I am interrupting Health Activist Writers Month Challenge to say that some people just don’t understand and some people are just assholes.
My daughter was invited to a birthday celebration for a friend that’s turning 13. It will be a great celebration that involves a limo taking the birthday girl, her friends and her family into San Francisco (about an hour from where we live – across the bay). Those in attendance will eat at a fun restaurant and hang out at the Pier before returning to our area for a sleep over.
The friend that is turning 13 is one that my daughter adores and considers one of her closest here in CA. I wouldn’t dream of telling her she can’t attend. Although even if it weren’t for diabetes the event makes me a bit nervous. It is a long drive to the city, there is a huge body of water between the city and our home. I’ve only met the mom of the birthday girl twice and both times were very short meetings with little personal information exchanged. Thus – I don’t know this family at all. We have had the birthday child over to hang out and I like her very much. She is sweet, kind, humble and fun. One would think her mom would be like this as well. Not so much – but I’ll get to that.
Having a child with diabetes is just like having a child without diabetes – except when it isn’t.
I want my kids to enjoy time with friends and there is a certain level of trust I need to have when allowing my child to hang out with another family. Do they have guns in the house, and if so are they put up properly? What other adults or older teenagers will be around my child? If my child will be riding in a vehicle with the other family/parent is that parent a safe driver, and not taking medications that could affect his/her driving? Will the adults in charge of my child be consuming alcohol? Is there a pool at the home of the other family? I think these are fair questions to ask when my kids go to someone else’s home. I worry about parents that don’t ask me the same questions the first time I am in charge of their child. Most parents appreciate my candor and feel the same.
Now lets add in the diabetes. Are you familiar with diabetes? My child can eat whatever they want but will need to take insulin for their food. My child will need to test their blood sugar at various times and have access to their testing supplies. If my child will be overly active (swimming/theme park) my child will need to test more often, have access to snacks and stay hydrated. Oh and there is a small – tiny really – chance my child could experience a severe low blood sugar and may be unable to articulate this so you might have to stick her with an emergency syringe if she is having a seizure or becomes unconscious – it will keep her alive until emergency folks can get to her – you do know how to dial 911 right? (I don’t actually ask if the parent knows how to dial 911 I tell them to dial 911 after the shot and before calling me)
As a parent of children with diabetes I struggle with how much information to share and how to share it.
- Do I tell them the worst case scenario and then reassure them that everything will be fine?
- Do I play it all nonchalant and hope all is fine?
- Do I spend an hour educating them calmly?
So this is how the phone call went down when I was finally able to talk to the mom: I paraphrased most of it – it was a much longer call. It also involved a good deal of other snide remarks (not me) and frustration. I included my inner thoughts in italics for your enjoyment.
Me: Hi T – thanks for calling. I hope you’ve had a good week. Sorry we’ve not been able to chat before now. I wanted to find out a few details about J’s party and take a bit of time discussing my daughters diabetes.
T: Ok what it is you need to know? I’m sorry did I say something wrong – a bit abrupt aren’t we?
Me: Well I’m not sure what the party line up is. I briefly saw the invitation and noticed that it gave clues about a trip into San Fran. San Fran is a bit away from the house and I’m unsure how much you know about diabetes in case of an emergency so I thought I’d touch base.
T: We are taking the girls to dinner and activities on the Pier. I don’t know about diabetes – is it a problem? It’s not a problem as long as you know about it and ensure me you understand.
Me: No but I do need to be sure that someone is aware of possible emergencies that could come up and is comfortable with providing care or if not I could make myself available, maybe follow the party and just be in the general area.
T: This is my daughters 13th birthday. I don’t know you and it would be uncomfortable having you there – it’s a family thing – we didn’t plan for others. It’s a family thing but you want to take 6 other girls into a huge metropolitan area and not want the other parents to be concerned at all?
Me: I’m not inviting myself to the celebration just saying I could be in the area.
T: That’s just weird. Whats weird is your lack of tact and complete disregard for the safety of my daughter.
Me: I understand that and to be honest it would likely embarrass my daughter if I was the only other parent there and she already has to deal with so much regarding diabetes I don’t want to make her uncomfortable. So maybe you and I can meet just for a bit and I can show you the emergency kit that can be used if needed.
T: I have a daughter with severe peanut allergies I know what an epi pen is. Oh well I’m sorry your daughter has peanut allergies that scares the crap out of me BUT diabetes and peanut allergies are not the same.
Me: Ok well the emergency glucagon kit is similar to an epi pen with a couple extra steps.
T: You are calling me a two days before the party with this. No I called you daily and sent texts to your phone and you didn’t respond.
Me: Right, I know, I had been trying to reach you the last week but hadn’t had any luck.
T: My phone is broke. Oh – well that explains a little – although I’m guessing talking to me wouldn’t have been a priority regardless.
Me: Right, sorry.
T: What is it you want exactly – I don’t know what you expect me to say. I thought I was clear – let me show you the emergency kit, reassure me you got this.
Me: Well I’m just trying to gauge how comfortable you are with providing emergency care.
T: My youngest daughter is only 7 and she takes care of herself – maybe you need to give your daughter some space and let her spread her wings. Fuck You.
Me: Right, Um my daughter is very independent with her diabetes care. She manages all her blood sugar checks daily, counts carbohydrates, doses insulin and does a wonderful job of it. Unfortunately the same medicine she takes to stay alive can kill her. If her blood sugars get too low she could be unable to articulate it and would need someone to help her, possibly give her the emergency shot. This has never happened, I don’t think it would happen at the party but I need to be sure someone is willing to be responsible for her.
T: This is a lot and I want to focus on my daughter, its her 13th birthday. I don’t want to say your daughter can’t come. My daughter would be devastated. I don’t know what to say. How about – wow diabetes must be difficult. Your daughter means a lot to my daughter and its HER birthday, not mine so of course we will take good care of her. I can’t imagine how scary things like this must be for you and your family.
Me: I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable and I certainly don’t want to ruin your daughter’s birthday for you or her. My daughter would not easily forgive me if I didn’t allow her to attend. She is already upset I wont let her spend the night.
T: So now she isn’t spending the night either? No of course I will want to leave her in your care overnight – you are so loving and kind and supportive.
Me: No she knows we aren’t comfortable asking parents we don’t know to check blood sugars in the middle of the night and know what to do with those numbers so we pick her up around midnight from sleep overs. She knows this and understands even if she isn’t happy about it. It is different here in CA we don’t know any of her friends parents well enough yet to ask them to take on the additional responsibility. Most nights my daughter is fine but there are nights, especially after an exciting day packed with lots of activity and fun food that her numbers would be very wacky and could become dangerous.
T: I could set an alarm but can’t promise to get up to check. Oh well that makes it all better.
Me: I appreciate the offer but her dad and I just feel better picking her up by midnight.
T: Well you need to send her sleeping bag anyway. My daughter will be very disappointed if she can’t stay. What part of NO did you not understand? I’m sure your daughter gets it even if you don’t. I can’t even get you to say you will take care of her in SF. Have you taken your anti-bitch drugs yet today?
Me: Well getting back to the trip into the city – maybe talk to your husband and see if he has any ideas on how to keep my daughter safe. I’ll talk to mine and I’m sure it will work out.
T: I still don’t know what you expect. I think you need to let her have more independence. Fuck you. (I almost said it out loud that time)
Me: Maybe just consider if you were in our shoes and think of what you would want and what would make you most comfortable, maybe you will have an idea I haven’t yet thought of.
T: I’m a grown adult. I’m intelligent, I don’t need to play pretend. I am a ‘say what I think’ kind of person and either people like me or they don’t and those that like me – love me. So you’re saying you have no friends because right now I am having a hard time imagining anyone liking you.
Me: We haven’t had the opportunity to get to know each other and I know this all may be overwhelming and not what you needed to discuss so close to the party. I trust my daughter to make good decisions and I know she takes excellent care of herself. I don’t know you and this phone call was merely me trying to ensure her safety if she runs into trouble. I know it is a responsibility you hadn’t anticipated and may not welcome but I assure you all will be fine and like I said I can be in the area, not with the party, in case she runs into trouble so the responsibility will not lie entirely on you.
T: I need to talk to my husband. I may not get back with you until tomorrow. Oh joy I get to talk to you again.
Me: Ok just give me a call. I will be around tonight and tomorrow.
I didn’t wait for the mom to call me. I spoke to Chad and he agreed that we could send Sweetstuff to the party but we (chad, me and the boys) would be in the city enjoying the pier on our own. I called her and told her this. She said she talked to her husband and they would set alarms to ensure Sweetstuff checked and texted me. I told her the alarms were unnecessary, that our daughter knows what to do and knows to keep me updated but I thanked her anyway. I told her I would need to show her the emergency kit when I drop my daughter off for the party. She agreed that would be fine (FINE – “Id be like yes please do – I want to be sure to keep your daughter safe”- whatever).
My friend Amy suggested that I encourage my daughter to show her friends the glucagon so they know about it. I agree that’s smart since my daughter spends so much time with her friends and if there is an emergency it will likely be her friends that help her not an adult.
Before the second call ended the mom insisted again I send a sleeping bag and also that I really need to give my daughter more space to grow. (When I pick my daughter up I might take a raw fish and put it in her air vent).
I don’t know if this read as awful as it was to actually have this conversation. I maintained a calm friendly tone throughout the conversation even though I wanted to scream at this mom for suggesting I don’t give my daughter independence or that peanut allergies are the same thing. During the conversation she was curt and condescending.
Conversations like the one above baffle me. Truly baffle me. Also – I use the word “Right” to buy time when I don’t want to say something I’m actually thinking.
31 thoughts on “Being An Asshole Is Optional”
Welcome to California. I lived two years in that place and I would not have expected anything different. I am so glad I am out of there. You’re way too nice to be there. Good luck!
Thanks – I do feel like the odd man out a bit but I have been fortunate to meet a few other moms that also seem to think the sense of entitlement in the area is a bit ridiculous. don’t worry – the area is not going to break me – Ill still be me – maybe with some luck Ill help change things a little.
First of all, the mom sounds like a dick. But who knows … maybe her puppy died that day or her grandma got send to the nursing home or whatever …. that said, I always called parents I did not know well –even for my non D daughter. So good for you. But I also, by 13, had Lauren’s two best friends trained in using glucagon and all other D stuff. It was kind of not fair to them — making them back up moms — but they did not mind and we were so close to them I KNEW i could count on them to oversee things if Lauren needed it. One is now in premed going into endocrinology, the other is in nursing school. So go figure!
I did not make parents check in the middle of the night at sleepovers. I think it’s too much to ask. I merely had Lauren check as late as they were up (which was usually almost all night) and call me if needed.
That woman is a dick though.
Thanks Moira. Sadly these are all very new friends. We only moved her in August and she didn’t start hangin with this group until about Novemember. I just don’t know them or their families – not like the friends we had in TX where we had all known each other for nearly 13 years. I think I might need to encourage my daughter to host a sleepover with her favorite friends so I can meet them all get to know them better. I miss her old TX friends – they were like additional daughters to me.
As far as trying to give the mom a mulligan – no. I had met her two other times and both other times she was not overly friendly and very condescending. I knew I wasn’t going to be a bestie with her after our first meeting.
As far as sleep overs – Chad (hubby) has been anti-sleep over long before diabetes. he is fine with the entire neighborhood at our home all night but the idea of allowing our kids to sleep away from home with anyone other than family or very close friends is ridiculous. That is how he was raised – you just didn’t do sleep overs. I grew up the oposit – I would sleep away more often on the weekends and during the summer than at my own home. The diabetes just solidified the no sleep overs for him and it goes for all three of my kids not just the two with diabetes.
When my daughter has slept away at close friends homes I didn’t ask the parents to check. She didn’t eat past 10pm and called me with her numbers at midnight. I would help her decide what to do with those numbers and we would be golden. I just don’t feel like I have a close enough relationship with any of the families here yet that I would trust my kids to stay over.
YEs the mom is a dick.
I am APPALLED!!! How insensitive can one be!! I\\\’m trying to figure out how you restrained yourself from jumping through the phone and choking the living shit out of that woman.
I am so sorry your daughter has to deal with her stupidity. I actually feel bad for her own children. WOW.
I hope you are able to enjoy your time on the pier 🙂 Do any of your daughters friend have your phone number just in case? They would probably be more responsible than the mom.
I believe this mom truly loves all her daughters a great deal. She is also works full-time and I think maybe some feelings of “guilt” about not being available as much may come into play – she alluded to it a couple times in regards to how special this birthday is and why the parents make such a huge deal of the 13th birthday. The birthday girl really is a super sweet child and is always welcome in my home and my daughter says the younger sister is just as sweet. Im not sure about the oldest daughter. I tried very hard to put myself in her shoes – thought about having to deal with the extra pressure while trying to enjoy my daughters celebration. I would just start to understand it when I would realize that no matter what kind of pressure having a child with special concerns would cause me – the party – the day – its all about my daughter.
Im sure me and the men in my life will enjoy the pier. I will have my daughter text my number to all the girls at the party. Thats a good idea. Thanks.
What a horrible woman. Good for you for staying calm because she would not have gotten it no matter how hard you tried. I hope the party is fun and safe for everyone and you enjoy the trip into the city. Have a crab on the pier.
Ok I have to admit I am not hating the idea that I get to eat at Bubba Gumps tomorrow on the pier. Im sure my daughter will be fine and the party will be great fun for all. Thanks.
I am so sorry, I worry about having a similar experience. I hope the party is a success for everyone!
I am sure all will be well – thanks and good luck to you if you ever run into a similar situation.
Wow…..just wow. I’m really not sure what to say here as I am shocked at this woman’s complete disregard for anyone’s thoughts, feelings or concerns aside from her own. You have to be aware that you handled that situation with grace and dignity. Sweetstuff is really lucky to have you for a Mom. I wish I could give you a hug…..and a smack upside the head to that woman. 😉
Thanks Lyn. I am normally calm in difficult situations (unless they involve my husband than Im like a seriously pissed off badger). Thanks for the virtual hug. Maybe the mom will learn eventually. Tomorrow I will get to see how she reacts to seeing the glucagon.
You are a lot nicer then I am, I wouldnt have been able to hold my tounge. I would have said something along the lines of \\\”if my child is unconscious do you really think she could take care of herself\\\” only there might have been a few choice words thrown in there.
As much as I would have liked to simply end the conversation very early on – the birthday child is important to my daughter. I owed it to her to try to play nice. I am a candid person – I am outspoken but I am rarely ever abrupt, curt, or rude. I wish others would play by similar rules.
Wow! Yeah, I think you conveyed very well how uncomfortable that conversation was. Some people will never get it!
Another thought…you would probably have much better results talking to her friends. Seth is 16, and all of his friends have had “the talk” from me and have learned about glucagon. Amazing friends he has!
I love it “The talk” makes perfect sense. She will spend more time with her friends than around the parents at this point in her life. Sadly all these friends are so new. We have only been in CA since August – she is still trying to figure out who her friends are – who she wants to be around – who she can trust.
Right. (Not the Right I use when buying time)
And this is what you get when every kid gets a trophy in sports. No one fails, no one is ever wrong because that might hurt their precious psyche. We’ve raised a generation of entitled people. People like that mom who can’t think of anyone but herself.
… and get off my lawn!
so very true – only I think this mom is older than the “give every kid a trophy” movement so the selfishness is just in her genes.
This is the crappiest conversation ever.
If they could jar suckage, this would be the first ingredient.
see I was having trouble thinking of a visual for this post – you solved that problem. A jar of suckage. Can’t cure stupid.
I’m sorry. It sounds like no matter what you said, this conversation was not going to be very productive. I’m glad uninviting your daughter was not a consequence of it all.
My daughter has been great all day today – sharing blood sugars and staying in contact. She has had a great deal of fun and has asked to stay over. Unfortunately I cannot allow it. Maybe if it were another parent – but not there. I will be leaving to get her in about an hour. I hope the fun she had was enough to take away the sting of not staying over.
Um…wow. I’m at a loss for words here.
My kids are younger so I can’t quite sympathize (yet) or give good advice. But I can’t believe how self-centered that mom was.
I wish I had some great news about the meeting with the mom when I dropped my daughter off. Unfortunately I don’t. I did stay and visit for nearly an hour – all of our chatting wasn’t about diabetes. I just wanted to see if I could learn a bit more about the mom. Maybe she isn’t an asshole or any of the other words used to describe her but her lack of concern and yes selfishness is very disappointing.
Dear Christina I had written a wee comment on here with some naughty words but I’m spammed out. I am with you all the way. Much Love Garry xx
I checked spam and your comments are not there. I’ve been told that sometimes my comment program doesn’t work. I am the farthest thing from tech savvy but Im glad it sometimes works. Thanks for trying again and sharing your kind words. I hope you don’t run into any one like this as your son grows.
You handled this incredibly well! Let’s stop focusing on how much of a you-know-what this other mother is (despite giving her daughter what sounds like an awesome party) and start focusing on how wonderful you are.
The world needs balance. For every hero, I guess there has to be a villain.
Awww Shucks Scott – thanks. I like people focusing on my awesomeness. My daughter had a wonderful time and all was well.