We interrupt this program for a very important announcement: my youngest child is officially POTTY-TRAINED! Out of diapers and into a "big girl bed." Emotionally, I'm all over the map...
* Elation! The end of the tushie-wiping era. No more schlepping the baby backpack -- my constant companion for nearly 9 years now! -- stuffed full of outgrown diapers and change-of-clothes and chock full of sandy crumbs from long-departed snacks.
* Heartbreak. I felt a little chest pain when we cleaned the house out of baby bottles two years ago, but nothing like this. There stands the disassembled crib and matching changing table, the trash-bagged diaper bin, and sacks full of soft, small bedding waiting sadly in the rain for the Salvation Army truck. Never to return to this home. Ever. They're growing up, and as exhausting as it's been, I'll miss this magical time with my babies for the rest of my life.
* Another Feeling, that I might call Reverence, for lack of a better term. Just the sense that this -- that she -- is a milestone that's brought my mortality to the forefront. Would I have presented with Type 1 diabetes had I not opted for the third child? Was it not the strain of that last pregnancy (and ensuing illness of the child) that put me over the edge? So the theory goes... Yet NO REGRETS, of course. I could not imagine our lives without that ray of sunshine!
What I feel is a strange sensation of life pulling us forward. They're really starting to grow up. They're changing and learning, and blooming. Soon this "early years" phase will be nothing but a happy memory.
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Meanwhile, I am marked for life. The Foreverness of the diabetes seems to be slapping me in the face. I don't want to associate my little one's birth with this unfortunate life sentence, but the reality is that the two are tied together.
One of my strongest memories of her sweetness was as I lay emaciated in the hospital (picture the images in dLife's recent "Story of Insulin" documentary). She was just 5 months old at the time, and I was so desperate to see her, I felt I could've clawed the nurses eyes out for keeping me in that hospital against my will. Anyway, the nanny brought her in freshly bathed and she smelled so good I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. That afternoon, I gave myself my first insulin shot -- and began directly to channel my bitterness into determination to "figure this disease out" such that it would not and could not interfere with precious life.
So you saved me, too, Baby. You make life worth staying alive for. Thank You! Oh, and congratulations on your new underwear.