This picture has been on my shelf for a million years. It’s of my Grandfather and Grandmother on Mom’s side of the family. They were married on Flag Day (June 14th) a long, long time ago. My grandfather told his kids that their anniversary was such a special day the world put flags out in their honor.
He worked long hours to make sure his family did not feel the depression era as many did. Mom shared that they were the only ones to have a car on the block during that dark part of history, and no matter what, they went away each summer. My grandfather died a month before I was born, and my grandmother when I was in my teens. They had six kids—the two girls’ book-ending’ four boys.
During WWII, each of my uncles was either in a hospital behind enemy lines, a prisoner of war, or in a hospital stateside. Any movie ever made had little on what my grandparents must have gone through waiting on word of their sons. Many in their area of Bay Ridge Brooklyn neighborhood weren’t as lucky, and their sons never came home from ‘the big’ war (was there ever a small one?).
The oldest never married, but the other five all did and had their own families. Each never lived any further than 40 miles from where they grew up. I always found that aspect of their lives so interesting. I guess living through a war that touches you so, can do that to a person.
My mother had off every Wednesday, and I have such wonderful memories of visiting my grandmother and mom’s oldest sister in Bay Ridge as many times as she could make it. Lunch was always roast beef cold cuts and deli potato and macaroni salad on rolls as soft as clouds.
As I get older, I realize that very few talk about people who were in their lives from generations ago. Were it not for this picture, I’m unsure how much I’d even think about them. Now, you might be asking yourself what in the world this has to do with our world of diabetes. Well, it actually does.
As I realize that there will come a time when I probably will not be much more than a reminder on someone’s bookshelf, I’m comforted to know that the little we may have accomplished in this world as far as advocacy, fundraising for research, or in simple terms, raised living heck about an injustice in our diabetes world will play a role in someone’s life living with diabetes.
Whether someone learns about diabetes that otherwise might have become the missed diagnosis in their life or research touching someone’s life from funding from the government’s T1D Fund (did you know that it was the intervention of long-time DRIF supporters from the Building Trades Unions that created that fund working with their congressional connections), or possibly even being able to access medications like insulin will always be of comfort no matter where I end up.
I’ve lived my life under the banner of “Just Don’t Do Nothing.” No matter how small, no matter how big it may seem, getting started on a project for the simple reason’ diabetes just will not do’ in today’s world, in our children’s world is the only motive I ever needed.
So I ask you today, are you satisfied with whatever you have done to influence your child’s world? It is never too late to start. Whatever you choose, just don’t do nothing. A movement. A change. An initiative—these do not collect dust, but the same cannot be said of a picture frame sitting on a shelf.
Which will you be?
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like.’