Thoughts on a Daughter’s Diagnosis

I originally wrote this in January of 2018, on the twentieth anniversary of my daughter’s diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes.


A week before diagnosis – to remind you how young a 20 month old is.

Twenty years ago today [now twenty-five years ago], everything changed. Not so much for me as for my first born.

In December of 1998, during my winter break from teaching, my 19-month old daughter Emily and I got the flu. It was clearly a particularly bad flu season because I can count the number of times I’ve gotten the flu on one hand, and this was one of them. The two of us snuggled together on the couch for a week as our bodies fought to make us well. Soon enough, I was up and about, feeling much better. But Emily continued to just lay on the couch. For another week. She wouldn’t eat, but she was willing to take formula from a bottle, so I was relieved that at least she was getting some nutrients.

After a week of this and concerned that she wasn’t improving, I took her to urgent care, which was filled with parents and children suffering from that year’s flu bug. 

“She has the flu ma’am. Just take her home and let her sleep,” I was told by an irritated doctor.

So I did.

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Reflections on My 1996 Essay About My Future Family

Searching through a box of essays, opinion pieces, nonfiction narratives, and endless notes on scrap paper of ideas to write about, I found an essay I wrote in early 1996 when I was pregnant with my first child. In it, I reflected on my life with my own family as well as what the future held for this new family I was creating. 

I thought it might be interesting to write a follow-up blog post today, in 2022, 26 years and two children later. If you haven’t read the original post, you can find it HERE.

First of all, the baby I was pregnant with turned out to be my daughter Emily. At the time, we didn’t want to know if she was a boy or a girl, so there was no gender reveal party, cake, or unintentional wildfire. I wanted to do it old school. Also, nearly three years later, I had a second baby, a son. This time, we found out the sex because I thought it would be better for my daughter to prepare for and to be able to accurately visualize the new baby is she knew it was a brother or a sister. Besides, I thought if she had her heart set on a baby sister and it turned out to be a boy, that might be an issue. This way, she could have her heart set on exactly who he was.

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Thoughts on Moving 2,000 Miles Away from Home

*Author’s Note-see end of post

Pregnant with my first child, I can’t help but try to see in the future. I spend hours (or rather waste hours) imagining not only what it will be like to be a mom, but also what my child will look like, what his or her interests will be, what our relationship will be, etc. The list goes on. I realize this is a very dangerous endeavor. Kids never live up to their parents’ expectations. But I try to convince myself that it is just a game to help me get used to the new role I will be playing. But I find my mind wandering as far into the future as when my child is all grown up, perhaps married, but certainly independent. And an important part of this fantasy is that he or she lives down the street or across town – somewhere nearby!

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My Grandmother’s Legacy

Helen D’Arcy – my grandma!

In 1994, the Northridge earthquake tore apart the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. And I happened to live less than a mile from the epicenter. I lived with my boyfriend in a 400 square foot… house. Well, it wasn’t exactly a house. It was a small converted, one room clubhouse for a single tennis court on the property. The kitchenette was so small that we had to keep the refrigerator outside. But it was perfect for two people that owned little to nothing.

But the one piece of furniture of note that I did have was a china cabinet given to me by my grandmother.

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Lessons from Orange County and The Real Housewives

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It’s all worth it. All of it.

One of my guilty pleasures is the Real Housewives franchise. And the Real Housewives of Orange County Reunion wrapped up this week. Yes, the show is filled with ridiculousness and drama, some of which is certainly played up for TV through strategic editing and forced confrontations. But it has actually been very educational for me, which might sound strange coming from a college professor. But it has been educational in regards to interpersonal relationships and to understanding personality types.

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For Teachers: In Consideration of Students Who Take You At Your Word

I got a text in all caps today from my daughter, who is in her senior year of college. It read: “MY WEDNESDAY CLASS WAS JUST CANCELLED.” That class is next week and is the day before Thanksgiving. I have been in enough classrooms to know that this professor was instant hero. And he knew it too.

Students love when classes are cancelled. In 25 years of teaching college, I rarely cancelled mine. In fact, when I was pregnant with that same daughter, I had students come to me and also write in my evaluations that they thought for sure I would be cancelling a lot of classes because of my pregnancy, and they were surprised (some disappointed, quite honestly) that I never called in sick.

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Thoughts on that which is known as an “empty nest”

The first photo of the three of us.


It’s the word that keeps coming to mind. Adrift. Rudderless. Alone. Confused. Mired in the moment.

I’m struggling. And I knew I would be. And even though I tried to imagine what it would be like once both of my kids were off to college, I couldn’t quite capture it. And now I know why. This feeling is too unfamiliar.

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My Attempt to Respond to “Fear”

fear, roller coaster, scared, emotional roller coasterI am sitting at Starbucks, fearful that I have not been productive enough last week. So I am using the day to alleviate that fear and to write. When I come here, my routine is always the same, even though I need to change it. I log on to the wifi, check MSN for headlines in case anything momentous happened over night, check email, and check Facebook. The last check is the one I need to discontinue, except for today!

The first post came from a friend, an actual friend, not a virtual friend: Kelly Raymer. And it was a link to his latest blog post, I am guessing, sitting in a coffee shop on the other side of town. I was going to comment on it, but I had too much to say. Here is his post: Fear.

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