Woman, Independent Parent, Artist, Advocate, Artifical Pancreas.... and EVERYTHING in between.

I am blessed to be parenting two beautiful girls, ages eight and eleven. My youngest nearly lost her life at age six (August 2010) to diabetic ketoacidosis: an often fatal consequences of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. This is OUR journey: raw and sometimes, uncensored.

Thank you for visiting wishing good health and a cooperative pancreas to you and yours.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Therapeutic Moment

I was sitting in my counsellor's office this afternoon, crying from sheer frustration of dealing with Rowan's constant rage. Alright, THAT topic didn't take up the entire hour, but it dominated most of it, as it pervades every other area of life.

The counsellor was telling me that she used to work as a behaviour modifaction specialist in the school board once upon a time.

"Have you painted with her about her feelings?" she asked

I held my head in my hands, as my tears intensified.

"What's your response to that?"

"I'm angry that as an artist, I never thought of that before!!" I say through tears.

"Krystin. You are standing in the middle of the war. So busy trying to keep everybody safe at placated, of course you wouldn't have thought of that. I'm standing at the edge of your wilderness, I can see with perspective. You, from the middle of the war zone, cannot"

So that was my goal this afternoon. Have a therapeutic moment with Rowan, encouraging her to put her feelings into paint.

"Wanna come paint with me in the kitchen?" I inquire of the wee beast.

"What are we painting?" she inquires

"You are painting rage!" I respond enthusiastically "What colours will you need?"

"Red.... and black"

A few moments later, the kitchen table is spread with unfolded newspapers. This isn't any ordinary washable children's paint. It's house paint! She's used it before with tremendous success and remarkable restraint, and I pray I'm not setting myself up for an angry mess.

She goes to work painting the outline of a person in black paint.

"Who is that?"

"It's you".


She paints the outline, gives me legs and feet, and somehow the figure is transformed from myself, to herself.

"All done" she says

"How is that person feeling?" I ask her

"She is angry" she growls.

"She has reason to be angry. What colour is the anger? Do you need another piece of paper?"

Nope. She sets to work birthing colour for emotion. The figure in the painting is filled with red and black.

"That's the volcano Mama!" she says excitedly.

I'm surprised by her use of the word volcano. In all of my efforts to find her a mental health professional to speak with, I have often described her as a volcano, though careful to never do so in her presence, let alone her range of hearing.

"What can you do to the volcano right now, that would help you feel better?"

She asks for a square of paper towel. I oblige. She furiously starts scrubbing the fresh paint with the paper towel. She is yelling at it, though I couldn't tell you now what she had uttered.

"Would you feel better if you crumpled it up and threw the angry volcano away?"

"No. I'm not done with it yet."

She furiously crumples the wet paper. Starts biting off pieces of it that are paint free, until she realizes that a mouthful of soggy paper isn't as appetizing as one might think.

"Should we take that out to the front lawn and you can stomp all over it?"

But she wants to do it inside the kitchen. I know, without her verbalizing, that she is apprehensive about doing it in public where there could be judgement. The downstairs neighbours weren't home, so I indulged her, set up some newsprint on the kitchen floor, where she proceeded to stomp on it and holler at it.

"Do you feel better?" I ask hopeful.

"Yes" she says in her Rowan voice. Not the angry voice, not the upset voice... the ROWAN voice. Bless my ears, it's been a looooong time since I've heard that sweet voice out of her mouth.

"Give me a hug" I ask, kneeling in the doorway of the kitchen.

She comes and gives me one of the most authentically tender hugs I can remember receiving from the little girl. My little girl. She is licking my face pretending to be a puppy.

"I miss happy Rowan" I say, with a tear sliding down my cheek. "It's been a long time since I've gotten to see her"

"She got swallowed by the volcano Mama." she says simplistic in her honesty.

"I know she did babe, I know"

"But you know what Rowan?"


"I am ferocious enough, brave enough, and have enough love in my heart that I will not let the volcano keep happy Rowan forever"

"Even if you have to go into the volcano Mama?"

"Rowan, I will go to the very bottom of that volcano if I have to. I'm not scared"

"Even if it kills you?"

"Even if it kills me Rowan. I will not let you stay unhappy without fighting for you until my last breath"

"Don't let my volcano get you too Mama. Please"

"I won't Bug.... I promise"

Our extended hug has morphed into a tangle of giggles, zurberts, raspberries and laughter.

I WILL journey to the bottom of the volcano for this child. I refuse to silently witness her allowing this anger to define her. To let type one diabetes define her.

For a moment, it's just her, and I. No anger, no intensity, just the two of us and a lighthearted moment I will carry with me in the weeks ahead, as I pursue advocacy for my child.

"Hey Rowan"


"I make volcano's burp and fart. So it'll spit me right back out, and I'll bring you with me"

"Can we paint like this everytime I'm angry?"

And she makes me smile wider than the brightest beacon.

My sweet precious L'il Bones. Oh how I've missed your good nature.

1 comment:

  1. Awww, this made me feel relief for you and for Rowan. You did good fellow warrior mom!