Doughnuts and Do-nots
My 13-year old daughter, Megan, was in the last seconds of her final soccer game of the season when her team scored the winning goal. It was very exciting, especially considering how much they had struggled to get some wins. The parents on the sideline were just as thrilled as the girls on the team.
Then I saw the boxes filled with doughnuts. Somebody had brought treats to celebrate the end of the season. But it wasn't doughnuts I saw—it was yet another difficult decision for my child with diabetes.
The usual calculations ran through my head. What's her blood glucose now? Will the activity of the game reduce her blood sugar for the next several hours, or just for a short time? Will the adrenaline of the win elevate it?
I hate doughnuts. Too much sugar, too much fat, and I have no idea what the carb count is. Just one snack, but so many questions.
Megan grabbed a doughnut covered in chocolate frosting and asked if she could have it. Against my better judgment, I said it was up to her. She must have guessed what I was thinking, and she said she wouldn't eat it. She had no problem finding someone willing to take it off her hands.
As we were walking to the car, Megan said I seemed like I was in a bad mood. I told her that I was just sad. Sad that there were doughnuts after the game, and sad for her that she has to make such difficult choices. She replied simply that she's done it before, and she'll have to do it again.
I hate doughnuts, but I love that in the four years that Megan has had diabetes, she has learned the value and importance of good nutrition. As a middle school student, she is faced with this sort of decision every day. She has gained and accepted the responsibility of making those choices, and she's done it beautifully.
And while she's on the soccer field, doughnuts don't matter. Diabetes doesn't matter. She enjoys the camaraderie of her teammates and knows she doesn't have to be just like them to take value in those friendships and in her love of the sport.
I hate doughnuts, but I love that Megan has an increased ability to find the joy surrounding her. I have seen her mature beyond her 13 years. Megan has reminded me that she has what it takes to win off the soccer field, too.
Illa Davis lives in Spokane, Wash. with her husband and three kids. She is the founder of TruView, a diabetes logbook company.