Dear Miss Chief,
My darling, special, amazing little girl, today marks the end of your first year of living with Type 1 Diabetes. Congratulations. You have not only survived but remained happy and healthy, and together we have learned so much; about diabetes and food but mostly about ourselves and each other.
Your strength and determination are both an asset and a liability. As your mother it is my job to make sure you know how and when to use them. But without a doubt they are what have got you through this first tough year, still with a cheeky smile upon your face and a crazy giggle in your heart. I always wanted a spirited, slightly cheeky child (with blonde pigtails, funnily enough) but I never guessed what a tough job it would actually be to parent one.
Do you remember when we first came home from hospital with all our crazy equipment: meters, insulin vials, pens, logbooks? No, you probably don't remember the logbooks but I did a lot of writing in those first few weeks and a lot of talking to doctors on the phone. But perhaps you remember how you refused to have your injections and we told you what would happen if you didn't: that you'd get sick and end up back in hospital. And that mammy and daddy held you down and gave you your insulin the "hard way". We only had to do that a couple of times. You soon realised it was non-negotiable. After that if you refused we just said, "easy way or hard way?" You always chose the easy way even though that must have actually been the hardest for you.
Parties were tough at first. You'd start off with the best of intentions but pretty soon your blood glucose level would be through the roof and you'd be manically grabbing all the food you could, sneaking it if I'd asked you to stop. These days we are both so much better at it. We have your pump which means more flexibility and less planning ahead and mammy is so much better at carb counting. But it's mainly because you always show me exactly what you're eating and check before you do.
Daddy and I are so very proud of you for the way you have accepted diabetes as a part of your life. In the early days you even used to remind us if we hadn't given you your insulin before your meal. Even now you will sit patiently with your food in front of you asking if it is ok to start eating. You have embraced your pump and never once refused to wear it, as I worried about so much before we got it. Well maybe just when you're playing in the pool but that is fair enough. You have every right to behave and feel like a normal child. Because in every way you are exactly that. Normal.
In every way except for one: you are you. Crazy, wild, funny, entertaining, loving, intuitive, wilful, brave, outgoing, confident, intelligent, adventurous, daring, strong, creative, beautiful you. I love you for that and I couldn't ask for more in a daughter.
You have everything you need and more to make it in this life even with diabetes and I am confident you won't let it stop you achieving anything you want. I have no doubt that in 10, 20 or 30 years time I will be writing a similar letter saying how proud I am of all you have done and all that you are. I only hope that we continue to support you in the best way we can as I have no doubt you will just get on with things so much so that those around you forget you even have diabetes. Of course the real hope here is that medical science advances to the state where you either don't have it any more or are able to live your life as though you don't.
Until then my precious daughter, go get 'em, and in the words of your brother (and probably He-Man), "take on the world."