I painted my nails today.

I painted my nails today and every time I set up my little manicure set and get out my glossy little bottles of paint, I think back to when my son was diagnosed.

The smell of nail varnish remover was so strong in the house yet I couldn’t even find the little bottle I had bought some years earlier when I tried to stop biting my nails. I decided it was a sign to start growing my nails. I can hear what you’re thinking: didn’t I know that it was the smell of ketones in my son’s body? Why would I? Luckily after a few days of growing my nails I noticed he was going to the toilet a lot and was really thirsty. These two symptoms I did know to be signs of Type 1 diabetes.

It’s my precious little ritual, a moment of girl-time in a house full of testosterone. I look at the rainbow of colours and prepare myself for the week ahead. A strong base is created, with drying time allowed between the application of two coats of whichever colour reflects my mood and possible wardrobe for the week ahead. Little cotton buds are soaked in acetone, ready to quickly catch mistakes. Sometimes they are needed, other times the application process is steady and smooth. I finish it off with a top coat which ensures my finger nails will survive the week ahead.

My hands are not perfect. Who knew hands got wrinkly as you aged? There are scars and lumps and bumps but they are my hands and the nails that top them off are strong and resilient.

We were congratulated on how early we had caught the symptoms but as I paint my nails over 17 months later, I crave the days of my stumpy little finger nails.

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