Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The real picture of courage.

Fear is a real emotion. And as brave as my children are...when they show fear, it is as real as the day is long.

I've done it before. If one of them complains I have said, "oh! It doesn't hurt that bad!" Or. "It will only hurt for just a minute...you'll be fine."

Sure, most of that is encouragement, letting them know that all will be well.

But really I think I was undermining their intelligence.

Because HOT DANG! It really does hurt.

I don't think pretending the fear does not exist is the way to go. The victory isn't ignoring the fear, the victory is in acknowledging it, and then overcoming it.

Yesterday L had his 3rd swimming lesson. He has been afraid of the water since...I don't know, forever?

He doesn't trust that it is safe, and he isn't convinced he can swim.

All of these issues are in his head of course. He has the ABILITY to swim. He has the tools. He physically CAN. But his head tells him something different. The fear speaks louder than the logic.

I've spent countless hours trying to build up his courage. Telling him he is more amazing than he gives himself credit for...and yesterday I had him.

On the way to the lesson I gave one of my best pep talks yet, and he was like, "I can do this! I WILL do a back float today!" Man, we were both psyched!

And then we got there and the teacher had him begin his lesson in a different part of the pool. The deeper part where there is no step. And there it was, written all over his face...


She had him sit on the side of the pool. She wanted him to take her hands and jump in. He could stand in that water, but he hadn't been over there before to prove that to himself. Part of my pep talk was to trust the teacher that she would never do anything unsafe. So after a lot of convincing....he did it.

He jumped in. And he was fine.

But the look on his face after he landed, I'll never...NEVER...forget it.

Pure fear.

(I had to stop typing here and cry for a minute. Man. Baby alert!)

30 minutes later he did that back float...by himself...for seven seconds.

I KNOW it took every ounce of courage he had to do that back float. He did it because he knew he would get a ribbon if he did. And he is SO proud!

But it is absolutely clear to me that I could never match the courage that this boy has. Back float AND first tummy site in one week.

Honesty time!

That pic I posted last week isn't a complete picture of what really happened with his tummy site. That pic was taken when we said we were going to pretend to do one. SO he smiled.

But then when we asked if we could put the site there for reals, he refused. And we weren't going to do one unless he was on board, so we were just about to put it in his butt/hip, when my husband looked at him and said, maybe we should do it here, and moved it back to his tummy. And after going back and forth, tummy...hip...tummy...hip...saying, "Here? Here? Here? Here?" L said , "Ok." very tentatively when we got to the tummy and my husband didn't flinch, he did it. and L screamed.

For like 10 minutes.

(The real picture of courage.)

And he made my husband PROMISE that he would never do a tummy site again, unless he asked him to.

And he promised.

But three days later this little boy who had such a traumatic experience with his last site change looked at my husband and said, "Do it in the tummy dad. Tummy sites rock."

And he closed his eyes, and winced a little and the site was in.

And he smiled.

What kind of courage did that take?

I can't even comprehend.

We can learn something from our children. Sometimes no matter how much the fear consumes us, we just need to jump in.

Sometimes, we need to close our eyes, wince a little and say, "Ok."

It is scary. The fear consumes us...but as we let go and give our children the freedom they deserve, and in most cases...earned, we will find that we CAN do it.
And every time after it will get a little easier.

Will the fear go away?

I don't think we are human if the fear completely goes away.

Our family played Apples to Apples the other day. At the end of the game, everyone reads the cards that they "won" and it is a little joke to say that those cards describe the player.

These were my cards:

I don't know about loveable or gorgeous...but I thought is was really appropriate to have courageous and fearful in the same breath.

Because I am both.

My boys are both.

And that is ok.


  1. Just in tears and so very proud! Whatta boy! (and what GREAT d-parents . . . heroes in my mind). Lots of love to you, gal!

  2. Oh, you have me in tears! Your boys are incredible, Meri! I have an idea where they get all that courage and bravery from...their mom is pretty fantastic in those areas too!

  3. Ummm, okay... I've met you and can attest that you are certainly ALL of those things (and more)!

  4. Aw, bless his heart! It's so funny which body parts kids are afraid of..for example, Adam refuses to do any other place BUT his tummy! I have to bribe to do an arm or butt site. :)

  5. It takes small steps to get over that fear, I think. How lucky he is to have such a great mom and supporter! I'm always so amazed by these awesome kids and how they handle D.

  6. What a wonderful and courageous blog post and what courage it took him to do the tummy! Wonderful boys you are raising Meri!

  7. L is my hero! I just switched to arm sites....after 8 years! I am twenty and I was still scared! I know how that feels L, but you rock. SO do you Meri!

  8. You and your husband are raising wonderful boys! I am so impressed with L's courage!

    Also, Meri, thank you so much for sharing your fears with us. We all have them and I definitely have a bunch of my own when it comes to caring for my CWD.

  9. Awww that face! Way to go L for being so brave. They amaze me seriously.

  10. I often think about how courageous Charlotte and all of our children are...for their finger sticks, insulin shots or site changes, Dexie sensor changes, and just the day to day living with D (the highs and lows...and in-betweens)! I know it took a lot of courage for him to do that tummy site...that's how Charlotte felt about a month ago when I convinced her to try her arm! Way to go L! And Meri, you're an awesome D-mama for helping him grow into the courageous young man he is!

  11. Chills! So true that courage can't exist without fear. I am guilty of trying to minimize Bean's fears in the hopes of helping her be more courageous. Sometimes I think it's better to just acknowledge the fear and leave it at that.
    Thanks for another 'hitting the nail on the head' post! You are one amazingly awesome mama!

  12. Blubbing over here. They are so bloody resilient. He is a star indeed. My boy is the same. it is allabout comfort zones and they are forced to be out of thier stoo often. But, boy, are they brave.
    And one more thing ... Loveable and gorgeous? You bet you are, my fab friend!

  13. Kids' fears are so very real. It's easy to forget.
    He did a great job and he's lucky to have such a loveable and gorgeous mom.
    In addition to his obviously very cool dad.

  14. http://thegirlsguidetodiabetes.comJune 28, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    oh my gosh this post brought me to tears. You're a wise woman, Meri. And you and your family are all very courageous. Thanks for the inspiration today!

  15. you are more loveable and gorgeous than you gives yourself credit for :) And I know 5 pretty lucky guys that would TOTALLY agree.

    Those cards are a perfect description of you.

  16. Thank you for sharing this. Fear. Thats a BIG part of a lot of kids lives--the ones that deal with D. No matter how much we might say 'its ok, it won't hurt.." you know they are thinking, "Mom your crazy! Its not your body your sticking and it DOES hurt!"
    Colton refuses--and he'll be 14 next month----he will NOT use any place but his butt to do a site change. Although he wants to try out a pod--and he wore a demo pod on his tummy last week--totally forgot he had it on.

  17. Wow, Meri, what a heartfelt post. And, so relatable. Esp. since we're about to start swim lessons here, too -- and I remember how scary they can be. It is always amazing how easily we can tell our kids not to be scared, but how it can be so hard to tell ourselves the same thing. Thanks for your piece.

  18. Ah...definitely "loveable" and "gorgeous" too!!!

    Wonderfully insightful and well written post Meri. Relateable for all of us. I think everyone struggles with fear...and then we overcome it.

  19. You brought back a memory with this post. It was more than ten years ago that my now 21 yo son fought me on tummy sites. His fear was eventually resolved much the same way, though with his 5% body fat he gave up his pump in favor of injections a few years ago.

  20. Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave. ~Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar, 1894

    You nailed it Meri! And ALL apples to apples cards describe wonderful you!

  21. Meri this made me cry, I am sorry that your son has these fears and faces the pain of diabetes. These are one of the parts of life that are hard for me to do with my children, I so wish I could hide the harsh parts and just take it all away, make it all okay. I know all parents want that, then I wonder about their character and how they're becoming such incredible people through all this. They handle more than I was ever allowed to face as a child, it sucks - yet, maybe there is a silver lining. I appreciate the follow up, not leaving just a sobbing pic but showing how your family hugs and continues to support one another, none of this "buck up and deal" when things really do hurt...I appreciate you being so transparent. And lady - you are loveable, gorgeous, courageous, and fearful...yet above all AMAZING!

  22. Heartbreaking, but yes so courageous amidst the fear. I think we should acknowledge their fear and pain (because yes, it does hurt!), but also have to encourage them that they are strong and can do it even though it's tough. I hope swimming gets easier and easier for him too. Oh, and our family LOVES to play apples to apples. It can get a little crazy with our son, but so fun!

  23. THat picture, ahhhh!

    And we love apples to apples! : ) Always surprised at what the kids pick! : )

  24. I've been so behind on blog reading lately that I had kind of made up my mind to scrap all of the posts in my feed reader and start fresh next week after I get back from Friends for Life. I'm so so glad I didn't do that, because I would have missed this amazing post that has brought tears to my eyes. Your son is incredible courageous. And you are everything on those four game cards . . . . and more!!

  25. catching up on so many posts, i shoulda known you'd have me weeping openly.


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