I was digging through a file cabinet yesterday looking for my marriage certificate (it will be 29 years next week. I just want to be sure I really did that back then. Just kidding. We are being audited by our insurance and I need it to prove we were married. Not kidding. But that’s another topic for another blog).
Anyway, way in the back I found a thick manuscript; one I’d been poking at for quite a few years but had not thought of for the last couple. It’s about growing up in the small, seaside town I lived in. It’s supposed to be funny. And a little shocking. And funny. Flipping through it, I suddenly thought this:
This is what I was supposed to be doing.
You see, I always knew I’d be a writer. I always suspected I’d be successful (in my extended family of cousins, it’s always been a given for all of us. You. Will. Try. And You. Will. Succeed. It was taught to us in the nicest of ways though). I kind of always knew I’d some day have a best-selling book out there.
But I never, ever, ever thought it would be this one. Which brings me to talking about the early success of my new book “Raising Teens With Diabetes: A Parent Survival Guide.” People love it. I hear from folks every single day telling me how it is helping them; how it speaks to them; how it opened their eyes to getting through the teen years with diabetes on board.
And some wicked, wicked awesomely smahht people (see? I DID grow up on the South Shore of Massachusetts!) have endorsed it in glowing ways. John Walsh loves my book? That’s like Ted Ligety saying my ski turns are smooth. Dr. Howard Wolpert recommends it? It’s as if Lindsay Davenport suggested you use my spin serve. And Jeff Hitchcock called it a “must read?” Yep, Bruce just asked me to open for him. (And in fact, this “Bruce of diabetes” actually did ask me to open for him. More on that in a bit). So in other words, the book is a success. And I wrote it.
Which brings me pride, excitement, a dizzy feeling and then …. Some sadness. Because, let’s not forget: the reason I know this topic, the reason I pitched this book, the reason I was able to write this in the first place is something I’d wish away in a heartbeat. My daughter has battled Type 1 Diabetes for almost all her life. My daughter had traumatic teen years with diabetes. My daughter has no memory of what it’s like to not have an incurable disease that butts into every moment of your life. So, how I am supposed to feel?
I’ve been thinking a lot about that these past weeks. Because as the book soars, more opportunities are coming my way. Like Keynoting at the Barbara Davis Center in Colorado in early August when the amazing program Insulindependence comes there. And being on hand to help the 161 amazing delegates at JDRF’s Children’s Congress in early July. And of course, sharing the Eli Lilly Keynote Opening Address with Tom Karyla at the incredible Friends for Life in Orlando, perhaps the largest and most amazing type 1 diabetes conference in the world. Yeah, I get to do all that. I get to have an impact. I get to feel like I’m making a difference. And there’s more to come. More speaking engagements all over (even in other nations, perhaps!), more chances to appear in the media like THIS and THIS, and more cool stuff.
Which brings with it guilt. But here is what I am coming around to thinking as this all unfolds.
We all must use our given talents to make this world a better place.
Because, really, we all do have talents. I happen to have been lucky enough to have been given some kind of something that helps me communicate well. Then I was blessed with some gifted teachers who guided my talent in the right direction (Thank you Miss Shickert at Creek Valley Elementary in Edina!). I was able to work in some great places with some amazing bosses (I still miss you on this earth, David Cutler. But I’m pretty sure you’re running heaven’s newsroom right now). And so, when diabetes came into our lives, it was only a matter of time until I realized I had to use my talent to help.
Which is a good thing, because the only other talents I have are as follows:
*Singing exactly like a munchkin
*In-pool handstand duration champion. Even the kids cannot beat me.
And I’m just not sure what good those could do.
Although …. When I think about it: every single talent we each possess can be used to make our lives with diabetes on board better.
So in a way, I’m okay with feeling good about all this. I found a talent and then used it for the good of our mission: better life with diabetes and forward progress toward a cure for diabetes.
And I’m not alone. My friend Tanya is an amazing baker. Last month, she baked her fingers to the bone and then held a bake sale for a cure, bringing her to her $2,000 raised goal for the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes. Who would think that the amazing ability to make perfect cake pops could help change the world?
So as I work at finding a way to feel okay about all this, I ask you today: What’s your talent? And how will you use it? I encourage you to ponder that, figure it out and make it happen.
And when you do and when it does help change the world, don’t feel guilty. Instead: celebrate.
I pulled that manuscript out and placed it on my desk, thinking it was time to get back to that. But then I remembered: I have a diabetes blog to update. I have speaking engagements to prepare for. I have messages to respond to from parents who have read the book and need help. The manuscript can wait. My talent is needed elsewhere.
Just don’t be surprised if I speak to you like a munchkin. Gotta use all the talents.
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