As I write this letter I imagine it as a pin hidden in a haystack, buried beneath dawdling levels of virtual white pages, layers upon layers of words and wordsmithed images and deliberation. How many, heaven only knows. Plenty, I hope as that means I have plenty of time to write them. I picture one of you, Lia most likely coming across it, years from now, perhaps as an adult who upon finding herself on a rainy day lamenting her lost childhood, taps on the computer and logging online enters the words, Without Envy.
And you read. And you read and you read and at some point you come to this letter where by then, if you don’t know already it, you will have some sense of just how much your mother and I love you, and how much we love your brother and sister, and especially how hard we’ve worked for and wished for you all beautiful, long, happy lives. Little of what you have read, it’s my hope, will surprise any of you. I try to wear my beliefs on my sleeve, that is, for all the world to see, by not saying one thing and doing another. If your mother and I have done our jobs well, you will all know that the fruits of hypocrisy are smells not so easily removed with the laundry.
I’ve tried also to be honest with what I’ve written and how I felt about diabetes, about each of you, your mother and our family in whole, and I’ve especially wanted to be honest about life and growing older. Nothing in life is guaranteed, regardless how hard you may want to believe it. There are some things you just can’t control. That is a lesson as painful as any you will ever learn. Focus on the things you can change and live satisfied with the fact that your efforts were not wasted on that which you cannot. Your courage, confidence and ability to adapt will not ever let you down. Trust yourself.
Here, too, are some things of our lives you will read about that you will have likely forgotten. Maybe you will have forgotten all of it. Some might say that’s for the better. I don’t know if that’s true, but I’d like to think that it’s not. I’d like to believe that there is always something to be gained, not lost, from knowing a thing. Undoubtedly, some of what I’ve written will make you feel sad and unhappy and I hope you will forgive me, but one day you will understand my reason for wanting to write about those things. I wish with all my heart that none of you will ever have to feel that way about anything but chances are that you will and it’s important for you to know that writing can help you overcome it, or at least come somewhat to agreeable terms with it.
In fact, as you read this it might seem as if our entire world revolved around diabetes and moments of grief, worry and hardship, of which I’ll admit there have been plenty. But I know you all and I know that each of you knows better. There simply aren’t enough words, images or seconds in the day to share with you all the joy, happiness and love that our children have brought us. You have all made us better, healthier, happier people and for that your mother and I are grateful.
For John, the oldest, but uniquely the newest member of our family, the quiet performer of the bunch, whose own story is worth writing down in a novel.
For Krista, the one always stuck in middle. You understand much more than you sometimes let on or that we give credit for. You are as much a survivor and hero as any one will ever meet.
And for Lia…. Well, way back when I started this blog and was coming up with a title, I wanted to find something that represented not only how I felt about you and diabetes, but how I felt about life on the whole. Diabetes had become a part of us, but it would not become the whole of us and in searching for a way to represent the fine balance between the life we start out wanting for ourselves versus the life we are handed, I thought of the day you were born, two weeks early in the back of an ambulance, far from design and the doctors and modern conveniences of childbirth. To be sure, it wasn’t part of our plan, but I understood then with humility that sometimes the road less envied produces the more spectacular journey.
This is the reality, children. The path you must carve through the universe is yours to decide. Choose your dreams wisely. There’ll be struggles along the way, for you as there is for everyone, but if you trust in your heart and lead with an open mind there is nothing out here that can stop you.
I love you all equally, with all of my spirit.
Yours forever truly,