Monday, November 26, 2007

Our Wishes

"Hey, I call the wishbone!" Joseph announces-- before anyone takes their first bite of turkey.

And then a little more tentatively, "Is that okay?"

Everyone is smiling-- and no one objects.

"Sure," I tell him, "but only if I get a shot at it too."

"Mom," he says, eyes rolling, "you'll just wish for a cure for diabetes."

We all look at him.

"I can live with diabetes," he continues, laughing. "No. I'm wishing I have a good regionals on Saturday."

"Joseph-- a card tournament?"

"Oh, yeah," he says, beaming.

I pick up my wine glass, take a sip of Cabernet, and remember something that happened only two weeks before...


We'd just left his endo appointment-- our first in the new clinic building.

Though Joseph's A1c had gone down (from 8.1 to 8), I was really hoping it would have gone down further.

That we'd have gotten it below 8.

Standing in the elevator, I kept hearing his doctor's reassuring words:

"Yes, we want him in the 7s, but this is still good-- most kids we see in middle school move up into the 9s, sometimes higher. And Sandra, his growth is excellent."

His growth is excellent. His growth is excel-

"How about McDonald's?" Joseph broke in.

"Huh? For lunch? Ahhh... no."

For the next few minutes, we talked about food options while making our way down several long, shiny new corridors, on and off yet another elevator...

And that was when everything around us began to look less new-- and uncomfortably familiar.

We'd taken a wrong turn.

And just like that, we were standing in front of a fountain I hadn't seen in over three years.

A wall of large, rough-hewed stones-- water, pouring in ripples over the face of it.

And at its base-- a shallow pool, littered with coins.

We're back. In the hospital-- just outside the cafeteria.

The conversations with Ryan, the crying-- the desperate throwing of every piece of change I had into that pool.

The wishing.

The praying.

It all came back in waves.

For a moment, all I could do was look at the thing.

And then -- stubbornly -- I walked forward, shoved a hand into my right coat pocket, pulled out two coins-- and handed one to Joseph.

"Here you go, Bud-- make a wish."

He paused, holding the quarter for about two seconds while looking thoughtfully at the falling water-- and then dropped his coin into the pool.

"Your turn, Mom."

Just as I was about to release mine, Joseph grabbed my arm.

"Wait! Mom- you're not gonna wish for a cure for diabetes, are you?"

"You bet I am."

"C'mon, Mom-- there are a lot worse things. What about AIDS? People are dying of AIDS. Or cancer?" he said, almost pleading. "This isn't so bad-- I can deal with this. Please, Mom - don't waste your wish."

I turned away from him, tossed my quarter, and watched it bounce off two stones before landing at the bottom.

"So what did you wish for?"

"What do you think?"

"Oh, Mom..." he said, shaking his head.

But then, he wrapped his arms around me.

And I'm not sure if he was thanking me or trying to make me feel better...


"So really, Mom-- what are you gonna wish for if you get the wishbone?

Wine glass still raised, I look meaningfully into my son's large brown eyes.

"What do you think?"


Albert said...


"I can live with diabetes"

your son certainly has strength that is unrivaled by his peers who have no idea what it means to live with what he lives with.

Elizabeth said...

I am always taken back by how mature Joseph is when dealing with diabetes. He handles it well, and you should be very proud of him! I agree that there are many other things that could be cured before diabetes, but a wish here or there couldn't hurt :)

Jillian said...

What an amazing boy you have, it must be because of his wonderful mom! I wish I could have been like Joseph when I was his age. I hope your wishes are granted.

floreksa said...

I can't count the number of time your son has now made me cry at work. His maturity is far past mine.

Anonymous said...


This post reminded me of a class assignment my daughter (type 1 diagnosed at age 5) did last year when she was 8. The teacher asked the class to write down 10 wishes - her wishes went from wanting a new American Girl doll to wishing that her brothers would always be nice to her. When I read the project, I asked her if she ever considered wishing for a cure for diabetes? She thought for a moment and said "No - diabetes wasn't that big of a deal." Of course it took my breath away since I wish for a cure with every star I see, every candle blown out and all coins tossed in fountains.

Shannon said...

It was so touching that he was concerned about you wasting a wish on diabetes.

Joseph is a great kid.

Penny said...


That boy is something else!

Tell Joseph I "waste" all my wishes on a cure for diabetes too. Every coin I toss, every birthday candle I blow out, every falling star I see is a wish for Riley, Joseph, Danielle, Brendon, Charlie, be able to live a life without diabetes.

One day I hope I can use my wishes on something else.

Colleen said...

Seems like I post the same comment each time... Joseph is a truly amazing young man, obviously bright and even better, thoughtful. I'm sure his parents had a little something to do with that but it's still impressive.

Kerri. said...

My mother would have made the same wish as you. And I continue to make the same wish as Joseph.

Thank goodness for parents like you. You make it easier to say "I can live with diabetes."

Donna said...

Joseph is so mature for his age. But I've said before that diabetes seems to make a children wise beyond their years. Think of all the things he's learned - just about the human body. Of course, he had to learn the hard way - which we all wish he hadn't. So I'll still wish & pray for a cure so all these kids don't have to become wise beyond their years.

You have quite a kid there. He seems to roll with the punches. You should be (and I'm sure you are) very proud of him.

Seonaid said...

your son is amazing.. but I do hope you get your wish!

Kelsey said...

Thanks for making a pregnant lady cry Sandra! This was the sweetest post. I just sent my mom the link. :)

Joseph is maturing with this disease so beautifully and you're doing what every mom of a type 1 does, pray for us to be rid of it.

Allison said...


Thanks for "wasting your wishes."

Joseph is very lucky to have a mom like you. I'm sure it's been the wish of so many of the parents out there (my mom and dad included!).

And even though we can live with diabetes, I hope that it comes true.

:o) Allison

Heidi said...

I'm speechless, Sandra. It is amazing to hear Joseph being more concerned with other serious illnesses of the world - and of course his important card games - than with a possible cure for diabetes. Yet I also think that his wish shows something very important to all of us, not only parents of D-kids: Joseph, as every other kid with diabetes, is just a kid, and with his wish he clearly demonstrated that D in many aspects doesn’t make him any different than other kids, i.e. he can still look beyond diabetes and focus on all the down-to-earth things that are important in everyday life when you are 12 years old. That I think is important for all of us to remember, and of course something that you should be proud of. You are doing a great job in letting Joseph learn and know that even if D can be pretty nasty to us with all its highs and lows, it is still something that we can live with :-)

Still, as many before me have said, Joseph sure is wise beyond his years, and a very thoughtful young man!

Best wishes for all of you!


Carey said...

Sandra -

Joseph is truly inspiring. I'm awestruck. I can only hope that Charlie has such a head on his shoulders at that age. Terrific post.

Bernard said...


I'm going to have swear off reading your blog at work. I don't want people to see me with tears in my eyes.

You're doing a great job with that son of yours, and it shows.

Laura said...

what a great kid joseph is and a great mom you are

Michko said...

I'm slightly emotional right now, but this made me cry.

Jamie said...

Joseph is such an amazing young man. But, as a Mom to a child with Type 1 - I'm going to spend all my wishes on a cure too ;-) It's what we moms to D kids do.

I do like how he says "I can live with it" though. It means he's not letting it get him down and he's handling it. And, that all stems from having great parents like you and your husband who are teaching how to deal with it.

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