For years I couldn't look at two year olds for more than a few minutes. My heart would break when I realized how truly small they were. I would look at the tiny fingers with no marks on them and want to cry.
I have had to get over this. Yes, my son was that small once. Yes, what he had to endure was not what a two year old should experience but he is alive and healthy today. He still goes through things that a teen shouldn't have to think about either but that is our life and we have to live it.
I have a precious little two year old girl in my life. I am able to look at her tiny fingers and simply see the amazing things that she creates with them and how she uses them to pull her mother's face close as she kisses her. Every once in a while, I still slip back.
Yesterday she came for a visit. We nursed her dolls back to health, caught up on Dora, played with play dough and colored a few pictures. All of that work required a snack! She sat down to the table and chose what she wanted to eat. She ate the amount that she wanted and was blissfully happy.
For just a moment, I looked at her cute little face and realized that she was the exact same age now as my son was when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I didn't have to count her crackers. I didn't have to measure out her milk. She would not be forced to eat when she wasn't hungry. She would not have to learn about "cow-bo-hi-dwates" until she was an adult and only then if she chose.
The thoughts of diabetes faded quickly however as she showed me her mouth filled with food and laughed at my feigned disgust. Its a game we have been playing for months--I "see" the food all mushed in her mouth, she swallows and then tells me that she sent it to her tummy and shows me that.
Diabetes no longer robs me of these moments but it still lurks in the background taking me back and making me grateful for healthy pancreases in those I love and more.