This Halloween, I caught myself grinning uncontrollably as I spotted a little group of goblins hurrying to a neighbor's front door while I drove Cassie to a friend's party. The little ones squealed with delight as they were met by a bowl of kit kats and snickers. Cassie and her teenage friends had other plans. They were looking forward to passing out the chocolate goodies and hiding in the hedges to surprise and startle the trick-or-treaters to make it a truly memorable night for all.
It reminded me how scary the unexpected can be. When we first learned of Cassie's diagnosis, it was easy to let our fears run wild. Just as a first time trick-or-treater on October 31st, we were faced with anxiety and the unknown. Marinda and I lost sleep over every possible diabetes worry. What if we gave the wrong amount of insulin? What if we forgot to bring something sweet with us in case of a low? What if Cassie was faced with long term complications? The spectre of this fear loomed large on those early years. I'm sure the fears were there for Cassie too, because kids can't fully comprehend their situation. Instead, their unknown becomes monstrously larger.
Amid the evening's Halloween patrols, I noticed that the youngest among them had a mom or dad close by. Most parents would be holding their child's tiny hands in theirs to let them know everything would be all right. As a dad taking of a child with diabetes, I realized that sometimes that's the most important thing we can do. Stay close and let them know we'll be with them - through any scary situation.
An additional thought: What about the parents? Who should they turn to when faced with a particularly scary diabetes day? When I find myself anxious and afraid about diabetes, I've found comfort and support from the diabetes community at large- both online and off. It's reassuring to hear from others who have gone before me and their similar trials, and I get to learn from their past experience.