It was hard to say goodbye to my dad today. He flew in from Kentucky on Friday to visit me for the weekend – his first solo visit. He hasn’t been to DC since his last visit in 2016. Our relationship has really changed over the years. We’ve become close, and one thing I do regret about moving away from Kentucky is being so far from family.
I wasn’t close to family when I was in Kentucky. It’s funny what distance does – what perspective it provides. I also didn’t have diabetes when I was in Kentucky. They knew a different Tracy, and on some level, are figuring out what Tracy with Type 1 means. Maybe I am too, for that matter?
Today at brunch, my dad asked me about what prompted them to admit me to the hospital when I was diagnosed. He asked about my blood sugar levels. It’s not that he doesn’t know. He’s just never had to deal with it on a daily basis. I only see my family once or twice a year (sometimes three, if I’m lucky). I once wrote about Christmas in Cookietown – how when I visit home, it can be fun to “play pretend,” forget that I have this disease that affects every fucking moment of every day.
But on some level, I think that hurt my parents. They want to understand. They want to empathize. And they want to be there for me. They’ve always been there for me. They drove up to Cincinnati the night after I was admitted to the hospital for Type 1 diabetes. They stayed with me until I felt stable enough to function on my own.
And my dad? He knows me better than anyone. He knows that living with Type 1 has only made me more resilient (and stubborn). He also knows that as much as the disease has changed my life, it hasn’t changed who I am. I am still me. I still love the same things. And I feel, just like any other human. The diabetes is just a part of that.
So, he doesn’t treat me any differently. But he knows it’s a part of my life now, and while touring museums or driving or eating brunch, it’s there. When Gizmo (my insulin pump) beeps, he doesn’t ask, “what’s that?” He knows it’s a prompt to check in on me, make sure I’m okay, see if I need help.
“How’s your sugars?” he often asks. Sometimes, I get annoyed by this question. I can handle this disease. I’ve been handling it for years. But then I take a step back and realize that hardly anyone ever asks me that question. He doesn’t question my sufficiency. He cares. And he cares enough to ask. So, I respond.
Last week on this blog, he commented on one of my posts and referred to himself as my BSP. BSP? What is BSP, I eventually asked him. Well, he had originally thought about using BFF, he told me, but thought that would be weird because he’s my dad, so he went with BSP: Best Support Person.
That you are, Dad. Thanks for being my BSP with or without diabetes.
This post is part of my 30 Days With Diabetes series.