Walking to the train after work I see a little kid (maybe 5?) and his babysitter walking to the train as well. "Eat your snack," she instructs. "You better eat your snack."
"Haha, what if I am 40?" Laughs. "What if I am 12? Hahaha" The kid is having a good time as he waves around his ziplocks of goldfish and fruit snacks. "What if I am 1? Hehehe!!"
"Well if you are 1 I think we would have to stick that medicine in your butt! Or maybe you will just eat a ton of those fruit snacks."
I pause and look at them closely as we cross the street together and we make eye contact.
"Glucagon?" I inquire.
Her eyes widen. "Yeah!"
She first assumes I have gestational diabetes (since I am wicked prego these days) and tells me how his mom had it with him and his older brother. Sounds like mom is trying to ease the sting of diagnosis for him by relating to her own experiences managing blood glucose levels.
"I have type 1 too," I say. She gets excited. I am also, but cannot help but feel an overwhelming feeling of sadness for the young boy. He is just fine though. "You?! You have type 1 diabetes too!!?" "I do!!" We bond. He can't believe it. Just recently diagnosed. Can't believe he is not the only one.
I chat with the babysitter as we walk together. He will be starting on a CGM soon. I pull mine out and show them. They are both so excited! "It doesn't even hurt," he brags about the injections. He is getting a pump soon. They are newbies - trying to figure out the intricacies of balancing insulin dosing and the unpredictability of childhood. I tell them to go for the Dexcom, how much easier it will be. I wish I had time to tell them so much more.
"Did you have it your whole life?" She asks. "No actually I was diagnosed at 18." We continue to talk and walk and bond. We talk about how rare type 1 is and how exciting it is to just meet another type 1 "in the wild". My train is there, I have to go. I regret not exchanging numbers (is that weird?) I feel like I could have, should have, told them so much more. Perhaps we will see each other again. If there is a next time, I will tell them more.
I can't help but pause and think about "what if it was my child?" The kid was a happy kid. He was not in the least bit sad or bitter. I reflect about a recent social media post inquiring if those diagnosed as adults feel more bitter because they remember life before diagnosis. I am thankful that I don't feel bitter. Although my heart broke for him I could not bring myself to feel bad for him, as he skipped away to the other side of the tracks.