There’s so much I want to write about tonight, but I’m really sleepy. I don’t think clearly when I’m tired, so it’s unlikely that these thoughts that have been running around in my head all day will make any logical sense when I try to share them with you tonight. I’m going to try, but consider this fair warning.
I spent the night at the CIA last night. No, not the Central Intelligence Agency – although, if I had a bucket list, that would definitely be on it. Becoming a secret agent is second only to learning to fly on my list of things to be and do.
But I digress. Let’s try this again.
I spent the night at the CIA last night. That’s the Culinary Institute of America. If you’ve never been, you should go. The views alone are worth the trip. Add in the food and you’ll feel as though you’ve been swept away to some beautiful, foreign land. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there for the views or the food. I was there for work.
The CIA was the site of our JDRF Hope Gala this year and it was a beautiful night. I always find that our gala gives me a much-needed boost; a reminder of the importance of our work. Sometimes I lose sight of that. I’ve been working for JDRF for seven years. I knew very little about diabetes when I first started and, like most people, I had an incredibly skewed perspective about the disease and its causes. Last night, our emcee (whose daughter lives with type 1 diabetes) joked that every time his daughter talks to her grandmother, her grandmother says, “Why don’t you stop eating all that sugar. That is why you have diabetes.”
How frustrating it must be to live with this disease.
There are two different types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 2 is the one most often associated with a poor diet and lack of exercise, but type 1 is different. Type 1 has absolutely, positively nothing to do with diet and exercise and there is absolutely, positively nothing – nothing – that you can do to prevent it. Most people don’t know that and that’s why I love my job.
Every day I get to talk to school-age kids about diabetes. I get to tell them that there is a difference between type 1 and type 2. I get to tell them how cool it is that they are learning about this in elementary school because, I admit, I didn’t have a clue until I was a grown mother of two. And do you know what’s so awesome about admitting that to them? They think I am totally uncool for having no clue.
My job makes me feel like I might be doing something good for the world. That makes me happy.
My goodness, there’s so much more I want to write about tonight. I want to tell you about the two little girls I met seven years ago – my “first family.” I want to tell you how much I learned about diabetes, about mourning the loss of life before diabetes through this family. I want to tell you about the tween-age boy who stood up and spoke to a room full of adults about his experience with the disease. I want to tell you about my amazing village of friends and neighbors who make it possible for me to spend an entire day at work. The safe space that I know my kids can go to when I need to be gone from morning ’til night.
There’s so much I want to say…..but I’m sleepy. So, I’ll simply say that I am lucky and that makes me happy.