Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The picture before it all

Grace needs a school photo of herself in 1st grade, for a 5th grade school yearbook project.

And I know exactly which one it is. I can see it in my mind, her blue school dress, necklace with the flower on it that she chose that morning, and most of all, I remember the obligatory 1st grade missing-teeth grin. Every one of my kids has a 1st grade missing front teeth photo. I remember chuckling when the school photos came back that year.

And just like that, the great memories I have are gone. They leave, replaced by what the 1st grade year brought us, diabetes. It was a mere 2 months after the school photo was taken that we found ourselves in the ER of our local hospital, with a diagnosis of Type 1.

The 1st grade photo brings that with it too.

I scour the 5x7 photo and I hold it close to my face. Should I have noticed something? Are her arms thinner here? Her skin looks tight. Maybe my eyes are creating illusions. Don't her eyes look a little sunken in? My God, maybe her eyes were this sunken all the time and I didn't even know! I wonder what her blood sugar was then, if we were slowly creeping toward the D, or we were already firmly planted in it's soil. I will never know. But I scour the photo for clues I missed, for something to say to me ' THERE, see it!' But I don't. I see her.

I find Grace and I give it to her.

Look how cute you were, sweetie!

Mom, I don't have any front teeth!

I know, doesn't that make it even cuter? 

I was 6, Mom. I was in Mrs. M's class that year.

Yeah, I know, honey. That photo was taken just about two months before you were diagnosed with diabetes.

Don't you wish we could go back, Mom?

I smile, but I don't know what to say. Do I wish I could go back? Wishes won't get me anywhere on this ride. I can wish and wish and wish, and we will still be where we are. I don't say any of that to her. I simply nod and smile. I don't know what to say.

It's a cute photo of you honey, it will look great for the 5th grade page in the yearbook this year.

Funny how one picture can say so much - sweetness, cuteness, reality, truth, shock, awe.


Scott K. Johnson said...

Tee-hee! I love the missing teeth picture!

Marla said...

I know just what you mean. We had a big family function just before my daughter was diagnosed at age 7. She actually looks great in all the pictures - a little thin but we thought she was having a growth spurt. To think that just a few weeks later our lives were turned upside down. I know just what you mean.

Heather said...

I have a picture like that and it is on the refrigerator none the less. It was taken a week before Kyli was diagnosed. We went to see Thomas the train. It is a great family photo. I look at her in it too, wondering if I missed something. I try not to look at it too often, it hurts my heart, things seemed easier then, and that was only in Sept. I understand your feelings. I think we each have a picture or something that reminds of prior to D-day.

PancreasticMom said...

I know exactly what you mean...my daughter's first grade missing-teeth picture was also taken about 2, maybe 3, months before her diagnosis and I have looked at it and wondered the same thing....did she have it then? Should I have known? Those times she told me she didn't feel good and I thought she was just tired or it was just her trying to get to stay home with me. The unexplained red cheeks I remember too. Those don't show up in the picture but was she already having those occasionally then? After diagnosis I quickly learned those red cheeks came with a high, she looks pale with a low. And yes, it is sad, bittersweet, to look back and think how simple life was then.

k2 said...

Of course Gracie is rocking the accessories - Even back then!
i have pictures that I steady taken before I was diagnosed - We all wonder what it would be like to go back, but we can't - diabetes or not.
Instead, we move ahead and grow and become - And Miss Gracie is growing & becoming in all sorts of fantastical ways !