Those tears I should have cried 16 months ago are trying to leak out now, at the most inopportune moments.
I guess I’ve found the limit of how long I can pretend to be strong.
Ever since Saturday, I am struggling to keep the tears back. We spent much of the day at an event for families of diabetic children, sponsored by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the JDRF. That event has outgrown its venue, which is good in one way because more people can learn important strategies to help their kids manage diabetes, but bad in another because it means that there are very, very many kids who have to learn to manage diabetes.
On Saturday morning, everyone at the conference was jam-packed into a hotel ballroom, where someone had played a game of “How Many Skinny, Uncomfortable Chairs Can You Pack Into One Conference Room” and each and every person in the audience was the loser. As it got more crowded, I got more tense and upset until I couldn’t stand being in there anymore. My heart was racing and my eyes were filling with tears and I felt like I couldn’t breathe in there. Well, hello, panic attack! How nice of you to come at such an inconvenient moment!
I missed most of the keynote address because I was hiding in the bathroom battling back the tears, then sipping a (decaf) mocha in the lobby, where the chairs were far away from each other. I managed to calm down enough to make it through the day, but I haven’t really decompressed completely since then, so I almost broke down this morning in the school parking lot, during Mass, and in ShopRite.
Besides the (very reasonable under the circumstances) claustrophobia, I think a lot of this is because I never did cry when The Kid was diagnosed with diabetes. I had to jump right into management mode, because there’s no luxury of time to do anything else. We went straight from diagnosis into a 3-day boot camp, then home to deal with it all on our own.
I’m pretty sure that’s part of the reason that every time we go to a Diabetes Convention, where the focus is All Diabetes, All The Time, I break down. Last year it wasn’t as bad; I just couldn’t manage sitting at the lunch table talking diabetes with other parents, so I wandered around the exhibit hall. That seemed to head it all off at the pass. I also don’t deal well when we go to things like cast parties or school events, where I freak out at all the unlabeled food, though we’ve done fairly well at counting carbs at such times.
I’ve been too busy being the mom and trying to stay competent and, you know, keep my kid alive. I haven’t had time to cry.
Also, if I let myself cry, does that mean that this has beaten me?
The thing is, I look around at the crosses all these other people are bearing, and I feel ashamed that I am being brought to my knees by what seems to be comparatively small stuff. I should just be able to roll with it and handle this, right?