This is how we spend our weekends. Busy and action packed. No whining about how cruel life is. No bitching about things we can’t do. Just doing things we want to do. And mostly in the dirt apparently.
Parents of type 1’s: Stop telling your kids they are damaged. Stop telling them they are broken or fragile. Stop making them believe that their whole life will be a series of compromises and disappointments. Just shut up and get out of their way. They can be professional quarterbacks, race car drivers, Olympians, actors, singers, and yes, even a fireman or a Miss America contestant. If they are good at something, encourage them. Support them. Love them. Don’t discourage them. Don’t tell them they can’t. It shouldn’t be from their own parents. They will hear that from lots of other places, and often times for reasons other than they have type 1. Even if the current landscape prevents a diabetic from participating, who knows what will happen in 5 or 10 years. And if they are great at something? They will find a way to do it. But you have to believe in them too…
This is where we were just a few days before:
And as soon as we felt better? Right back at it.
Let your child amaze and wow you with just how brave they are. And if you are doing it right, they might never know that what they are doing is brave. They are just doing what they love, they have no idea they shouldn’t or couldn’t do it.
I am a pretty lucky guy. I got to watch my daughter compete with her DAD’s Raven and Major all summer long. Stella and Raven really sailed through most of their events, right up until the very last one, for the very last leg they needed to get the Rally Excellent title. As soon as Stella took Raven off her leash, Raven decided that one of the stuffed animal distraction toys just looked way too enticing, and took off across the course to fetch it. I thought for sure they would be disqualified. At one point I was even upset with the judge for making them continue and run the course without letting her know she was done. But I watched Stella intently. Here I am, a grown man, knowing full well if that happened to me, my emotions and attitude would get the best of me and it would have shown. Stella on the other hand, showed tremendous grace and poise. She finished the course, and they performed well. At the end, she ran off with Raven, and as soon as she left the ring she burst into tears. She knelt down and hugged her dog, holding on for life, telling her she was a good girl. I took a picture, and it summed up the whole experience for me:
And then in the ring, the judge personally honored her. She talked about how great she did holding it together, and that not only did she qualify, but she took third place. Why? Because the incident happened PRIOR to the judge saying “Ready? Begin”
We can learn as much from our kids as they can learn from us. And sometimes, the best thing we can do is keep quiet and let them go. Just get out of their way. Let them believe they can, and they will.
This year will be another year of shows and competing. She will enter her first horse show, she will compete with Major in Rally and complete his titles, and she will compete with Raven in agility. Who am I to tell her she can’t?