My 3 Monsters: Growing Up

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Growing Up

This was Riley a little over a week ago as he boarded the bus to go to diabetes camp.  He seemed so small to me.  He and I were both a little unsure about the decision we had made for him to embark on this grand adventure.  I had never sent my "baby" away for more than a one-night sleepover before.  He wasn't going to know anyone.  But it felt right somehow, even necessary, so we let our ten year old walk away from us that day and into the unknown.  We spoke of him often during those following seven days -- Was he having fun?  Would he come home with his pump in a new site?  What do you think he's doing right now?  I thought of him even more often.

As several of us at home fell victim to the flu bug going around throughout the week, we wondered {and I worried} that he would get sick, too.  We checked the mail every single day, hoping to get a letter, realizing that no news was probably good news.  He was having too much fun to write, right?  No phone calls meant he wasn't sick or injured -- surely the doctors would call if he were.   Saturday afternoon just couldn't come soon enough.  I was a little bit giddy about seeing him again as we waited for the bus to arrive.  I met another mom who was as giddy as I was waiting in line for our cabins to be called so we could go get our kids.  Her son and Riley have the exact same birthday.  Odd.

When we were finally called, we walked down the hallway, turned the corner and there was our sweet boy . . . only different somehow.  Taller, tanner, calmer, more confident.  Older.  Was it really only a week he was gone?  He was saying goodbye to all his new friends as we picked up his extra medical supplies and paperwork.  I've written before about how glorious it is to see your child really in their element, loving their life.  That was this moment for me with this kid.  He talked the whole way home about his adventures -- shooting rifles, archery, horseback riding, vaulting {who knew? -- he rode a horse standing up and learned to do a complete 360 in the saddle of a moving horse}, playing soccer, getting thrown up on at 3:00 a.m.  We stopped for lunch on the way home and he told us all about the delicious food, the pranks, the nick-names and the Choose Your Own Ending books they read during siesta every day.  How he slow danced with a 15 year old girl and had his hair painted green at Vegas night.  All about his counselors and med staff.  On and on.  Brent and I were captivated, hanging on his every word.  Where did this awesome kid come from?!

Since he's been home I continue to be amazed.  He wears his pump in the back of his arm now {something he never would have considered before, but which he will tell you know is the only way to go}.  He draws up his own insulin and preps his pump all by himself when it needs to be changed. I heard him telling his siblings yesterday how he even inserted his own infusion set one time.  Blow me away.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to adequately express my gratitude for the people who changed my son's entire outlook on life last week.  Or for the opportunity he had to attend this camp.  Or for this blessed boy who is my son.  Looks like we'll be selling cupcakes again to pay for two camps next summer.  And it will be worth every single cotton-pickin' minute I have to spend in the kitchen!


  1. I've checking in on your blog now and again for several months. I also have 3 "monsters" so there was a lot of connection for me. Somehow I missed the fact that one of yours was diabetic too! For me, it's my youngest son, now 9 years old. My heart is literally pounding as you describe his camp experience. I haven't had the steel to send him off to camp yet, and for some reason he seems determined he will NOT go to a diabetes camp. I'm impressed by the courage of your son AND you!!! He sounds like a very strong boy. I've always thought that when kids have to deal with "things" like D kids do, they rise to the challenge and become much stronger individuals. My congratulations to your family!!

  2. Oh my...where can I find one of those camps!!! My son isn't diabetic, he's just the run-of-the-mill, forget to put his pants on if I don't remind him, kind of kid. A dose of independence would be fabulous.
    It sounds like your son had a great week and had a major growth spurt in the 'growing-up' department.
    Hooray for all of you!

  3. I just found your blog today through a guest project you had posted somewhere - cannot remember for sure now where it was.

    My youngest daughter was diagnosed with type I diabetes at age 10 and is now 15. She's at a 3 week diabetes camp - started going when she had been diagnosed for 6 months. I was a wreck for the first week of her first time at camp - but they had daily podcasts of one daily meeting at the flagpole where they had quizzes and I watched religiously - checking to make sure she had on clean clothes and looked happy (she always did). The past few years I've not watched the podcasts, because I know she's in good hands and is having a wonderful time.

    Going to camp has been the best thing I could have done for her and it's worth every cent. She's made friends who truly understand what her life is like because they live it too. She's learned so much about taking care of herself and has learned that nothing can stop her from doing whatever she wants to do as long as she plans well.

    We live in central Oklahoma and the camp is in northern Texas, so the majority of the kids are from Texas - but with FaceBook and texting, they stay in touch and keep up their friendships all year long.

    I'm so glad you gave your son the opportunity to go to camp. What a wonderful gift!


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