This is a guest blog post written by Amy, a Type 1 Diabetes Health Activist. Amy is a caregiver to her daughter, Emma, who has Type 1 Diabetes. You can follow Amy on Twitter @sky0138 and read her blog at http://laughingatdiabetes.blogspot.com/.
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As a kid growing up, my favorite holiday was Halloween. Aside from the obvious candy factor, it was also special to me because it was my best friends birthday. She had the coolest sleepover birthday parties…complete with scary movie marathons, games that included closing your eyes and sticking your hand into a bowl of peeled grapes or cooked pasta to try and guess if they were eyeballs or witches hair. I have so many memories of this holiday that make me smile.
When my daughter was diagnosed at four years old with type 1 diabetes, Halloween was one of the first things I thought of. I was heartbroken to imagine this special day in her life being ripped away from us…forever changed. I had visions of her sitting in our living room…costume on…a look of total sadness on her face…unable to go trick or treating…unable to take part in this traditional event in a child’s life. It brought tears to my eyes to think that she wouldn’t be able to have the same memories of this special day. I was naive. I didn’t know that her life wouldn’t have to be that way just because of diabetes.
We’ve celebrated Halloween five times now since that day she was diagnosed. I’ve quickly come to realize that this holiday is in fact still my favorite holiday…but for a few extra reasons now. Halloween is the one day a year where I don’t have to make sure to bring snacks for my daughter in case she has a low blood sugar. It’s the one day I don’t have to shove candy in my pockets or toss a couple juice boxes into my purse. I can simply grab her meter, my camera, and walk out the door. If she happens to feel low while out trick or treating, she can just dig into her treat bag and have candy. She can run from house to house in her costume with her friends…laughing…enjoying the moment just like every other kid out there.
Sure, when all is said and done and we get back home after trick or treating, she can’t sit there and gorge on her bounty of candy. I wouldn’t let her do that even if diabetes wasn’t in the picture though. I let her pick a few treats from her stash before getting her pajamas on. Of course, as her Mommy, I have to inspect and do a little quality control taste testing too. I can’t help but smile as I sit there watching her enjoy her carefully chosen treats…giggling away at the fun night she just had…being a kid…just like all of the other ghouls and goblins, princesses and superheroes, or rock stars and ladybugs out there.
Halloween is not a stressful day for us. It’s a special day. I choose to focus on enjoying the little things and making memories with my daughter. I hope that one day when she is grown, she will look back on this day and smile. I hope that diabetes will not even show up as a photobomb in her album of childhood memories. I hope that she will see that the spotlight was always shining on her laughter and joy as she got to experience this day…as every kid should.