I can rattle off certain dates to you.
December 18, 2006 is one of them.
It was the day I regained faith in humanity. The day I decided I wouldn't live among strangers. The day I promised myself that I would do anything in my power to create a community of friendliness in my neighborhood. My heart, my mind, my spirit, my outlook...it changed that day. I went from feeling alone in the desert to feeling blessed surrounded by community in the matter minutes.
First of all, 12/18 was Tiara's due date the year before. I remember thinking about this as the day unfolded. I was about 20 weeks pregnant with Tink, and the the last time I had been 20 weeks pregnant, Sugar was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. After a hectic move across country and spending several months in an apartment while selling our first home, we had finally moved into our current home just 10 days before. Our home was in a brand new neighborhood at the edge of the desert - literally - THE. EDGE. OF. THE DESERT. At the time, I didn't have a single neighbor. We didn't have mail service or trash service. Our phone, internet, and cable were yet to be connected. There wasn't a cell tower very close, so every call I tried to make would drop pretty quickly. I was essentially surrounded by construction workers day in and day out...for awhile there was a port-a-potty that sat adjacent to my front yard. At night, we could hear the coyotes wandering through the framed homes -- their howls echoed up and down our streets.
I was, in fact, alone in a desert place.
Tiara had her 1 year well visit and the office was running really behind. Sugar was on shots, and our entire life was structured around her meal schedule. I hadn't packed a lunch that day, because I thought we'd have a couple hours between the appointment and her lunchtime. When the office visit was finished with Tiara, I decided to forgo the trip home and stop at Chick-Fil-A for lunch instead.
I had that uneasy maternal feeling in the pit of my stomach while driving to lunch. Even though her number seemed stable, I knew we were pushing the clock...I was worried about Sugar sitting in the carseat behind me. It seemed like every light was red, the merge to the freeway frustrating, and the exit wasn't approaching fast enough.
After skidding into a parking spot, I put Tiara in the stroller, threw the over packed diaper bag on the handle, slung my purse over my shoulder, and carried Sugar on my hip while waddling through the parking lot. We made our way inside and got in line. I ordered, and and we stepped back to wait.
Sugar seemed fine. She was excited to go into the play place, and kept asking if she would get a toy in her lunch sack. I turned my attention to Tiara who was getting fussy in the stroller...and then it happened.
Sugar passed out...hit her head on the tile floor...came up screaming, combative, confused. Somehow I swooped her up and managed to get all of us to the corner. All the tables were full. The only thing I could do was sit her on the counter and try to get her to drink some juice. She was refusing it, screaming, kicking, head bobbing...Tiara was screaming...diapers and juice boxes were falling all over the floor....
Meanwhile the nice cashier was trying to get me to take our tray and move to a table. Eventually, he found us a table and carried the food himself. I really have no idea how the girls and I - and all of our stuff - made it over there. By then, the entire place was shooting me dirty looks. Everyone was obviously annoyed that my unruly, bratty kid was causing such a disruption to their lunch hour with all that wailing and carrying on.
Tiara was screaming. Sugar was combative. Tink was going crazy on the inside. Lancets and test strips were everywhere. Our fountain diet lemonade was toppled over. The diaper bag had been torn apart, and stuff was strewn everywhere. I was covered in sticky cakemate gel, and painful bite marks were indented into my fingers.
I was afraid.
I started to cry. Not like a loud sobbing cry...more like a quiet panic because I had no clue what to do next.
I didn't know how I was going to fix this low blood sugar.
Or how on earth we'd ever get back on track with our entire life scattered all over the restaurant.
Then, out of nowhere, a woman appeared.
"Hi there. I'm K. We're going to have lunch with you. You deal with your little one there, and I'll take care of feeding your baby lunch." (Puts tray down on the table, takes a seat, and begins to unbuckle Tiara from the stroller.")
Her companion was a few steps behind.
"Oh. I see we need some napkins here. You just continue with what you need to do and we'll clean up this mess." (Proceeds to begin cleaning up our mess.)
I just stared at them. I didn't know what to say -- and they carried on without skipping a beat as if I wasn't sitting there literally trying to save my daughter's life. They allowed me to focus all of my attention on Sugar and that low blood sugar without quizzing me or demanding an explanation for her behavior.
I could have sworn they had wings.
Shortly thereafter, Sugar came around and was able to sit in my lap to eat her lunch.
I kept staring at these complete strangers...she held Tiara in her lap...he was making sure the chicken was cut into itty-bitty baby bite sized bits. Our drink had been refilled, spills cleaned up, extra napkins waiting on the table...
Once Sugar had eaten, she was fully recovered and wanted to play. The gentleman told me to finish my lunch and went to sit inside the play place to keep an eye on her. We were sitting right outside the glass window of the play structure, and I could see everything going on inside.
I was speechless.
This young couple turned out to be engaged to be married the following March. He was a pastor at a local church my family and I had been considering attending. I had felt God calling me towards this church for several months, but I was worried because it's HUGE (like almost 20,000 members huge)...I was worried Sugar's diabetes would get lost in the crowd, worried about parking lot issues, worried that it wouldn't be personable...
Well, after that experience, we did, in fact try out Christ's Church of the Valley (CCV) for the first time.
I couldn't have been more wrong. CCV turned out to be the answer to prayer our family had been looking for. The children's programs offer a very safe and secure experience. Another D Mama and I went to train some of the staff about basic diabetes stuff, including the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar. For extra reassurance, there is a medical team on alert during each service. If there was ever a time that one of us didn't hear our phone, a paramedic would only be seconds away until we could arrive.
CCV changed our life. Our marriage is stronger. Our family closer. Our home more humble. We needed an effective way to filter God into our lives. CCV was, and continues to be, the answer we were looking for.
I just wish it hadn't taken such a drastic experience for me to listen to my heart and give it a try.
While I'm happy to share our experiences with what works, and what doesn't work, for the management of Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease in our house, please do not mistake anything you read here for medical advice. Decisions regarding your/your child's health care should be made only with the assistance of your medical care team. Use any information from this blog at your own risk.