Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Girl

The monkey. The Maeve-inator. Principessa. Maeve the Brave.

Maeve was just 4 years old when we rushed Charlie to the hospital in the middle of the night. She stayed with her Aunt Kimmie for five days, unaware of what was suddenly happening to her baby brother.

Everything revolves around Charlie. The forecast of the day is set by Charlie. It consumes us. It must consume us. It will consume us today, tomorrow, the next day, and all days after that. When we're not talking diabetes, treating diabetes or blogging about diabetes, there's 20-month-old Ben, wanting every ounce of excess attention. So, where does that leave the monkey?

This post goes out to the girl.

Maeve has a heart as big as Alaska. She'll compliment you on your hair. She is compassionate and kind. She's a daydreamer. She would share even her most special thing in the world with you without hesitation. She cries when she's happy. She's been planning her wedding since she was 2. She called movie theaters "movie gators" until she was about 5. She says "deal with it, dad" with a giggle, when talking about liking boys. She wants to author and illustrate her book, "The Dog with a Purple Ear."

Maeve is beautiful.

Maeve has been witness to thousands of Charlie's finger pricks. She's rubbed his head or held his hand for thousands of needle injections. She's seen way more blood than a child should. Always there. Always good. A good girl. So good that we've lost sight of how she has been affected by this disease.

Early in the school year, out of the blue, Maeve broke down crying in the arms of the guidance counselor. She said she was worried about her brother. This was a shock to us. She had never expressed this to us nor did she show signs of worry.

Since then, she has had a few big cries, sobbing about the boys getting all of our attention. We tried to explain that she wouldn't want the kind of attention that comes from having diabetes. But, she was clearly sad and had every reason to feel that way.

With large, gasping sobs she said, "why does Charlie always get his food and his drinks first?"

It was a very good question. She was right. Her snack and meal schedule became contingent on her brother's blood sugar. And when they did sit down to eat, I found myself stuck in the routine of getting food to Charlie first all the time. Even when it wasn't necessary.

We sometimes role play on weekend mornings where I play various waiters, taking the kids' breakfast orders and delivering their food.

There's Pierre, the French waiter (real original, Carey); Godfrey, the grizzled old Scottish sea captain who tells scary stories; Sebastian, an insecure, overly apologetic, odd sort; and Cowboy, who, uh, sounds like I suppose a cowboy would.

Just a few of the horribly stereotypical and culturally insulting characters that I play.

So, it's not too uncommon for me to enter the dining room with a Texan accent like Flo Castleberry from the TV sitcom Alice.

"Reckon y'all wanna start with some coffee while yer lookin' at the menu?"

I'm going to try very hard to break the habit of serving Charlie first. It's Maeve's turn. She deserves it.

And ya know what? I may not even spit in her pancakes this time when she sends it back because it's too cold.


At 7:22 AM, Blogger Chops said...

She truly is a beautiful, caring person- a real life reflection of her parents.

Throw another flapjack on her plate, and don't tell her to Kiss your Grits.

At 8:03 AM, Blogger Kassie said...

Beautiful girl, terrific post!

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Nicole P said...

She has a very, very kind face. This post really touched me.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Vivian said...

They do get lost in all of this don't they? It is so hard to balance all of the needs from such very different personalities. Give her a big hug and let her know she is not alone. My oldest, Taylor, definitely knows where she is coming from. You are a great dad, keep up the great work.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Chrissie in Belgium said...

You haven't forgotten that Maeve needs attention too - you wrote the post! My what a cutie-pie! Often it is only the squeeky hinge that gets the oil - yes it is important to oil ALL the hinges. Even the beautiful shiny ones that smoothly perform day after day, without a squeak. But you know that!

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Poet with a Day Job said...

How is it possible that the girl look exactly like you AND exactly like her mom at the same time? Her personality sounds like the spittin' image (to steal a cowboy phrase) of Susanne herself. I guess you are lucky all around. And thanks a lot for making me cry in the middle of the day with all this sweetness. Geez. I need to maintain my hard edge over here at the non profit!

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Excellent post. Definitely.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Kerri. said...

Oh, she is just gorgeous. Both inside and out.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Penny said...


That was so sweet.

It sounds like you have a wonderful, loving daughter who makes you very proud.

And, she's beautiful too.

At 1:35 PM, Blogger Carey said...

Thank you all for your very nice comments on my Valentine.

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Shannon said...

Maeve is a gorgeous girl, with gorgeous eyes, and a beautiful name...watch out for her, dad!!

It's so easy for diabetes to rob the non-D kids of the attention they need. The squeaky wheel gets the oil and diabetes is pretty damned squeaky. I'm glad Maeve squeaked up for herself ;)

Gosh, I haven't heard Flo's name in ages....kiss my grits!

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Sandra Miller said...

A beautiful, beautiful girl Carey.

And a very moving post.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Marc said...

So very sweet.

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Paige said...

(That last post was Paige, not Marc. Didn't notice I was signed in to my husband's account.)

At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your daughter is beautiful and has a wonderful heart. what a nice post :)

At 8:45 PM, Blogger Chris said...

That was an amazing post. I should know better not to read your posts during lunch time. (sniff)
Good job bud!!

At 5:55 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Regarding your comment on my blog..we are even now. Ha.
And to do those videos, it is really easy to do. You probably have windows XP?

At 6:01 PM, Blogger Minnesota Nice said...

I read this post at work, where I can read the words but not see the photos (just another way of keeping our nose to the grindstone). I just happened on it again and OMG, this girl looks like a "Maeve" - I don't know any other Maeves, but, she exemplifies the name in some special way........

At 10:50 PM, Blogger Chatter said...

What a beautiful, beautiful post!


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