Who is a ‘normie’?

Basic answer – a person whose pancreas produces insulin AND their body knows how to use it.

Based on this basic answer anyone who has Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes or LADA is not a normie.

I’m a normie. I wish I wasn’t but only because I’d like to take what makes my kids non-normies from them as my own.

Before you get all in a huff and puff thinking I assigned the label to myself or others and therefore also assigned the non-normie (not normal) label to my kids and those with diabetes let me be very clear. I did not.

I have spent many years being careful not to call my kids ‘diabetics’ – not to label them as different or abnormal. I have always referred to my kids as ‘having diabetes’ as in ‘she/he has diabetes’ not ‘she/he is diabetic’.

Does it matter?

To many PWD (people with diabetes) it doesn’t matter, but to my daughter when she was first diagnosed at age 9 it did. My youngest (dxd at age 2 a couple of years prior to my daughters diagnosis) being only 4 when my oldest was diagnosed had not given it much thought – he was more concerned with his lego mini-figures and action figures adventures then how he would be defined by a disease.

My daughter at age 9 (and well beyond her years in reasoning and understanding the human condition) refused to say she was a diabetic. She was willing to own diabetes but not willing to let it own her. (Those were her words shortly after diagnosis – in many ways I wish I was exaggerating my daughters understanding of things because at 14 she is often smarter than me and can outthink me in a heartbeat). Thus we consciously choose not to label her as a diabetic. We had not referred to our youngest as a diabetic previously either but mostly because of the Children With Diabetes website that I found shortly after his diagnosis – the title of the organization stuck with me and thus I had a child with diabetes vs a diabetic child. It wasn’t a conscious choice before my daughter was diagnosed.

So now where is this ‘normie’ coming from?

It came from an over-night diabetes camp that my youngest attended a couple weeks ago, my daughter attended last week and that my middles is attending right now. It is a 5 night 6 day camp in the middle of nowhere surrounded by lush forests and glazier run offs at the base of one of the Unites States tallest mountains (which happens to also be a stratovolcano and when I googled the mountain to learn more I learned how incredibly dangerous an eruption of the volcano would actually be – I may not sleep tonight – some things are best left unknown).

Getting back to ‘normies’ and camp (while trying to forget about decade volcanos and lahars).

My youngest didn’t mention ‘normies’ at all when I retrieved him from camp. This may be because he didn’t think much of it or the terms wasn’t used by the elementary kids. Prior to getting custody of our kids the parents attend a closing camp fire event. Each cabin (group of same-sex kids that will be entering the same grade in school) performs a skit or song parody. The elementary kids all did a skit and each was about 20 seconds long. The high school kids mostly all performed a song parody. In a couple of the performances I heard the term ‘normie’.

I didn’t have to ask what ‘normie’ meant – the context of the label as well as the root word ‘norm’ gave it away. I didn’t think much of it. I know what an all diabetes camp means to my kids. While at camp they are the norm so those without diabetes would be outsiders and at this camp there are very few outsiders and those that are there are volunteers who likely have a connection to diabetes such as a child, spouse, or sibling with diabetes – all campers have diabetes.

On the way home from camp my daughter received a text. When reading the text she laughed out loud. I asked her what was so funny. She told me people like me wouldn’t understand. The reason I wouldn’t understand was because I am a normie. I never did learn what was so funny. It was an inside joke and I suspect likely something about parents of kids with D being overbearing schmucks. Despite my best efforts I admit to occasionally earning that label.

The moral of this story – no matter how hard I try I will never truly understand all that goes with not being a normie.





6 thoughts on “Normies

  1. This made me cry…I will never understand. I have dreams where I have diabetes. And I wish often with all my heart that I could have diabetes and my 9 year old baby wouldn’t. But I still know I will never understand cause I’m a normie…


  2. Ahh, person-first language. I think I told you I wrote a practicum paper on that in university, yeah? Interesting stuff. I personally don’t have a problem with labels (“asthmatic”), but I completely understand and respect people who do. Awesome to hear your kids are having a blast at camp! I’m loving the pictures. It’s also wonderful they can find community and people who “get” them.

    I like the term “normies”. Gotta find a term like that. I’ve used the term “healthy-lunged people”, which has actually pissed off friends of mine with asthma, who have replied with: “My lungs ARE HEALTHY (most of the time)! And you of all people should know exactly how much effort goes into keeping them that way.” Um… yeah.

    Can’t wait to hear about Middles’ time at camp 🙂


    1. I can see how those with asthma might get upset with ‘healthy lunged people’ since after just knowing you and Kerri I know how much work does go into maintaining healthy lungs for a person with asthma. Found a picture finally with middles in it and it is awesome – his grin is priceless.


  3. It’s true! We “normies” can’t understand (boy, autocorrect hates that word). Sounds like your kids really enjoyed their camp experience!

    I wish my CWD would go to camp! It sounds so fabulous. He went once at age 9 or so and was terribly homesick. Didn’t have a good time and had a mysterious case of anaphylaxis on his last night there (he has a peanut allergy).

    He doesn’t have a great urge to connect with other CWDs. So we have a support group of 2. My 13 yo son and our neighbor who lives behind us (age 11). They rarely talk diabetes — neither seem to feel the need to. But the all boy foursome (my younger sons 13, 11yo and their boys are the same age) have a great time together.

    It reminds me that my needs are not my son’s! A good reminder to a normie! He copes really well with his diabetes (and other diagnoses) and is happy. I guess that’s the best I can hope for! 😉


    1. Karen – camp isn’t for all kids. I have met a few adults both IRL and online that also had bad camp experiences, some were forced to return many years even though they hated it. Just like every kid needs different insulin ratios they also have different ideas of support. Some families get the diagnosis and just keep rolling without changing or adding anything other than insulin. They don’t do camps, walks, conferences or online stuff. They just keep moving forward. Sometimes I think it isn’t the parents that choose to live the mostly diabetes free life – its the kids. Sorry I had to pause for a moment to allow the wave of sad to wash over me regarding an actual diabetes free life vs a life free of diabetes related meet ups and camps. Not all kids with D feel the desire to chat about it so I don’t find it weird he and his neighbor don’t sit around comparing numbers, pump brands, and the like. For him it may be enough to know he isn’t the only one.
      Sounds like your son is thriving without camps and such – Id follow his lead. I have heard that day camps are a good option for kids who would prefer not to be away from home. And your statement “My needs are not my sons” is the truth. I have to remind myself of that frequently especially when it comes to taking pictures. I take a lot of pictures – I worry Ill forget moments. My kids don’t share my worry and only take photos for me. Im working on letting that go.
      Thanks for sharing Karen. Best always


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