The Essential Diabetes Auntie

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In her memoir on the pros and cons of marriage, author Elizabeth Gilbert waxes poetic for an entire chapter on the beauty—and need – for “aunties” in this world. Aunties, she points out, bring a different support and love to a person than a parent does. Aunties can see things and hear things in a way that helps a person thrive. As much as the world needs great parents, she muses, it needs great aunties, too. Being an auntie is, perhaps, a calling.

There’s another kind of auntie our world needs: this one’s bond with the person comes not from blood, but from blood sugar. This auntie’s advice, compassion, and care comes not from knowing what it means to live with diabetes or care for someone with diabetes.

That’s right, I’m talking about D-Aunties.

And I’m a proud D-Auntie to many. And my adult daughter with diabetes? She has D-Aunties in her life, too. D-Aunties don’t replace parents or partners, but they do bring an added layer of “family” that improves the life of the person with diabetes.

I’m kind of pumped I can see it from both sides.

From the D-Auntie side, I can tell you the relationship develops in an almost magical way. You meet by diabetes world happenstance, and for some reason, something clicks. You begin to talk more, chatting online and even on the phone. You sometimes see each other in person. In time, the person with diabetes begins to share with you – and you – as a D-Auntie, are there to listen, give advice, and just plain freaking care.

My first D-Auntie connection came years ago with Gina, a beautiful, outspoken, funny and amazing young woman whom I love dearly. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but Gina realized she could share her most sacred secrets, fears, and joys with me. I never felt it was a threat to Gina’s relationship with her mother. With me, she could work through things and then figure out a way to share w with her mother. I knew – as a D-Auntie – when to say, “you need to talk to your mom about this now.”

I have a few other D-nieces and nephews, too. (You know who you are.) I wake up and go to sleep every day with them in my heart.

My D-nieces and nephews give me a glimpse into life with diabetes as a young adult, which gives me insight into the life of my daughter with diabetes. And what might be an “OMG Mom – butt out!” from my daughter sometimes well received by my D-nieces and nephews. We educate, enrich, and enlighten each other.

My daughter has quite a few D-Aunties in her life. She’s 25 now, and sometimes she just does not want to talk to me. Instead, she turns to Katie, and Anna, and Jenny, and a few others. There, I know she’s getting that kind of auntie love that does not replace my love, but accentuates it. She is blessed to have D-aunties in her life.

Recently, she told me that she’d be allowing one of her D-aunties to follow her on Dexcom Share. Why? I thought for a moment. Why not me? My jealousy was short lived though, thank goodness. Because I realized this: how great is this world that it delivered her those D-Aunties? She has support from people who make her feel completely safe, free, and loved so she can work through things she needs to – without me. Her strong and beautiful bond with them is a gift, not a threat.

So who is your D-auntie? (Or uncle?) Share this with them today and thank them for serving a vital role in our Diabetes World. Just like Gilbert said – Aunties really do make life good. They make it amazing.

 

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