The Underdogs

I sit behind the fence and smile. Each crack of the bat gives me hope that they will have a successful night.

Forty-five minutes to go until the first pitch. The park is quiet and the encouragement is positive.

“Just like that , Keegan.”

“Come on Danny, you got this.”

‘Keep your head up, Brandon.”

Eleven little boys, their stomachs twisting and their minds racing, focus their energy on the task at hand: win this and make it to the championship game.

Nervous energy buzzes, and baseballs criss-cross from third to first and home to second. They’ve done this many times, skip the directions.

Kicking their heels into the dirt, reaching for the fly balls, pounding their gloves, it seems easy as they warm up.

Adults chuckle as they overhear two little ball boys talking in the dugout, “Who cares if they are the best team? They won’t be after we beat them!”

The dark clouds are rolling in and I fear a thunderstorm. I don’t want a game delay. I don’t want to postpone a win or a loss until tomorrow.

I refuse to give up hope. I believe in the underdogs.

I love my little underdog. I love his attitude and his in-his-favor reasoning. He told me at dinner, “In the movies, the underdogs win, you know that, right?”

Yes, they do, buddy!! Yes, they do!

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By the look on his face, I guess you can tell what is happening tomorrow night!!

 

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This post is part of The Daily Post’s Writing 101 challenge.

Go to a public location and make a detailed report of what you see. The twist of the day? Write the post without adverbs.

Writing 101: Day 4 It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose

Ian has always been on the losing team. I am not kidding. Every team he’s ever been on has been the worst. In both baseball and basketball, his team always has the worst record in the league.

This year is different. His team is 4-6, still not a winning record, but not the worst team either.  And they have lost some very close games.  It’s been an exciting season.

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Batter up!! I’ve been horrible at taking pictures this season. This is, in part, because I take the dog with me to most games, and it’s hard to manage a camera and a ferocious 10 pound Yorkie.

Since this is the first season with the OmniPod, it was like a whole new ball game. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)  The first few practices and games he was dropping like crazy…The second practice he plummeted to 44. Our previous plan of giving him an extra 15g before activity didn’t work anymore.

Talk about frustrating and defeating.  It was just part of the learning curve.

After a little trial and error, we figured out that a temp basal set at 70% is enough to keep him from going low. We have to test him every few innings. It’s annoying to him but he knows that going low is going to take him out of the game for a while, and he sure doesn’t want that!

When Ian was diagnosed, we sat in the ER and the doctor asked him if he had any questions. Do you know what his very first question was?

“Can I still play sports?”

This boy lives for his sports. And honestly, he doesn’t care if he wins or loses. He just loves the game. With his track record, that’s a very good thing.

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I love watching him pitch. Look how serious. He tries to plan out his pod placement so it doesn’t interfere with his nights to pitch.

The tournament starts on Tuesday. Is it too much to ask for just one more win?

 

Writing 101: Day 3 It Comes and Goes in Waves

There was this random line from a song that I could not identify. I just could not get it out of my head. I found myself saying it over and over to myself.  It came to me at times when I wanted to throw my hands up in the air, which seemed to be a lot lately.

Instead of saying “I give up!” or throwing in the towel, I heard this quiet whisper, as if a little guardian angel was sitting on my shoulder reminding me everything would be ok.

“It comes and goes in waves….”

Sometimes it comes and goes in violent, crashing waves.

Waves that slam into me like a brick wall.

Waves that pull me under.

And then sometimes life is a little more merciful, and it comes and goes in gentle waves.

Up and down, up and down, almost rolling.

Up and down, up and down.

I ride them out.

Because I know the waves will never stop.

Blood sugars, papers to grade, piles of laundry, memories, things breaking down and things needing fixed up, sadness and happiness, boredom and motivation, stress and peace, bills and surprises, loneliness and contentment….

It comes and goes in waves….

Writing 101: Day 2 Somewhere Other Than Here

I am sitting on the warm sand near the ocean. It’s our last day here. We had all agreed we needed to pack up early and get back to the beach house to clean and prepare for our departure tomorrow.

The time keeps getting later and later and no one is making a move to pack up. No one wants to call it quits. No one wants to interrupt this moment.

If we don’t move, time almost stands still even though the sun, a giant ball of yellow light, is quickly sinking behind the tall grass and the weathered, wooden walkway.

Except for the seagulls squawking, looking for remains of today’s picnics, and the rhythm of the waves crashing, it’s quiet on this beach. Not because of the late hour; it’s been this way all week. A quiet, fairly non-commercial strip of paradise guarded by massive beach houses, dream houses.

The few remaining beach goers are packing up as the tide is coming in, calling it a day.

And we all just hang on a little longer.

The littlest, a blonde haired angel with a polka-dotted suit, is squatting down and patting the sand with her chubby little hands. She chatters about the castle and how it’s “the best ever.” Her face lights up as the big kids dig and scoop and shout directions. She’s admired them all week, particularly fond of the little boy, her cousin, who is just a few years older.

He is frantically running back and forth to the water, his skinny arms barely strong enough to carry the orange bucket, water sloshing everywhere. His chest and shoulders and back are toasted brown after five days under the North Carolina sun. His cheeks have been protected from the sun by his faded gray baseball cap. He never takes it off as is obvious by its little boy smell of saltwater and sweat.

He runs to his sister, the oldest of the group and clearly in charge. Her long brown hair is in a salty, tangled braid and she squints in the sunlight. She looks different without her glasses, which she’s left safely back at the beach house. She points to a hole protected by a wall of sand that has been decorated with sticks and seaweed and shells.

He dumps the water into the hole just as a rush of water comes streaming in from both sides. They all scream and squeal as their castle collapses and their shovels and sand toys start to wash away into the sea….

Yes, this is where I long to be.

Happy Dia-versary! It’s Been One Year!

It’s been 365 days since Day 1.

No less than 2, 555 blood sugar tests.

At least 1, 460 shots.

1 trip to the ER for dehydration and ketones.

3 A1C’s that only dropped by a measly tenth of a percent each time.

It’s been a crazy hard and wonderfully bittersweet year. A year of firsts and milestones.

But he did it! We did it!

A year ago, this never seemed possible…that we’d deal with this and be ok.

We’re better than ok.

Being a mom is hard enough. Being a mom to a T1D…unimaginable.

But I’m ok.

And why wouldn’t I be?

I have a daughter who has learned to roll with the punches – both the highs and the lows – to accept the mood swings, to be flexible, to keep me on my toes, to bring laughter when we need it. She is my comic relief, my easy-going girl who truly makes my life easier.

I have parents who are willing to work around our eating schedule, make multiple rest-stops on long car trips, choose the right places to eat, make life feel normal, count the carbs, distract the kids, be quietly concerned, ask questions, make suggestions, but never push.

I have friends who give me their time and lend an ear, from miles and miles away. Friends who’ve come back to me and helped me deal with this latest season of my life. Friends who text at just the right time to bring a smile to my face.

I have a sister who provides the medical advice, the side-splitting laughter, the room to complain, the reminders to breathe.

I have a little boy who is amazingly strong in every way. His puppy dog eyes and his uncle’s charm, his sense of humor, his need to compete, his drive to win, his mad math skills.

I am a lucky mom to be given this strange gift wrapped in a beautiful package.

And someday, probably years from now, the best gift will be a cure. Until then, we will celebrate every year!

Happy 1st Dia-versary, Ian!! I love you!

Reflect and Give Thanks

Today I am at the airport. Alone. No kids this time. I’m going to spend the holiday with my family in Virginia.

Every moment, from taking the exit to the airport, to checking in, to security, to the smells of Cinnabon….I remember the trip last December…with the kids….to spend a different holiday with the same family in the same place.

There was snow on the ground like today. There were people anxious to get to their destination. There were kids whining, crying, running around, playing on their parents’ iPhones. The kids and I were counting Vera Bradley bags and Ohio State gear. We were pretending we were on Amazing Race.

As I wait to get on the plane, I feel anxious. I feel weirdly reminiscent. I feel like I’m watching it all on video.

I am seeing things exactly as they were, and at the same time, in a whole new light.

I remember every stop at the restroom and every sip at every water fountain.

He was begging for a drink, clutching his throat, and saying he was soooooo thirsty it hurt.

The back and forth to the airplane lavatory. Forcing him to stay seated when the seatbelt light was on. Feeling aggravated and feeling tired.

And then the instant switch to the feeling of being totally helpless and feeling horrible for your child when his dignity has been compromised.

Sending him into the restroom with extra clothes; his clothes thrown in a trash can in Atlanta.

Negotiating how much he could drink on the second flight, buying him sugar-laden Jolly Ranchers and stopping at the restroom five times before boarding the next plane. Counting every sip that went into his little body. Giving in to his pleas for just a few ice cubes.

Getting off the plane at home and somehow knowing home would never be the same.

We departed on a trip without a care in the world and we came home realizing our fate.

The moments of utter despair and heartache that comes with diagnosis.

The stream of emotions as you accept this new way of life.

The relationships that are affected and changed as you have no choice but to carry on.

The new friendships with the most unlikely of people.

I know I’ve dealt with this the best that I could. I know I am raising a brave boy who has gone above and beyond what a ten-year-old should have to endure.

We’ve weathered every season, been through 11 months of holidays and traditions in this new sweet life. This coming month has the potential to haunt me as the remaining pieces fit together and the memories flood me, just as they have today.

But as I sit here waiting for my delayed flight, I realize how perfectly fitting it is, and surely not by mistake, that this trip down memory lane comes right now at the start of the holiday season when we should reflect, give thanks, and be filled with love and peace and light.

More on Perspective

Last Friday night, as we were walking Blue, Ian came to the realization that we haven’t gone on a bike ride in forever. 

Thinking about it for a minute, it turns out “forever” is how long we’ve had Blue.

We spend a lot of time outside with him  – taking several short walks a day and playing outside while he’s safely tethered on his yard stake.

I told them that next weekend we’d pump up the tires and go on a ride if we had good weather.

Blue would have to stay home while we went, obviously.  He is not ready to run beside a bike, nor do I think he ever will be.

On Sunday night, while the kids were at their dad’s, I was looking online at the possibility of a basket or carrier that would allow Blue to go on a bike ride with us.

To my surprise, they do make such a thing.

Can I imagine him sitting in it?

Yes. And no.

Not to my surprise at all, the kids had different perspectives on the idea.

I sent a group iMessage with a picture of the first basket I saw:

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Gotta love how MJ shoots down the idea rather quickly. Still, I decide to challenge my middle school daughter and press on and ask her WHY it is a bad idea….

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And as an honest 8th grader, she tells it like it is….

I immediately start laughing and tears start to form in the corners of my eyes.

To torture her, I send her another picture to show her how “cool” it is.

And then, Ian, ever the optimist, joins the conversation….

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(Thank you, Ian! I knew he’d be on my side!)

But his big sister gives him the “Talk to the Hand” emoji.

By now I am hysterically laughing to myself. The dog is looking at me like I’ve lost my mind.

And I send one more picture for laughs.

Looks like Blue won’t be taking any bike rides anytime soon.