35 Minutes

“I’m 127”

“Ok, don’t forget your helmet”

So my youngest, he’s 10, was heading out on his bike with friends on Saturday. We live in a quiet neighborhood scattered with parks and trails. Surrounding us are acres and acres of forest with streams, lush flora and abundant fauna. Trails weave in and out of the vast forests throughout the neighborhood. Some trails do indeed lead out of the neighborhood into surrounding towns and even down to a 200 foot cascading waterfall. There is one trail just a block from my house that descends deep into a forest with various side trails leading in different directions including the falls and other cities. I’ve told my kids to stay off that trail unless with me or their dad. The decent isn’t steep due to many switchbacks but the elevation difference is indeed quite a bit from the starting point near our home. There are also dangerous animals that live among us. Bears, Bobcats and Cougars. While I’ve not seen any in our neighborhood they are here.


the bridge over a creek about a mile from the house down the trail.


The beginning of the trail.


A glimpse of how deep the trail goes. This is taken about half way down and goes oh so much deeper.


So off my kiddo went with friends to the park near our home. I’m sure if he got caught up in the moment or perhaps even made the conscious decision to ignore my requests that the kids not venture down that trail. 25 minutes after his departure I rang him up to ask how and where he was.

“mom we went down blank blank trail.”

“the one near our house?”

“Yes, we got to the end and now we are on a gravel road. I don’t know where.”

“can you check your blood sugar please.”

“I think I forgot my meter.”


“ok I need you to come home and get it and check.”

“It’s a long way up. Henry (name changed) said there is a burger place close”

“A burger place? In the forest?”

“I don’t know. It’s called Burger place (changed name).”

I googled Burger Place. It was in a neighboring city. 2.7 miles from my home.  A 25 min drive since I can’t drive as the crow flies.

“Ok I’m calling Henry’s dad. Go toward the Burger Place. I will come there.”

I spoke to Henry’s dad. He agreed to head that way too.

From the time I called my boy and the time I saw him and his friends emerge from a trail near the Burger Place was about 35 minutes. It was the scariest 35 minutes ever. The boy left the house with a blood sugar of 127, which is in range but could easily drop with all the physical activity. Granted it was all down hill. I had no way of getting to him if he was still lost in the forest. No way of finding him if he was hurt or low. (well technically he had his iPhone and I did try to use ‘find my phone’ but the password had been changed so it was useless) He had no fast carbs on him. His friends know nothing of diabetes.

35 minutes of me freaking out. Not out-loud though. I kept it together for him and for Henry’s dad. In my head there were scenes of search dogs and helicopters. There were two friends standing helplessly while my son passed out. 35 minutes of me hating diabetes so much I could have screamed and cried and beat up the universe. I was much younger than my son when I took off on my bike for hours. No phones. No helmets. My friends and I would disappear into the woods behind our home for hours and hours. Trying to find the missile silo shafts of the old Nike Missile Sites. (we never found any) I spent 35 minutes wondering how many moments diabetes would steal away.

The truth of course was I wouldn’t have been so worried had he had his sling pack that held his meter, juice boxes, fruit snacks, and granola bars. Had he been prepared I wouldn’t have been worried. I likely would have been mad he went down a trail I asked the kids not to go down (of course that request was made a year prior when we first moved here so he probably forgot). I didn’t have time to be mad. I was too busy hating diabetes.

He had set down his sling pack when he dutifully put on his helmet per my request. I found it resting on a box in the garage.

His blood sugar when he arrived at Burger Place was 97. He was safe. He was smiling ear to ear, so pleased with himself for navigating the trail and riding to a burger joint. I gave him money and he ordered a hotdog, fries and a milk shake.

I put his bike in the back of my van. He didn’t want to try to ride back up the trail and neither did the other boys. Henry’s dad took the other bikes and I took the boys.

I dropped the other boys at Henry’s and continued home.

Sugarboy and I chatted about what it means to be prepared. How he isn’t supposed to leave the neighborhood and that includes taking trails leading out of the neighborhood. We talked about how fun and scary riding down the trail was. How the Burger Place had the best fries and great chocolate milkshakes. We talked about maybe putting some fruit snacks in his pockets just in case he doesn’t have his sling bag. We talked about how he can do everything and anything anyone else can do despite diabetes.

It ended well, but I guarantee you I aged 10 years in 35 minutes.


Key to Happiness

Seriously now I am four days behind.

I’m writing for Day 2 of the Health Activists Writer’s Month Challenge (even though in the comments for day 1 Stephen said I could have a pass since he counted my first post as two. Thanks Stephen.)

Day 2 prompt

“What do you think is the key to happiness? Is it being able to overcome a hard time? Laughter? Maintaining a positive attitude? Tell us what you think and why”

First I want to share a FB status I wrote a bit ago:

“I’m really tired of hearing “happiness is a choice”.
Kindness is a choice. Smiling at others despite sadness is a choice. True happiness is not a choice. A person with depression wants nothing more than to be happy. The worst thing a person could say to someone who isn’t ‘happy’ is ‘happiness is a choice’ which implies the person who is ‘unhappy’ is choosing to be unhappy.
Much love to my friends who could use a hug right now. Hang in there. You’re important.”

So what do I believe is the key to happiness? Wish I knew. Wish there was one answer that would fit everyday.

When I was in the court-house waiting to be selected or dismissed for jury duty I met a man.

He was 96 years old. He was tall and fit looking. He had a bit of a scruff, like he hadn’t shaved in a day or two. A number of grey hairs mixed in with the black. Imagine to still have some colored hairs mixed with grey at after 96 years of living. He didn’t move fast but he stood tall. In the elevator I asked him his secret. He said eat veggies. He had served in the US Army during WWII both in Europe and the Pacific. His eyes were so bright and so full of life and love. I would bet he knew sadness in his life though. I can’t imagine many can get to 96 without knowing great loss. Not to mention being a black man born in 1920 and living through wars, the great depression, segregation, and the civil rights movement. Still he looked happy and content. I wish I had asked him how. If I could meet him again I’d buy him a coffee and just listen to his life and I would be so grateful for the opportunity.

So the key? I have no idea. My key to happiness changes. Some days I find happiness in just watching my kids laugh. Some days I find it in a clean home. Some days it’s a new haircut. Some days it is a long phone call with a far away friend. Mostly I am happy when I am laughing. So maybe it is laughter mixed with veggies.

Something else I’ve shared recently on my FB was this thought. It came to me after an argument with one of my kids. It wasn’t really an argument. It was more me telling one of my kids they couldn’t do something they wanted to do and them getting angry.

“Be in charge of the energy you bring to every moment.” 

I’m not sure if that can be considered the same as “Maintaining a positive attitude”. Not everything in your life will be positive. A death, a diagnosis, divorce, financial difficulties, the loss of a job, etc. – those are not things one can be positive about. BUT a person can always choose the type of energy they bring to the moment.

Happiness is a slippery little sucker. I think the only key is to how you respond to difficulties and the credit you allow yourself once through it. Some days you will be more badass than others.

***I am participating in the Wego Health – Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge. It is never to late to sign up and get the prompts. Great for anyone struggling with writer’s block. Click >>>>> link to sign up.

Wordless Wednesday

Yesterday April 1, 2015 was the first day of The Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge.

I’m not starting out well for the challenge since I’m a day behind and it’s only day two. The challenge is to write using the 30 prompts provided.

I also avoid selfies. I’m not feeling great about my physical appearance over the last year.

So instead of a selfie, inspired by my daughter’s socks that depict Edvard Munch’s The Scream, I painted what I call a 5 minute masterpiece. (It actually took about 9 minutes)


The actual prompt for today:

“Since this is the start of HAWMC, post a picture that shows how excited your are for the next 30 days. We always love a good Health Activist Selfie!”

I am excited to participate in The Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge. I am a bit worried I won’t be able to keep up. Note again how I am already a day behind. Life gets crazy. with three kids with diabetes. I will do my best and try not to berate myself when I don’t meet deadlines. Also – I should note that the title of todays prompt was supposed to be ‘Wordless Wednesday’. I dare you to find one Wordless Wednesday post of mine in the last 3 years that don’t have at least a couple hundred words.

In years past the first day of HAWMC typically asks writers to tell their story or why they write. I haven’t looked ahead so maybe that prompt is in the mix. But for any that don’t know, I write about diabetes (mostly) and our families adventures in navigating life with 3 kids with type 1 diabetes. There are funny times, scary times, angry times and frustrating times. Everyone has something and there are many days I am thankful for my kids it is Type 1 diabetes (if it has to be something). There are more challenging things to have. My interpretation of The Scream is less about how I feel regarding participating in the challenge and more of how I feel about participating in the diabetes word. (not to be confused with the diabetes community). There are simply days when the world seems to move around me while I scream.

Oh and to give you more perspective…


It is less than 2 square inches – seen above with my Starry Night done back in December.