Monday, August 18, 2008

The Library Teacher and The Kindergarten Teacher

I hope you will all bear with me as I meander through our past and our present. I was thinking of someone today that has been a big influence for me and my girls since Nikki started Kindergarten. So now I’m taking a trip down memory lane, back about 4 years; hope you will indulge me and read along.

We made it through the end of pre-school with Nikki being newly diagnosed. At that point, she was taking daily injections (as opposed to being on a pump). At the start of the kindergarten year I was “overstimulated” to say the least. I made packets for every single person in Nikki’s school that would have any kind of contact with her at any point during the day. These packets included a copy of the 504 plan, a picture of Nikki so every teacher would know her on sight, a million phone numbers, every kind of information I could think of on diabetes, her snack schedule and I’m sure more that I’ve now forgotten.

Humm, this brings me to someone else I must acknowledge that made a ginormous (I’ve made that an official word) impact on Nikki (and Amber and me) her assistant kindergarten teacher Mrs. Enzweiler. I explained to both her teachers during open house that she had to eat a snack at a certain time every day; this is part of the N and H insulin process. Without any prompting from me this wonderful lady (whom I now consider a great friend) went out and purchased an alarm clock so she could set it for 10:00 in class to help her remember that Nikki needed to eat. This was a big deal to Nikki, because she immediatley felt like her teacher was on her “diabetes team”.

Now back to my original thoughts (yes I’m random, and proud of it); my older daughter was in 3rd grade at the time so Nikki and I would often stay after kindergarten to eat lunch with Amber in the school cafeteria. One day, very early in the year, the assistant library teacher was helping out in the cafeteria and she came over to introduce herself. I knew who she was because Amber had been in school for several years and often mentioned how much she LOVED Ms. Hensley.

Anyway, before I actually said anything about anything this is what Ms. Hensley said to me (and I do remember this word for word): “Hi, I love your girls. My daughter and my son are both diabetics. They were diagnosed as babies. They are all grown up now, and just so you know my daughter has a beautiful daughter of her own”. Now to many this may seem like an inacuous introduction but it was music to my ears. Ms. Hensley (Loretta) and I had never had any conversation about Nikki and her diabetes, she did not know any of my own personal fears and yet there she stood an answer to my prayers.

You see, one of my biggest concerns was that Nikki wouldn’t be able to have kids because of the strain diabetes puts on your body and internal organs (okay okay, I’ll admit to having watched Steel Magnolias too many times). Having lived through it herself, Loretta knew my mother’s heart and was able to speak to something only parents of diabetic children can really understand. From that day on our relationship has grown; we teach together and more than that, she is now a grandmother figure to Nikki and Amber both. Combine that with the fact that Nikki and her granddaughter Lexi are great friends, I have a great friendship with her grown daughter Allyson (who has diabetes) and even Loretta’s sister Yvonne has become important to the girls and I.

Mrs. Enzweiler (Jane) has since moved into the front office at school, along side another great friend and blessing Mrs. Schuler (Jill). They put up with an awful lot from me, not because Nikki has diabetes (that’s only a small part of it); they deal with my forgetfulness, letting me vent, and all the other time consuming stuff that does go with having a diabetic student at school. Since I’m a substitute teacher, I’m not at school every single day, but I KNOW that Nikki is in the hands of people that love her and make her education, self esteem and health a priority.

Future blogs will touch on another important person in our school day, important is putting it mildly; the school nurse. Additionally, I know I’ve mentioned him but I bet you are all beginning to think I made up my husband Bryan. I assure you he’s real and my partner in crime, in life, in raising our children, in our faith and in this fight. He has some things to say from a dad’s point-of-view but we will add those thoughts another time.
We sure didn’t invite diabetes into our lives and if I could kick it out tomorrow, I would. The one thing I’m sure diabetes never planned on is that the people brought into our lives because it moved in, helped us become stronger than we knew we could be.


Carmelita said...

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