Not that I've ever scaled the side of a mountain before.
Or that I had any desire to.
I just thought it would be pretty cool, that's all.
So fast forward to the 2012 Roche Diabetes Social Media Summit. Things were wrapping up as we prepared for the final speaker before lunch, followed by hugs and farewells as we went our respective ways. Maybe I was sad to see our time end? Or still in shock that I was there? Or just trying to figure out how to grasp the entire experience?
Maybe I was just...well...
Just a mom?
Steve and his wife, Stefanie, have an incredible message to share about living life to the fullest, defying challenge, and not taking a single moment for granted. They created the 365 Project as way to inspire and motivate others to set fear aside, and climb their own mountains...perhaps either literally or figuratively, depending on who you are.
So, when he began sharing their adventure of throwing caution to the wind, selling whatever they didn't need, and traveling the country in search of great climbs, I was completely intrigued. I could feel my heart beating faster as he described the rush of empowerment that comes with knowing his diabetes won't make these life decisions for him.
Steve will climb mountains. Period.
I had visions of my daughter all grown up and realizing dreams of her own. I pictured myself cheering her on from the sidelines of life, and felt a swell of pride in my heart as she crossed one finish line after another. For a brief moment, I could actually see her on top of a beautiful mountain somewhere, and I felt the energy of accomplishment pulling me in deeper.
She will climb mountains. Period.
Yes. As I hold my hands high in the air, screaming, and jumping for joy...
SHE WILL CLIMB MOUNTAINS!!!!!!!
Then I felt the familiar pit of reality return.
"Where is Stefanie?" I asked.
He began explaining the new role she has taken on to support the project...and I could hear him talking, but nothing made much sense after that.
"You mean...you're climbing alone?"
Alone? Scaling the side of a mountain without ropes, in the wilderness, often out of cell range?
One bad low blood sugar could be all it takes to pluck you off your mountain, and send you into a free fall. One dropped vial of insulin could be the difference between success today and trying again tomorrow.
My eyes began to burn, and I knew I wouldn't be able to hide the tears.
How do I let her go?
SHE CAN CLIMB MOUNTAINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But my arms want to hold her. I want to climb alongside her. I want to push her to the top, even if it means I can't see over the cliff to capture the smile on her face.
I just want to know she's okay.
I looked around the room.
They're climbing mountains. They're realizing dreams, accomplishing goals, and setting their sights on greater challenges. They are adults living with Type 1 Diabetes, and there is no stopping them.
Yes. THEY CAN CLIMB MOUNTAINS!
I took in the moment, the hugs that followed, the shared wisdom from others who understand.
And then I took in my own quiet thoughts. For a moment, I allowed myself to feel the deeper tears -- the ones that no one can see. I wondered where my own dreams had gone. I wondered what happened to the girl who used to have mountains she wanted to climb? When my baby was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, my mountains moved. For a long time, I wondered if the fog would ever lift...if I'd ever see that breathtaking view again.
It's not the same.
They used to stand tall, with snow covered peaks that practically touched the sun!!!
Now they're more like rolling hills, covered in wildflowers, with streams that trickle about.
I've learned to love my wildflowers, and pray that her mountains are majestically full of wonder.
If ever she should wake up to realize her mountains have moved, I hope I can teach her to embrace the beauty that still exists.
And, when the day comes that I must let her go, I hope she can teach me how she has become so brave.
Disclaimer: This is the first year I was invited to attend the Roche Diabetes Social Media Summit. Roche paid for my travel accommodations, along with a minor league baseball game, and a bag of goodies that included a Nano meter. I'm not sure any of the Roche representatives have ever experienced a mother firsthand being transparent to her core regarding the emotional impact of her child's diabetes diagnosis...but I wanted to say that the Summit was an incredible experience, even though I cried! I sincerely appreciated the opportunity to meet Steve, and learn more about the 365 Project.
Please take a moment to "like" this video to further support Steve and his mountains.
|Meeting Steve Richert|