears! I was sitting in a stadium full of excited fans hearing amazing live music, but as awesome as it was, it couldn’t compete with the contentedness that I felt in that moment, knowing that my kids were so responsible, self-sufficient, and taking care of each other. It was an amazing night!

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:
In the Spotlight: When a Sibling Has Type 1
People in the Know: Help From Siblings
In the Spotlight: Hiring a Babysitter or Nanny

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