I just got off of the phone with Eric's general education teacher. She wanted to know if Eric had told me what had happened at school on Friday afternoon. I nervously replied, "no" and proceeded to hold my breath.
Each week, she names one of her students as Star Student and last week she selected Eric. At the beginning of the week the student is asked to bring in family photos, personal mementos and such to share with the class. Then, at the end of the week, all of the students are asked to say something nice about that week's Star Student. She said that she's never been so close to tears as she was on Friday afternoon.
She went on to tell me that each and every kid spoke of their admiration of Eric and how he handles having diabetes. She said there wasn't one of the standard "he's nice" or "he's funny" kind of statements. She said it was almost as if they had all gotten together and discussed it ahead of time. According to her, the general consensus was best summed up by one of Eric's friends. He said that he admired the way Eric took care of himself without ever really complaining or trying to make himself special because he has diabetes. How Eric wants to be like everyone else and doesn't use his diabetes to get out of doing things or to get special treatment. He said that he didn't think that he'd be able to accept all the responsibilities that comes with diabetes and that he admired how much Eric knew about diabetes and how knowing so much allowed him to take such good care of himself. He ended with saying how glad he is that someone as brave as Eric is his friend.
By this time in the conversation I was balling my eyes out and had a knot in my throat the size of Texas! I told Eric's teacher that Eric had said nothing at all to me and that's when the teacher remarked that it didn't surprise her that Eric didn't tell me because that would bring attention to himself when, like his friend said, all he wants to be is like everyone else. She went on to tell me how special Eric is to her and that she's considered it a blessing to have him in her class. She called him a "walking lesson in compassion, understanding, and personal accountability."
I'm still crying my eyes out and just had to tell you all how proud I am each and every day to call him my son and my true life hero! I know that each of you knows from where in my heart I speak.
Alexandrea, age 12
Eric, age 10 1/2, dx'd 9/96, pumping since 12/00 MiniMed 508
Published March 26, 2002
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