This weekend we got an amazing opportunity to meet professional IndyCar driver #83 Charlie Kimball. Charlie is sponsored by Novo Nordisk, one of the major insulin brands.......yup you guessed it he has Type 1 Diabetes! He is the first driver in the history of the sport to have T1D.
J LOVES cars so I thought this would be so exciting for him to meet a professional race car driver and also see that he has T1D just like him. I am always striving for J to meet other diabetics so he never feels alone, especially since he has no family members who can relate to what he feels/goes through. As a mother I always come up with these ideas and have a picture in my mind of how it is going to go.........and it NEVER turns out the way I envision. On the way to the event both children had fallen asleep in the car, normally a good thing so they are rested and energized, well what I failed to know about this particular event was that it was a small meet and greet and then, a sit at a table and listen to Charlie's story and ask questions. Not an easy feat with 2 and 4 year old boys!
When we arrived we had to wake the kids up and that seemed to go well....yay! We walked into the room where the event was being held and we were the first to arrive.....yay! We met Charlie and when it came time for J to meet him, J decided that he was going to be shy (he is the most talkative outgoing kid ever) he immediately hid his face in my leg and then proceeded to try and crawl away. I nervously laughed and shrugged at the behavior and tried to explain that he had just woken up from a nap. We were still standing there speaking with Charlie and he was asking questions about Hope and the T1 management methods that we use for J. He was such a nice personable guy with such an amazing story! More people began to show up, so I told Anthony we should probably have him sign the car that we bought as a keepsake for J and I wanted to get a few pictures. J gave the car to Charlie and had him autograph it, but as soon as it came time for a picture with Charlie he again, shut down and became shy and refused a picture.
I decided that we should just pick a table and sit down as the room was filling up. I thought that maybe J would warm up and take a picture at the end of the event. Mistake #1, I picked a table near the front of the room, Mistake #2 I picked the table closest to the snack table, Mistake #3 I picked a table furthest from the bathroom!
We sat down and as the event was beginning to start our children saw people grabbing water, cookies and fruit snacks from the snack table. They of course wanted a cookie, so Anthony went and grabbed cookies and water for them. Charlie began to talk and share his story of how he became a IndyCar driver so the room was nice and quiet. J decided that he didn't like his cookie that he wanted fruit snacks, then E decided that he wanted the same thing as his brother. So, I got up and I grabbed fruit snacks and sat back down. Then J accidentally spilled his water all over the table, so I had to get up and get napkins to clean that up. We sat there listening to Charlie and trying to wrangle the kids into behaving and sitting quietly but unfortunately the topic wasn't as interesting to them as it was for us. J got restless, so I convinced him to sit on my lap and he wanted me to rub his back. He was sitting quietly so I didn't care. E got so restless that Anthony had to take him out of the room, but managed to do so without J seeing. A few minutes went by and J decided that he needed to go to the bathroom. Well this posed a dilemma because Anthony was out in the lobby with E and I had Hope, the backpack, my purse and J. I decided that Hope was sleeping and tied up so she would "fingers crossed" stay there, and the backpack would be fine so I grabbed my purse and off to the rest room we went. As we sat back down in our chairs J noticed that Anthony and E were gone and he wanted to know where they were, at that exact moment E ran up to the glass doors and J immediately wanted to go out there with him to run around and play. I whispered for him to QUIETLY leave the room. I was hoping that Charlie would be wrapping up soon, so we could get a picture and leave. He seemed to be heading that direction but then started the Q and A portion. He got a few questions in, and Hope started alerting and staring at the door looking for J, she was very uneasy and not letting it go. J had been running high the whole time that we were there, but we had given a correction when he ate the cookie so he was starting to come back down. She just wasn't having the "we are fixing it", so I got up threw away all of our mess, gathered our things and left the room. *Sigh*
I was happy that I got to hear Charlie's story and be so inspired by his determination not to let T1D stop him. As a parent that is my worst fear for J and people like Charlie Kimball are proving to our children that nothing can hold them back from their dreams. Although, they might have to take a few extra steps and do things a little differently, it will NEVER stop them. I will forever be a fan of Charlie's and grateful for the hope that he has given me as a mother. Although, J didn't grasp the story that he was hearing and how impactful it is for his life, I was glad that we went and TRIED to make it a special thing for him. Hopefully when J is a little older he will be given more opportunities like this and be able to appreciate them and as a parent I even learned a few new valuable lessons! ;)
The only picture I was able to get of J and Charlie Kimball!