Celebrating being average!

I am average, my kids are average, most of my life is fairly average and I commit to celebrating this! We need to celebrate the average! Why is being average frowned upon and overlooked when that is what most of us are? This is my own personal protest cry for common humanity! 

I have three fantastic kids who are average and I am not ashamed of that. I hold my head up high and I love them with every ounce of my being. They go to school and do all their work, they play multiple sports, they have friends and people tell me they are lovely, polite boys. Why should I be made to feel that this is not enough? 

There is such pressure on our children to excel at everything or at the very least at something. Why are we not content to be what we are?  I see friends putting their primary school aged kids into tutoring to try and pull up their grades. These kids do their regular homework, then plough through the revision sheets issued by tutors. Their haunted little faces pain me as they are drilled to within an inch of their lives and have such high expectations put upon them to always do better. What skill set do they need to have for their future lives? Are they going to be astrophysicists or elite athletes? Why do we always seem to demand more and more of our children when they are already giving us their best effort but the results are ‘only’ average?

I certainly do not mean that kids should not excel. If your kid is in the gifted and talented category, good on them but for the love of God, please stop dropping that into the conversation! I get it you are proud and so you should be but I am equally as proud of my three children. I have tried to help each of my boys find something they can be passionate about. For them it is sport, in various shapes and sizes. 

I have decided to withdraw from this pressure! It feels so liberating but it is hard and I do need to keep myself in constant check. 

What caused me to rethink? 

Three years ago, my middle boy was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. His life and our lives changed and numbers took on a far more significant role. Every day, my son checks his blood glucose levels multiple times, we calculate the number of carbs he is going to eat and from that the insulin dose he injects is calculated. He is growing and is very sporty so these calculations are constantly changed and modified in order to try to keep his levels in the sweet 4 to 8 mmol (72mg-144mg) range. Every three months an average is taken and we find out the results of the all important HbA1c. I’m sure many people (and/or their parents) with Type 1 Diabetes would acknowledge a certain nervousness when they are about to get this magic number. 

The night before this result is given, I feel sick and cannnot help but think back over the previous three months. We try so hard to keep those blood glucose levels in range, but real life gets in the way. Sport, illness and being human all interfere and I lie in bed picturing a big  zig zag with high highs and low lows. My son tries his hardest and so do we as his support team. It doesn’t matter what that number is, there is nothing we could have done differently.

When school reports arrive in the middle of a life full of numbers, it really makes me think. Don’t the same things, sport, illness and being human, impact on these school results? Yes they do and so I commit to stressing less about grades and results and as long as we are all trying as hard as we can most of the time then that is absolutely good enough!


My hero

At 3am today, I waved off my husband and my 15 year old boy. He’s had a tough term with a broken arm, and a subsequent operation to fix it up but off he goes. He’s gone to Fiji on a rugby trip with the local team. My husband is his coach and there’s a doctor travelling with the team. 

He has been prodded and poked in the last few weeks and has undoubtedly been in a lot of pain a few times but he has never once whinged or complained. He has avoided the clown doctors in the children’s ward, answered numerous questions about his diabetes, surfed the waves of bumpy BGLs and has accepted the 3am blood tests without complaint.

He told me yesterday that he was very nervous. When I asked why, thinking it might be about managing his type 1 diabetes, he confessed he was worried about getting hurt by the opposition. He’s 185cm tall and skinny as a rake: not the ideal build for rugby union!

I was secretly really chuffed that he wasn’t stressing about his diabetes. We try never to make it a stress. Yes, it’s a pain in the proverbial but it never stops him doing anything, except maybe the English homework that he hates so much. I reserve the right to be dubious about that one!

He has double the amounts of everything he needs, divided into two beautifully packaged bags. Every eventuality has been imagined by me and gone through with my poor husband. This lovely man was gracious enough not to roll his eyes in front of me.

Whilst my son runs the show, in the last month, my husband took over the day to day management. I wanted him to be the second in command, after my son. This was a role I took on automatically when my son was diagnosed with diabetes. No one made me. I remember the Diabetes Educator telling me that there is normally one parent who has the dominant role in the management or their child’s diabetes. Checking levels were in range and contacting the Diabetes Educator to work out adjustments in insulin ratios became my husband’s job as I hovered in the back ground watching as he and my son discussed BGLs and carb counted meals. 

It has been liberating for me and I think my husband feels empowered. I’ve still helped out and I still know exactly what’s going on but I’ve not been the ‘go to gal’! Guess what? The world didn’t fall apart. My son probably didn’t notice the difference and now he’s gone off to Fiji.

He will pull on his boots, put on his helmet, chew on his mouth guard and have the time of his life. 

This is how we do it….

We put one foot in front of the other.
We pray to the universe and the God we no longer believe in
To keep our child safe
Until he returns home
When we will happily carry his load.
We do all that we can
Each and every day
To keep our child safe from invisible harm.

We take solace in the normal moments:
The issues with homework not being done well,
The squabbling amongst teenage siblings,
The overuse of mobile phones,
The constant need to stay in touch with 765 ‘friends’ on Facebook ,
The obsession with animal videos on YouTube.

We rejoice in the victories:
A run of days with normal blood glucose levels,
Playing sport at 100% effort and staying in range,
The days out with friends jumping in rivers and riding bikes,
The meals out in restaurants, ordering the biggest chicken shnitzel,
The laughs around the dinner table, hanging out together.

This is how we do it.