I am participating this week in the WEGO health writer challenge. Today’s assignment was to go to flickr and let it choose a random photo, then write about it. Here goes.
Riding – horseback riding – was a big part of Lauren’s growing up. And despite diabetes, she got out there and rode a few times a week as a little, little girl. Without me. Without a nurse. Without worry. Without hesitation. With joy.
I loved that I knew little about the sport itself, or the amazing place she got to do it in. Called, “Little Forge,” it was tucked into a rural part of our town. There, she told me (and I only saw the street side; this was truly her world), they could ride across fields of flowers, or ride for what felt like forever in the woods, or ride right into a pond and let the horses swim – all while still on their backs. I kind of loved how it was a place that, for me, existed only in her stories to me. It was her world; hers to share what she wanted but keep close what she chose to protect. For a girl whose entire world was her mother/caretaker’s to pick over, stress about and plan to the minute, that must have been cool for her. Anyway, it all sounded magical to me, and from the look on her face every time she went there and every time I picked her up, it must have truly been.
Mind you, I made sure she had what she needed on her. Glucose. A meter. The works. But she tucked it into a backpack that she could barely feel and she just set herself free out there. I imagined her in the woodsy sun, galloping away, hair flying in the wind, smiling.
When I dropped her off, I didn’t even wait around. Somehow, the beauty of the spot lulled me; convinced me that not only would my little girl with diabetes be fine, she’d be amazing out there.
And she always was.
There were funny times too: like the time she fell off her horse as I was watching – there to pick her up – and got caught by her pump tubing on the saddle. She was hanging from it! It was pretty hilarious. Or the time the JDRF national office sent a professional camera crew to film her time at the stables. She got thrown. And broke her ankle. All while the cameras whirred. (They did not use that part).
Thinking back, I realize: when I wasn’t there, these things did not happen. Could it be the universe was trying to tell me, even way back then, that the best thing I could do for my girl was to let her live a full life despite diabetes?
Lauren does not have much time to ride nowadays. She’s far away in Washington DC mastering other dreams. But in a way, it’s kind of the same. I drop her off and pick her up but really, I cannot see her. Her face when I do is alive; as if she is in some magical place; one I don’t quite know all about. And in a way, she is. There are her new friends. There’s an amazing city. There is all she is learning in her classes and internships and sorority life and more. I hope she tucks what she needs in her backpack out there, but I’m happy and lulled by the beauty of it all. Because I know my girl will be fine. She’ll be amazing