Yesterday Judah and I had another adventure! We went to one of the local middle schools and met with their 8th grade health classes. It was a wonderful experience for both Judah and me, we met a bunch of great kids, got to share our story (from beginning to now) and got to meet several children who know exactly what it’s like to be touched by the big D. I spoke to each class telling them about how I find Judah, how I was diagnosed, how Judah began working, how much diabetes sucks, how having a service dog is great AND complicated, and how to pick up and keep moving forward.
What amazed me the most was that each and every student listened intently to my story. I remember 8th grade, I remember how hard it was to sit and listen when the sun was beating down and spring had so clearly sprung. I was pretty thorough in my story telling and my description of my new life so there weren’t a whole lot of questions but the ones that were asked were great. I met several kids whose mothers were diabetic and using the pump! I guess there are far more local type 1 diabetics than I ever thought, it was kind of exciting to find out- it seems rather obvious now… I mean there is a diabetes center in town, they must have business right?
I can honestly say that the highlight of our middle school adventure was the third and final class that I spoke to. When I returned to the classroom (after lunch) the health teacher (and close friend) informed me that there was a special guest in the class. She introduced me to a young student (an 8th grader that was not in any of the classes we visited), he had been excused from his class so he could come in and meet us. He is a type 1 using a pump too! He has been type 1 for a lot longer than I have and even shared some of his scariest hypo stories with us. He was a fantastic, kind, and respectful young man who seemed just as excited to meet us as we were to meet him. At the end of our talk the students filed out to go play capture the flag and I stole an extra couple of minutes with him. He told me about a D camp that he goes to in the summer pretty close to where we live. We chatted for a few minutes and I gave him my e-mail as well as my blog address and asked him to keep in touch with me. I would like to put together a D camp at the local resort I work at seasonally and figured I may have found a great resource in this well spoken young man.
He took the post-it note I gave him with my information and made his way into the hall. He turned back and smiled and said, “I really want to get a dog like that someday” then went to head back down the hall. Ugh, way to tug on my heart strings kid!
“Hey”, I said and he turned back to me, “You stay in touch with me.” He nodded and smiled again.
“Really though, I am hoping that in about a year I will be ready to start training dogs again. You stay in touch with me and I can help you.” All I can say is I REALLY hope he does. He deserves the independence and confidence that Judah has given me and it seemed to me like he would be a fantastic handler as well as a great advocate for service dogs and diabetes.
It really was a great day, it left me feeling good. Truly, good. All I want to know is that I am making a difference, even if it is small and only matters to a few people. I had big dreams and big plans for my life when I was young, as time has passed and things have changed I haven’t always been sure that it was possible- yesterday reminded me that things can change and we can still put one foot in front of the other and that’s all it takes. Just steps. Steps towards what you want, with those steps you make progress. Progress is all we can really ask for, I mean it’s about the journey right?