Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Joseph's Meeting

"Hey bud, how'd you like to come with me to the next JDRF meeting?"

It had been several months since he'd gone to one.

"I don't know, Mom. It's not as much fun for me there as it is for you. There's hardly ever anyone my age at those meetings."

"Wait-- remember that boy I told you about? The one who got the Guardian? Well, he's gonna be there."

Pause.

"How old is he, again?" Joseph asked, giving me a sideways glance.

I smiled and said, "Ten."

"Okay. Then I'm definitely going."

"And bud, this is a good opportunity for you to find out what it's really like to wear the Guardian. So don't be shy about asking questions."

Joseph just gave me a look that said, "Since when have I ever been shy?"

It was settled.

Last night, as we entered the lobby where all the kids hang out (while the parents meet in a nearby conference room), we saw two boys with blond hair sitting opposite one another at a small table.

They were playing chess.

Joseph walked right up and looked at them for a split second, then pulled up a chair.

Immediately, I recognized the younger of the two boys as Tommy.

Before long, the three boys were joined by several girls varying in age from four to thirteen.

One had brought a soccer ball.

Throughout the remainder of my time at the meeting, I heard loud shouts coming from the lobby. I reluctantly stepped out of the conference room a couple of times to check on the kids (Joseph's voice was among the loudest-- though maybe only to me).

They were having a blast-- girls taunting boys, boys chatting it up, playing chess . . .

After the meeting, as Joseph and I walked together out to the car, he asked if Tommy and his older brother (Andy) would be there next month.

"Well, they have to drive an hour and a half to get here, so I'm not sure."

"Oh." He was very quiet for a couple of minutes.

However, once we were out on the highway, he was off to the races.

"Mom," he began with a laugh, "You know what Andy said to me? He said, 'You're a 53-year-old man trapped in the body of a 10-year-old.' Isn't that funny?"

He paused a moment, then:

"I'm taking that as a compliment. I mean, he said he couldn't believe I was in the 4th grade."

"Honey-- definitely a compliment," I said, smiling broadly.

"So Tommy kept calling me 'Jamie.' He said I looked more like a Jamie. And there's a skateboarder named Jamie, so that might be why. Anyway, I started calling him 'Bam' because he was wearing an Element t-shirt and-- you know who Bam Margera is, right? The skateboarder?"

"Yes, I do."

"Well, I wanted to call him something else, too."

Another pause.

"You know, he's a really nice kid," then Joseph spoke as if he'd just had a wonderful realization, "and hey, I have another 'pump buddy' now-- that's what I like to call them. Pump buddies."

This was the first time Joseph mentioned anything having to do with diabetes, so I took it as an opening.

"So did you ask Tommy about the Guardian at all?"

"Heck no!" I could see his eyes rolling back in the rearview.

"Mom, do you think we want to talk about diabetes? We have to deal with that stuff every day. Why would we want to talk about that?"

"So what did you guys talk about?"

"Just stuff. Oh, and Andy beat me in chess--I really thought I could beat him. Maybe next time . . . "

His voice trailed off, and then:

"Mom, it was a really good meeting. You know?"

"Yes," I said, smiling. "I know."

17 comments:

melissa said...

I love his "Mom, do you think we want to talk about diabetes? We have to deal with that stuff every day. Why would we want to talk about that?"

But that is the beauty of friends who have diabetes (or pump buddies)you don't have to talk about _that_ they just know what it's like to live with it everyday.

Shannon said...

What a great gift it is to find someone who has diabetes in common only to actually be compatible personality wise too.

It's great to see them simply be kids, nothing more.

art-sweet said...

Sandra -

I heart your son.

xo

art-sweet

Beanie Baby said...

That's great. I'm so glad he came with you and got so much out of it.

Kerri. said...

I remember when my mother used to get together with the other mother in town who had a young diabetic child. He and I would play in the yard and run around while our moms talked about school lunches, testing in the classroom, and those troublesome orange slices at soccer games. I can't remember EVER having talked about diabetes to this boy until we were older and I saw him out at a bar on Block Island last summer.

"Oh my god, Jim? Is that you??"
"Yeah! Hey!! How are you?"
"Good!" And we talked about 59 different things until ...

"Wearing a pump?" He asked.
"Yeah."

He eyed me closely.

"Where is it?"

I pointed to my hip, where the infusion set was in my thigh and the pump was clipped to the side of my bathing suit.

"You?"

His set was in the top of his hip on the back.

"So anyway, where are you working now?"

And the conversation just went on.

Some things just don't change. :)

Vivian said...

Very cool. Sounds like all the kids had a great time. Isn't it wonderful when the kids are so well adjusted to it all and know Mom and Dad are sweating the "small" stuff that they can just enjoy each other as kids. I am glad for both of you that he decided to go.

Nicole P said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Erica said...

His friend was so right - he really is an old soul :-)

I'm so glad he went and had a great time.

caren said...

To this day, my best friend is from my years at Camp Barton. Although we never lived closer than 5 hours from each other. We hardly talked about diabetes as we were going through high school and college, and then started talking about it a bit more, but it never dominated the conversation. It's just a cool connection. She actually just called me and all she said was 6.7 and I knew exactly what she was talking about. (improved A1c) After a “way to go” we started talking about her crazy boss.

She gave me my insulin in my arm on my wedding day (pre pump) so that I didn't even have to think about it. I actually didn't know what she was doing till it was over! ;) (we had talked about dosing the day before)

Friends with diabetes are the best!

Nicole P said...

I love the 53 year old man in a ten year old body reference. Sometimes that's the feeling I get about Joseph when you write about him -- like he's an old soul who's a hell of alot wiser than I'll ever be.

I also think it's great he's got another 'pump buddy,' we all need those.

J said...

This had me tearing up as I read it while in the laundry mat :-) how great

LZ Blogger said...

Sounds like a pretty insightful kid you have there to me! ~ jb///

Penny said...

Sandra,
I'm glad that Joseph found someone else he can connect with. We get things in he mail for playdates and things like that with other kids with diabetes. But, the meetings are over 2 hours away. I'm going to have to pack Riley up and take him one day. I think it's important for him to realize he's not alone. The only other person he knows with D is a 15 year old in Holden's class and Riley loves to be around him.

Jess Riley said...

That was a very neat story, Sandra. Joseph is such a cool kid! :)

Elizabeth said...

I am always amazed by the way Joseph deals with having diabetes. Always optimistic. I wish I could be more like that sometimes.

It's great that he found a friend who is going through all the same stuff he is. It has made a world of difference for me.

type1emt said...

Great story. Another reason to listen to Mom..sounds like Joseph had a blast! :-)

BetterCell said...

Just another example of how Diabetes does not define who or what a person is......but is just another part of many other things that make up the context of life on a day to day basis. I think that it would be good to have a JDF meeting for only children.