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Monday, January 24, 2011

It takes a villiage

 With everything that is going on with my dad, having 2 young children and Brian being a T1 himself, we decided that we are not being as prepared as we could be should an emergency take place.  There is not 1 person local to us, who we could just drop and go with Joshua should we need to. My mom and dad would be close but still take about an hour to get them up to spend on things. Not good in an emergency.

When Joshua was dx and several times over the last year we have had friends say "I'd like to be able to help you but I wouldn't know what to do." “Do you want to teach me how to care for him?" I'll be honest over the last year I have felt that they really didn't mean it, they can't, only I can do this, or they would never really want to...
In an effort to be better prepared and in my opinion the most responsible we could be. Brian and I decided to email some of our friends who have offered to "learn" more about caring for Joshua to do just that.  I really only expected 1 or 2 of them to actually come, not that I doubted any of them, but I explained in the letter what would have to be done. Well, I sent an email giving them plenty of chances to back out and everyone I emailed wanted to come learn. We had one family come on Friday night and 7 families were represented today at my house and 2 more families that couldn’t make it today want to learn.  This is so overwhelming to Brian and I.  These friends are more than friends really, most of them are a extension of our family. Some I have known since I was young, and some only the last few years.  But all of them are the go to people in my life.  They are the kind of people that when you have a family only party they are still invited. I have always known they would do anything for my children but this is MORE than anything.  I was crying as the responses came in. One person wrote "Finally you are asking for help. We have wanted to fight this battle with you but we didn't know how"... REALLY I thought we were going to be bothering you with our Diabetes world.. You really want to be a part of this???

So today we gathered in my living room, I hired a babysitter to come and keep the kids on one end of the house, while we stayed on the other. Everyone arrived at 4pm and we dove right in.  I gave everyone a chance to back out several times but no one moved.  They came with calculators and notebooks in hand.  I came with an 11 page document that I had adjusted and updated. It was the care book we got from Joanne.  They had questions and misconceptions they had learned along the way. There were lots of laughs, some tears and more diabetes knowledge then you can dream.  We had Stouffers Lasagna and Garlic bread for dinner, they calculated the carbs.  We had cupcakes for dessert and they calculated the carbs.  Hillary tested Joshua for the first time, Deanna did the math on the cupcake and Anna gave him the shot. 

Not everyone in this group came in knowing each other.  Some had only met at other events, others not at all. In the end they had formed a bond that I can’t even put in words; all around my little boy!!  They want a phone tree so that if they have him, and they have a question they can call each other. (of course I told them to call me first) They want to make secret calls to each other to check on us. They all want more practice before an emergency should arise, but they all feel like they could do it tomorrow, if needed.  You know I have 2 boys Joshua almost 2 and Jackson non D almost 5. Everyone said they don’t think they could do both boys at the same time and then pairs started popping up.  "Well if you take Jackson I can do Joshua, or we could both watch them together". It was an amazing and overwhelming experience. They have all decided they want Team Davis shirts.  (I quickly told them that the JDRF walk is on 10/22 and I'd be working on that)

I am sure over the next year I will lean on one or more of them to help out, emergency or not. I am sure when that happens I will be nervous and stressed out.  But I am also sure that I have one very loved little boy who is so lucky to be loved by this group of people.  Brian and I have been praying for the last year not to fight this battle alone.  You the DOC have been our only community, but until I just connected with Jill via the telephone, I really didn’t feel like anyone got it.  Our families have been amazing and our friends supportive but it was different we werent letting them in.  When I was with friends or updating Facebook with diabetes things, I felt like I was bothering them or they just felt sorry for me. Today I got from them that this is not the case. They want to be involved, they want to be bothered.  I am not naive, I expect that at least one of them will never really be comfortable enough to keep Joshua; I know it is a HUGE responsibility and it is okay. We discussed that tonight too... but the fact that they want to try and that they love us enough to want to fight alongside us is amazing!  I know this isn’t going to fix everything, I know Brian and I still won’t be going on vacations sans children, I know that I still won’t be gone for hours just doing something random.  But I also know, that if one of my loved ones need me, I now have 8 families I can depend on to be there to protect and love my son. 

cute kids enjoying a great dinner while the parents learned about Diabetes!

Joshua's Team.  3 more families not pictured.  HOW AWESOME are these people!
My plea to you my friends is that you will never know when an emergency with you non D family member will arrive.  It is vital that we try to find at least one person who can be our go to person in that case. You will want to be with your fill in the blank (child, husband, wife, mother, father, best friend etc) and not worried that you can’t be there, because no one outside your spouse has been prepared to help.  The other thing I learned is that our non D friends really do love us and WANT to help us, the same way that if it were their child we would want to help them.  We talk all the time about the lack of knowledge about what our children face with this monster and this is one way we can make a difference with our own circles as well as preparing for an emergency should it arrive. 

19 comments:

  1. That is so awesome! I have wanted to do something like this for a while now, need to get on it. How great to feel all that support and love. So wonderful!! Makes my heart smile.

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  2. You are simply AMAZING, my friend! I sat here and cried as I watched people that love you come together and ralley support that many of us D-Mom's would LOVE to have! I'm so glad we connected through that Christmas Card list!!! Even though you're over an hour away...I feel like it's not too far :) Can't wait til we can finally meet!!!! (((HUGS)))

    And to all your friends....THANK YOU! You have no idea how much weight you lifted off the Davis Family! You all are AWESOME!!!!

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  3. This is just wonderful to read!! It made me cry too. My husband and I were talking about this issue over the weekend as well. I'm so impressed that someone else even checked blood sugar AND gave the shot! That would have been so hard for me to let go of that!

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  4. I'm so very proud of you, Shannon, for all that you do. And most of all, I'm proud of you for letting people 'in' and letting them help. I would've been there if I lived close enough. You, Brian, and your boys are loved very much up here in Boston!!

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  5. Oh Shannon..I am so happy for you! Great job on reaching out..it is hard to do for sure! Thanks for posting this and inspiring others to do the same!

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  6. How wonderful... what a blessing to your family! Glad the care manual was useful!

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  7. My dear friend,
    Thank you for making me a part of Team Davis. I am so PROUD of you for sharing this journey of caring for Joshua with us...I know it was so hard to do.
    You sat with me for 5 days in a hospital after Natalie's accident. You never blinked twice when I needed to cry on your shoulder. When Bryan and I needed to sleep but did not want to leave Natalie's side, you sat with her. You gave up family time, part of a paycheck, loads of food and organizational skills to make my tragic reality a bit more bearable. I am so forever grateful for what you did. I know that taking care of Joshua (even for just a short amount of time) feels so small to me in repaying you, but I hope you know that I would do anything for your family, just as you did for mine. I love you all and am so happy to be included. As hard as October will be for me, I will proudly walk with you all! Love to you, my friend!

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  8. It is amazing to realize all of the people that love and support us. I was really blown away at all of the interest that we received from our loved ones. Just knowing that there are so many people are wanting to learn how to take care of Joshua. It really does take a village to raise a child. Most D families don't have a village to rely on. We do now, and our village is awesome!

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  9. What an amazing night! It proves that sometimes, all we need do is ask. This is inspiring, your friends are angels indeed!

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  10. Tears are still flowing from my eyes. This post is beautifully written and even more beautifully lived. I am so thankful there are so many people in your life that love this little boy that I love too. I am even more thankful that there are so many people in your life that love You and Brian and are there to support You and Brian. You are both so strong...even harder than doing it all on your own is reaching out to ask for help. I love you so much...so.very.much

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  11. What a wonderful, education, love, support, unifying evening Shannon. I am so glad that you did this. What a wonderful idea. I was in this boat right after Joe's diagnosis when my father was dying across country in California...Dave had to take time off of work (which we could not afford) b/c we did not have any family for back-up and we had not done this in the short 6 weeks after Joe's diagnosis.

    You guys are wonderful and so proactive!

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  12. Way to put yourself our there and actually 'DO' something about having back-up help when needed! I know we talk about it all the time, but never put anything in place to get those who want to be, trained. This is an example of awesome T1 parenting!!!!!

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  13. Oh, I am so glad to hear it. There's nothing more reassuring than knowing you've got help if you need it.

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  14. That is amazing! What a brilliant idea. Ok - that's it - I am totally doing this.

    Let's chat - I want to know what all you covered w/o freaking them out.

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  15. In life there are periods of time, some long, some short, that I like to call "God Moments". They are the moments in life when you know that God has stepped in... put His hand on your shoulder and wrapped the entire room in His Love. It sounds like you had and AMAZING God moment, Shannon. You are truly blessed.

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  16. Shannon, love your blog, i am going to include it in our next pump wear news letter. Julie at www.pumpwearinc.com

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  17. WOW Thanks everyone for such postive feedback. I really appriciate it!! WE never could have come to this "class" a year ago of course we had to get here over time and I do believe you can not push someone's readiness. Ill be updating you for sure!!
    Thanks Julie, for your wonderful praise!!

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  18. Wow! This is amazing! What a great idea to be prepared, but also to know you are not alone. Some of your best friends are starting to get what you're going through as you share with them some of the details, numbers, routines. I hope that this feeling of community/ family only grows stronger with time!

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