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Friday
Aug102012

What We Learn

Sleeping is not a problem for me when it comes to travel. Whenever I am a passenger I fall asleep. Car, train, or airplane will rock me to sleep almost immediately.

On the way to Indianapolis for the Roche Social Media Summit I had a stop in Phoenix Arizona to change planes for my final flight into Indiana. Being as oblivious as I am I did not realize that two very cool DOC members were going to be joining me for the flight in.

Mike Lawson (the one coming down the aisle) and Wendy Rose (hidden behind Mike) boarded the plane much to my surprise. I was able to snap this picture but did not do well with any follow up pics.

Mike sat right behind me and Wendy sat across the aisle and we chatted for most of the trip much to the chagrin of the guy behind Wendy who was trying to read. Sorry dude.

During the flight Wendy and I were talking about our kids, a topic both of us like to discuss. She mentioned that her youngest is starting Kindergarten this year and we talked about how quickly time flies.

I told Wendy that I cannot believe my oldest is 18 and my baby is starting High School. My son and I had a heart to heart recently (like we do often actually) and I told him that even though he is 18 and legally an adult, that my job as a parent was not over. There are still so many life experiences that he is unfamiliar with and I am prepared to help guide him through.

My kids have heard me say this before but I believe my job as a dad is to raise my children to be contributing, functioning members of society with integrity and kindness. If being strict means they will hate me then so be it. I am willing to jeopardize the way I am viewed in their eyes right now to make sure they have the foundation they need to be successful in life, knowing that in the future they will understand it all.

Thankfully my kids have been receptive to all my crazy lessons and our relationship is nothing short of a miracle. I could not ask for more.

Wendy asked me, “how old were you when you lost your dad?”

“18. It was just after my first anniversary of being diagnosed.”

Then she brought up something I have never thought of. The possible reason I am so focused on constantly teaching my kids life lessons is because subconsciously I am not sure how much time I have left.

Wow, that kind of blew me away.

Not that other parents are not thinking about teaching their kids all the time. I am not saying that. What I mean is taking every moment to teach with the thought that this may be the last thing you will ever say to them.

I sat there lost in my thoughts. Flashes of my kids little faces looking at me while I taught them things about the world. Was I going overboard with all the deep conversations forcing my kids to look at things from every angle and seeing both sides of every argument? Was it too much? Did I take away from those experiences for them by turning them into life lessons?

The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and I am proud and happy to report that my kids are pretty great. Perfect? No. Great? Yeah, I would say they are. So maybe our strategy is working.

I have always vowed that before I lecture my kids I would remember what it was like to be their age first. That practice, I believe, has helped me get through to them as opposed to just becoming white noise. As parents we can only hope we have done the right thing.

Wendy said that she thought my dad’s death was one of the most defining moments in my life and I could not agree more. It still affects me and that was over 20 years ago.

The real reason for this post is to show you how much can be learned and understood from community. Even online with only blogs, some Facebook statuses, and tweets did Wendy see all this about me and my life. She noticed something about me that I never saw and that feels good.

Sharing our story matters. It matters because the person reading could be helped, inspired, or even be there to help you! A total turn around but in the most awesome way possible! The DOC community may be growing in numbers but the closeness of the group seems to be the same.

We learn a lot about each other in all this sharing and it makes for a beautiful community. I feel blessed to be a part of it.

 

Disclosure: Roche paid for my travel, hotel and meal expenses for my trip to Indy. They have not however, required any blog posts from any of us. Feedback provided by me is completely my own opinion. 

Reader Comments (11)

This story is a great example of the beauty of our community. The "lesson" that Wendy taught had nothing to do with the D that brought us together...but just about two people connecting because they are both human.

At times we're all bitching about finding test strips in random places (did you hear Bob say that he once found one in the microwave?!) but when you boil it down, we're just friends supporting one another in the way that friends do.

Loved meeting you man.

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Lawson

I am amazed at the support from the DOC as well as the chronic illness community I've received over the past couple years with all that has gone on without my chronic conditions directly being involved. It's kept me going more than anyone could ever imagine. (And thank you for yours.)

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

I love this post. The love and pride you feel for your kids emanates from the screen. They are indeed lucky kids. When I look at my own grown children I puff up a bit. Their father died when they were 21, 17, 12 and 10. Raising the two youngest mostly on my own has always worried me...that I was doing it wrong. I didn't. Like you said, they're great but not perfect.

This community is amazing and I also feel blessed to have found it.

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate

This post is beautiful, true and it made me cry. And it made me very grateful to be part of the Diabetes On-line Community. Thank you so much for sharing!

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterk2

Wendy is one wise mama :) I love that you have a great relationship with your kids, gives me hope that they might not hate my life lessons. Once they realize I know what I'm talking about anyways.

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLora

We can learn so much from each other! Amen!

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeri

Hold on...I need to get a tissue...

Okay.

It was so awesome to share such a great conversation on the plane. Having you and Mike there made that flight amazing -- despite the turbulent landing ;)

Your family is absolutely beautiful, and I love the closeness you guys have. It's my prayer that Jason and I will be able to look upon our own family with the same sense of contentment when it's our turn to watch the children transition to adulthood. No one is guaranteed tomorrow -- your dedication to being the best father you can be for your children will be a gift they will treasure every day for the rest of their lives.

I've found some of the closest friendships I've ever known through the DOC. And Mike is right...when you strip away the diabetes and testing supplies -- we're really just people. People connecting, friendships forming, and meaningful moments that remind us of how blessed we are to have found this amazing community.

Thanks for the awesome flight chat :)

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

Love this post.... that's what it's all about for me is through D I have found so many remarkable friendships that I will always cherish...You're kids are so awesome! Love you all...

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaimie

I will repeat here what I wrote on twitter (for posterity) - "Nice post but @MrsCandyHearts is my BFF/obsession and I DON'T want to share her!! :P"

But seriously, I love my diabetes community. I have learned so much from each and every one of you.

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Amazing post G-Money. Your kids are magical. You and Jazz are pretty great too.

August 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterScott K. Johnson

It amazes me how much talk I hear lately about raising kids. Too often I see parents who are going out of their way to be their child's friend and not their parent. I couldn't agree more that it is our job to raise our children to be "contributing, functioning members of society with integrity and kindness". My "baby" turns 18 this year. I hope and pray that I have not missed or will miss any opportunity to help her grow up successfully.

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

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