Anniversaries conjure up many thoughts and emotions. Typically they relate to celebration of festive events: the anniversary of one’s birth, wedding anniversaries, graduations, employment (particularly those of us who are fortunate enough to work for employers who value our years of service and recognize us for that accomplishment). Even accomplishments such as anniversaries of sobriety and smoking cessation are celebrated dates.
As a society we also commemorate anniversaries around things that are not so festive: the anniversary of the death of a loved one, or the anniversary of a solemn event such as September 11, 2001 (I have more to say about this anniversary in a subsequent blog…read it here). For the most part, regardless of the nature of the anniversary, the one thing that they seem to have in common is family. Family who come together for a common cause or common reason to celebrate or commemorate the shared event.
Recently I read the blog of a friend who struggles with an upcoming anniversary. On September 17 one of my little heroes, Nate Houston, will commemorate his 1-year anniversary as a person with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). I have always found it odd that those of us in the world of T1D talk about this anniversary date so readily. I have yet to meet a parent who does not know the exact anniversary date on which their child was diagnosed. We recently surpassed Jake's sixth anniversary in August and will come to Matt’s fourth in March. I must say that I have not spent a great deal of time thinking about the concept of my boys’ anniversaries until recently.
For the better part of the last year I have read an almost daily accounting of how this date has impacted Nate’s life and the lives of his parents, sisters and grandparents. Nate’s story is told through the blog of his mom Laura, who has appropriately named these chronicles Houston We Have a Problem. Though I have never met Nate, I have come to know these folks through routine exchange of blog posts, facebook comments and email. I am drawn to his story, perhaps because Nate and Jake were about the same age when they were diagnosed, or perhaps because Laura’s bravery through her ordeal reminds me so much of the strength with which Rachel has guided our experience, or perhaps its for one much more basic reason, I can simply related to the Houston family, their lives, their challenges and their experiences since that fateful date. This reality brings me back to the concept of family...
The Kaspers and the Houstons are separated by thousands of miles. In the land between us there are thousands of others kids just like Nate, Jake, and Matt and countless families just like the Houstons and the Kaspers. Most of us have never met in person. Yet we share these exeriences. We share common concerns. We share common stories. We share common challenges. We share these anniversaries.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a family as "a group of individuals living under one roof". While we do not share a roof, we certainly share enough common issues that perhaps we have forged ahead with a new defininition. The extended family of families with T1D is extraordinary. We laugh together, we cry together, we swap stories of triumph and tragedy, we feel as though we are the only ones who can truly appreciate each others perspectives, and we are bound together in our common goal to do whatever is needed to find a cure for the disease that impacts our children. With all due respect to Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webster, we are family!
So Nate - as part of my family - I have to say to you that I hope you celebrate this anniversary. You deserve to celebrate a year of bravery and triumph. Though you have gone through difficult times, you have come so far in your life with T1D. You started pumping. You startd CGM. You have started, in just your first year, to do all of the things that will enable you to have a multitude of anniversaries because you will live a long and healthy life. Some day when you are old enough to understand, you will be grateful to your parents for having started you down this path and you will become aware of the extended family that is out there to share in the triumphs of your future.
Scott Kasper Photography
Scott, what a beautiful post . . .from the first time we all connected, you have reached out to our family . . .and like you, I feel as if I do know you and your beautiful wife and boys. Thank you for caring not only for Nate and Laura, but it is obvious your heart is large enough to care for all fighting this cruel disease. On a side note, now I see yet another side of you . . .great writer in addition to being a wonderful father, husband and photographer~Thank you Scott Kaspar for being a part of our family!
Well said and yes, we are all family. I couldn't agree more. I am so grateful for the whole lot of you. You make my days and nights with "d" more tolerable b/c I know that you get it, I know you are walking the "walk" and talking the "talk"...maybe in a different zip code, perhaps in a different time zone...but you get me. I love you Laura and friends.
We are all under one roof so to speak...diabetes is an umbrella that covers the entire T1 communtity. I consider you and all my friends out in blogger space my family.
Thank you Scott for this beautiful post, and the reminder that we can find sameness and solice in our community. Beautiful!
Just a Mom
I AM a wife.
I AM the mom of 3 wonderful children.
I AM my son's pancreas.
The information provided on this blog is from our personal experiences with Type 1 diabetes. Because something works for us does not mean it will work for you.
Please consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your health care options.
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