Being a mom, I have a big list of things to do. Not really important, cancer-curing things, but things that nonetheless must be checked off of the family management list so that I can hold my head high in Safeway.
End-of-year teachers’ gifts must be thoughtfully contemplated and lovingly presented. The dog is overdue for annual shots. There are no potatoes in the house. Those kinds of things…the things all moms must manage.
Being a diabetic mom, I have another big list of things to do, so that I am healthy enough to manage the first list. Sometimes I resent this second list enormously, because it involves so many things that other moms do not have to consider.
When it comes to cheesecake, other moms need only muse about how many extra spin classes it will take to burn off the indulgence, rather than calculate and inject the required insulin (all the while silently shaming yourself for eating the cheesecake in the first place). When it comes to getting ready in the morning, other moms can fuss with eyeliner and accessories, rather than vials and needles and meters.
Throw in blood work, endless doctor’s appointments, managing prescriptions and supplies, sugar spikes and crashes, infections, fatigue and hydration challenges, and this second list can easily take over your day before you get out of bed in the morning…which sometimes makes you not want to get out of bed in the morning.
Diabetes is a thief of my time. It robs me of the opportunity to flat-iron my hair, grow basil in a pot on the deck or apply mascara in front of anything but a rear-view mirror. While I don’t resent other moms for being healthy, I do have serious objections to all the extra time they have that diabetes has denied me.
They can redecorate their bedrooms and coordinate International Night at the school and try a new eggplant recipe and train for a marathon. They seemingly have all the time in the world. And the ones with extra energy to boot, otherwise known as “my closest friends,” really try my patience.
So let’s look at my friends who have it so easy. My friend who works a full-time job, cares for her ailing mother every night after work, and then arrives home to take on the role of Household CEO for her kids and husband. Or how about my friend who slides in radiation and chemotherapy in between the demands of her work and completing permission slips for her kids’ field trips?
Or maybe my other friend with lupus, a full-time job as a social worker, three kids who play sports, and a husband who is always traveling for his job…maybe she’s the one who has it so good. Could it be my friend who is going through a divorce and has to re-enter the workforce after 15 years, and play both Mom and Dad every morning, noon and night to her two children? Oh, wait…I’ve got it…it has to be my attorney friend with four children who made partner just before her husband’s debilitating illness spiraled out of control.
The truth is that we all have a second list; we all have an insatiable thief of our time and energy. Mine is called “diabetes.” Perhaps yours is called “cancer” or “divorce” or “addiction.” I have yet to meet the person who simply sails through life without an aging parent, a challenging child or a frightening diagnosis, and all the associated tasks that come with each of life’s curveballs.
Without effectively managing this second list, however, we’d never get to the first list. Were it not for this list of things I can do to manage my diabetes and stay healthy, I would have no access to that first list of mind-numbingly monotonous to do’s in daily life…that I would not trade for anything in the world. Having that list means that I have an abundance of blessings to manage.
What I sometimes forget is that people manage their blessings in different ways. Exercise keeps my attorney friend sane and gives her a much-needed physical release. Having her eye makeup done and accessories coordinated before she leaves the house helps my friend with lupus feel like she has even an ounce of control in how she moves through her day. Trying new recipes helps my other friend escape the stress of watching her mother get weaker and weaker by the day.
It’s not about how we get through the week; it’s about the fact that it’s worth it to do so. And when we all successfully complete list 1 and list 2 this week, I hope we might just make room to glance at list 3: the fun, adventurous, inspiring list of what-if’s and can’t waits.
And in the spirit of living list 3, I’m moving my commitment to write this blog on a regular basis from list 3 back to list 2 where it belongs. Charting the course has everything to do with supporting myself and others on the journey.
(Note: upon making this post live, I noticed that I published my last post exactly one year ago today. I couldn’t understand why I felt so compelled to add to the blog today, and the fact that I recommitted to it exactly one year later reminds me that this outlet is but one more blessing to manage.)