We Had To Say No

"You can do anything other kids can.  Diabetes can't stop you."  For the past 11 years, there have been very few exceptions to that rule.  This time, though, we had to say no.

My daughter was invited to a birthday celebration, overnight, at a friend's vacation home two hours from here.  This (very brave) family invited eight or nine girls to come celebrate.

Let me begin by saying how happy I am that she was invited.  I'm always incredibly grateful when no assumptions are made by other people about when and where diabetes becomes an obstacle. No matter how difficult the ensuing conversation was, I love that my daughter was included.

I thought carefully about this invitation before telling my daughter about it, weighing how to approach the conversation.  In the end, I let her read the invite, and respond however she chose to.

"That sounds so fun.  I don't think I can do it, though.  I wish you could come too. But that might be weird."

"I wish I could too, but even if it wasn't weird, Daddy and I set aside that Saturday for {insert awful activity daughter would love to have an excuse to get out of here}. I'm really sorry."

As I said, I considered the possibility carefully. Maybe she could do it.  She could text me pictures of the food.  She'd be wearing the Dexcom.  She's responsible.  She's 12!  Then came the what-ifs, and they were plentiful.   What if the pump site failed?  What if the Dexcom conked out?  What if she forgot to check often or missed the Dexcom alarms since she was having so much fun?  What if she needed glucagon?  What if she ate more or less or differently than what we agreed on?  What if she forgot to plan ahead for activities involving exercise? What if her low blood sugar symptoms got lost in the chaos of a crowd of partying tween girls? I would be 2 hours away, a 4 hour round trip.  For over 24 hours. She's only 12!

The birthday girl and her family are great people. But while our families have spent time together, my daughter hasn't spent time alone with them. There would be a big learning curve, diabetes-wise.  A party at their house a few blocks away?  Absolutely.  Two hours away?  As much as she wanted to go, even my daughter knew this was impossible.

We talked at length about all of this.  It precipitated a conversation about when something like this might be possible.  We came up with a list of things to work on.  They include being able to do her own site change, knowing how to give a shot if she needs to, becoming more proficient at and confident in counting her own carbs, actively planning for periods of exercise, and consistently responding to alerts on her Dexcom.

My daughter finds this list overwhelming.  Understandably.  But then we looked back.

"Three years ago, did you ever think you could go to a sleepover party?"


"And now you've been to a few.  Did you think you'd be able to go to things like the school social or a movie and pizza birthday party without me there to help you with your diabetes stuff?"


"Six years ago, I came and stayed with you at almost every playdate.  Look at all you've learned to do. You'll figure it out, when you're ready.  Soon enough, something like this will be no problem.  And until then we're here to help you as much as you need."

The conversation continued with a tirade about the awfulness of diabetes, a few tears, and the promise of finding a few minutes of fun amidst the aforementioned boringness of the weekend in question.

In the end, I think we made the only decision we could.  We had to say no. I wish it were otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. 12, I imagine, is especially hard. Not a little kid, expected to want to be independent, but really not ready to be...gah. It's like you said--she's TWELVE! vs. she's ONLY twelve!


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