Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Does Santa Need Insulin?

Traditionally in my house--and I'm not sure how this started really because my kids never write the actual wish-list "Letter to Santa"--someone ends up leaving Santa a note with the cookies. Maybe it's in case he thinks they're set out for someone else and that he might offend the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. Maybe it is an explaination to help himself from the milk in the fridge so we don't have to leave it spoiling on the countertop and making milk rings in my glass.

So this year my son, a first-year type 1 diabetic, includes "I'm sorry we don't have any extra insulin for you." When he first said he was going to write that, it hurt my heart that it was even on his mind, but for him that's the reality: "Hand at the mouth, hand on the hip," meaning if you're eating, you better be pumping more insulin. I explained to him that Santa wasn't diabetic, that magic people wouldn't be diabetic, and he said then he would ask Santa to make us not diabetic anymore. Don't I wish. I know it stinks for a kid, for an adult, especially at Christmas.

After our talk about the note, I figured any discussion of the state of the pancreas, either Santa's or anyone else's, was no longer on the little guy's mind, but there it was, in ink, in black-and-white so to speak, just before he ended the note. Now my son is old enough to know the real secrets of Santa, he is in fifth grade, and maybe that's why he included the apology, but if that were true, wouldn't he have worded it differently? He knew there was plenty of insulin for both his parents as well as for him and his sister. But how skewed is his view of the world that he thinks he'd better leave insulin with cookies?

Just picturing a syringe full of insulin lying next to a plate of cookies and glass of milk changes the whole thing, doesn't it? But don't feel sorry for my son; in all honestly, it was either a joke, which I didn't sense at the time, or just him coming to grips with the reality of his new life--a life that is just as rich and happy as any other kid on Christmas Eve.