Selfishness, required

I can write this post today because I am a little mad at Kevin. Not over anything big. It was his turn to sleep in this morning instead of wake up with our early-rising daughter, so sleep in he did. Too long in my opinion, because by the time he got up I was left with about 20 minutes to get ready for church, which sometimes is enough time, but wasn’t today. I rushed around trying to straighten my unruly hair, complete my standard minimum of 3 outfit changes, and pack up the backpack with child-mesmerizing toys and books that God-willing would give us thirty, maybe forty minutes of church-worthy behavior from said early-rising daughter. This doesn’t sound like much turmoil, I know; but try it after a 6:00a.m weekend wake up followed by getting your 3 year old washed up and dressed as she is losing her mind because she wants to wear a purple dress with hearts that you have never seen in your life.

This scene is not an everyday occurrence.  I mean it’s a lot of days- don’t get me wrong- but I don’t mean to suggest that Kevin is not thoughtful and considerate most of the time. He is. I don’t think I would have married him if he wasn’t. He is thoughtful and considerate beyond giving me enough time to get ready in the mornings. He always gives me the last bite when we are sharing dessert. He fills up my car with gas when it’s on empty and I have coasted home on fumes. He stays with Allie so I can take Pilates, or go for a run, or go out with my girlfriends.

A giving nature like Kevin’s generally works well in relationships. You know, it’s the kind of nature that helps one love a person for better or worse, to surrender getting in the last word even with a killer comeback on the tip of the tongue, to put the needs of another before your own. Being a giver helps a person to be selfless instead of selfish, and this favors love.

For me, this part of love is hard, though: knowing when to give and when to take. In general I think it can be hard to find that balance, and then throw in T1D, and you have a whole new ballgame. Well, maybe not a whole new ballgame, but definitely a curveball. Why, you ask? It would be so therapeutic for me to tell you.

Because sometimes Kevin is irritable and might respond to me shortly. Is he just in a bad mood? Maybe. Is his blood sugar low? I don’t know. But it hurts my feelings anyway, and I don’t know if I should be mad at Kevin or Kevin’s disease.

Because sometimes after a long day of counseling patients at work I don’t want to help Kevin count the carbs in our meal and discuss if we are planning to go for a walk after dinner or not so he can figure out how to properly dose his insulin. I’m annoyed when he asks for my input and I probably sigh, and then this probably hurts Kevin’s feelings, and then I feel like a jerk. Because all he is doing is asking me to help him think through this brainpower-consuming disease, and I should be happy he wants my help and happy that he even wants to manage this disease in the first place. I wish I could direct my sigh at T1D and not Kevin, but I can’t.

Because sometimes when we are getting ready to go out I wish I didn’t have to make room in my cute little non-Mom purse for fruit snacks or glucose tablets in case there is a hypoglycemic event. Kevin can probably sense my irritation as I try to stuff my keys, my i.d., my phone, my lipstick, and concentrated carbohydrate into an unreasonably small space. But I’m not irritated at him, I’m irritated at the disease.

These are remedial “gives” on my part- space in my purse, a little patience here and there, hurt feelings.  I realize that, but they are gives nonetheless. And they are gives to Kevin, but it’s different than what I want to give. I get mad because these are gives that I don’t choose, but gives that are required. I am annoyed that T1D takes my patience. I am irritated that although T1D does not define the man I love, I can’t separate it from him. I want to give him more than my concern for his what mg/dL his blood sugar is, but sometimes I’m overwhelmed with what that requires. I’m worried it crowds out the love, the patience, the understanding that I want to give him instead of have to give him.

T1D reqKevin gives a lot to T1D, obviously more than me. A lot of time, a lot of thought, a lot of energy. I wish he didn’t have to. I don’t know if I mean to say that I wish that time and thought and energy was spent on me, but I sure as heck wish he didn’t have to spend it on T1D. But he does, day after day and year after year. And at the same time that I hate it I thank God that he does it because if he didn’t, I wouldn’t be here writing about giving and taking and living and loving.

How do we balance being both selfless and selfish, the giving and the taking, in life, in health, in love?

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