I remember about 2 months after my four-year-old son was diagnosed a relative asked if I would like her to come over for a weekend and watch the kids to give me a little respite from diabetes care. Not sure if it was the dark circles under my eyes from night hypo patrol, the fact that I hadn't worn make-up in months, or perhaps it was the hair… probably the hair. My first thought (which lasted about .0005 seconds) was "Wow, that sounds so amazing". My second thought kicked me in the stomach, and instantly brought an indescribable pain in my chest and tears to my eyes. The thought? "If I feel exhausted, worn out, and a need to escape… what must my son feel like? And barring a major medical breakthrough, he will not get a respite for a long time."
I'll never forget that moment. It has stayed with me always. Yes, even on night hypo patrol, especially when it was scary. I never could feel sorry for anything I went through because I love a diabetic. Why? At any point I could walk away for a break and no matter how much I wanted, I could not give him that gift.
And so, we looked for other escapes, even if it was just an hour. A blessed hour or two that we didn't think about what we were going to eat, or when we need to test again. We read a library full of books together and escaped with the Swiss Family Robinson, Harry Potter, and Leven Thumps. We made blanket forts in the family room, pretended to be alligators in the pool, and shot a large amount of soda cans to pieces in the desert.
Escape to me is that piece of our soul that says "D, you don't own me. Whatever you dish out, I'm still in charge."
My son is too grown up now to want to escape with his mom, but I still encourage him to take time for himself. So he fishes, hikes, snowboards, and he still shoots cans to pieces in the dessert. (Some things are still fun no matter how old you get.)
I'm a strong believer that everyone needs an escape.
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