One week after we left the hospital, Grace was scheduled for soccer camp. It made me sick thinking of sending her off to camp, by herself, in the charge of mostly teenagers. Initially I told Tom I didn't think we should do it. He was very supportive and said do what I thought was right. Which made me think, was it right? I called Grace's nurse who explained to me as scary as it might be, the answer should always be "yes." Grace should never be given the impression that diabetes will slow her down. So I took a deep breadth and wouldn't you know, everything turned out just fine. I showed up every day to give insulin and check in and there she was-running, playing, giggling like every other kid. It was hard to make that call but Grace's nurse is right, I will not let this thing slow her down-even if that means I need to occasionally step aside.
The other day Grace said to me, "Mom, when I grow up can I still play soccer?" Me, "Of course! You can even do it for a living and travel around the world playing soccer." Grace, "Like in South America?" Me, "Yes, South America." Grace, "Aren't there snakes there?" Me, "They don't let them play soccer." She was tickled at the idea of being a professional soccer player. And I was too. She will be my Mia Hamm and she will conquer the world of soccer-diabetes be damned!
So the soccer season has started and Grace is a transformed player. Last year, the kid was a mess. She had few fundamentals, was easily frustrated, and tripped over her own feet. I am just blown away by how much she has changed. Grace is fast. I don't say this as a proud parent (of course I am!) but the kid can run. I've noticed this at the playground or kids races they do at 5ks. She has a really long stride and she seems to glide without much effort (unlike her mother:). This past weekend she had so many breakaways, I lost count. To see her charge down the field (with boys in pursuit, no less) made my heart explode. She had a ton of shots on goal-and while she didn't score this weekend-she has a few coming her way.
People frequently ask Tom and I why we run. We both have similar answers: it makes us happy. It gives us a sense of freedom. I think Grace feels that. After every breakaway I shouted to her and gave her the "thumbs up" and she just beamed. She's happy and alive out there. While she's too young to express it, I bet it makes her feel free too.
Last night, when I tucked Grace into bed, I told her how very proud I was to watch her on the field. She was a good sport (even when she was clearly tripped with an open shot on goal) and played with all her heart. I whispered to her that nothing, and I mean nothing will ever stop her from following her dreams. She whispered, "Even diabetes." Not as a question. It was a statement. I replied, "Even diabetes." Grace, "I know mom." If Grace knows it, then it must be true. And I'll take a page out of her book.