Tuesday, July 16, 2013

FFL: Second verse, different than the first.

Humidity measures the amount of water vapor in the air.  Florida was very humid.  Coming from California to the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference, my body, (especially my hair,) did not acclimate well.

But as I attended the conference, I realized there was a different kind of humidity in the air.

The Friendship humidity:  It was thick.  It was real.  And my heart acclimated quickly.

Walking down the halls of the conference, breathing in the “sameness” of the people weaving around me, I felt electric.  Alive.  There was kindness in every eye that mine met, and joy in every hug. 

In the words of my youngest, “Man, it was just nice that everyone around me knew what ‘a unit’ was!”

We may have come from around the world, but we all felt like we spoke the same language.  We all felt like cousins, some of us felt like sisters.  How can I explain the easiness of the conversations?  How can I convey thirst for connection?  The emotions were off the charts.  Honest conversations took place, and woman who held in the pain for years let the tears go freely. 

A beautiful friend of mine kept repeating, “I am fine. Totally fine,” as the tears continually welled up in the corners of her eyes.  Those are the words she has been repeating to herself day in and day out…words that helped her get through the muddy emotions this disease brings.  But within the confines of this conference she was able to say those words and know that WE knew what they really meant.  We knew they were bull.  But we knew they were what got her through…because they have gotten us through.  We are fine. 

Data in the forms of pie charts and graphs gave a whole new meaning to my diabetes experiences.  Opinions bounced from the walls and the ones that resonated with me stuck resolutely.  15 years into this D Momming thing and I’m still learning.  Still growing. 

People with diabetes, families with diabetes, athletes with diabetes, people in politics with diabetes, musicians and actors with diabetes, companies that sell supplies, companies that spread awareness, websites that bring people together…they were all there.

And together we fit perfectly.  Parts of a community brought together to make a whole. 

The friends for life conference was a safe place for me and my delicate emotions.  My children felt equally safe.  What a blessing that was.

I know a lot of work went into that conference, and I want to thank those behind the scenes that put in time and money to make this happen. 

From those of us who enjoyed the spoils of your labor, please know…it was completely worthwhile.

And to the Diabetes Scholar Foundation who funded our trip there, thank you.  I never imagined we would be able to return to Florida and do-over all that we missed out on last year.   I’ll forever cherish the time we had together as a whole family in 2012, but I’ll equally cherish the time we spent with our extended family this year…an extended family that filled our dried up riverbed with running waters of love and understanding.

Friends for Life:  No truer statement has ever been spoken.


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