No More Firsts


We’ve been at it for a little over a year now. The actual day came and went. There was a discussion about if we should celebrate, and if we did celebrate should it be on the anniversary of the day she was admitted to the hospital late at night or the following day, when we met with the pediatric endo and started learning about the journey our family was about to take. In the end, we all woke up on the anniversary of that second day and I told P that I was so proud of how brave she had been and how happy I was that we could celebrate a whole trip around the sun of being healthy and safe with diabetes. She just smiled at me and asked if it was show-and-share day at school, and if it was show-and-share, could she please bring her pet unicorn because she was pretty sure Sparkles the Unicorn wouldn’t poop in the classroom this time, and the rest of the day passed, like the days usually do, without much fanfare.

It was a couple of weeks later when it hit me. We are done with the firsts. We celebrated our first Christmas, her first birthday, the first Valentine’s Day, with type 1 (can we just chill with the candy, people). We weathered her first drop off at school, and the first time she wished she didn’t have it anymore, not even upset, but while blowing out the candle on her birthday cupcake. We survived our first hospital stay, our first stomach bug followed by our first frightening ER visit, the first time she went low and I wasn’t there to hold her while she pounded a juice box. Even the more mundane firsts are behind us now: the first shot in public, the first restaurant meal, the first playdate, the first time we gave the wrong insulin dose. A whole year of milestones, needles and learning, are behind us.

It turned out to be true, what everyone who had a reason to know kept telling me in those early fractured and terrifying days. It won’t get any easier, but you will get better at it. I’m better at guessing. I’m better at forgiving myself when I screw up. I’m better at balancing the demands of this disease with needs of P and O and Q. I still get sad and scared, but less often, and I know the things that can help to pull me out of it. I still worry, but I have more trust that the family of people that we have chosen to surround us will be there to hold her hand when I am not, to lift us up when we can’t stand, and to shine a light when things get dark.

She is only 4, and I know there will be a few more type 1 firsts that will creep up on me. I’m already scheming how we are going to put the pump on whatever she decides to wear to prom (please, let it have pockets), but for now, I’m happy to be on this side of things. We survived the first year of firsts.

This was originally published on Kate Felton’s blog Not Sure How Today Ends.

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WRITTEN BY Kate Felton, POSTED 02/23/17, UPDATED 10/06/22

Kate Felton is a writer and an artist, who lives in Los Angeles with one unbelievably well-mannered dog, three delightfully unruly children, and her eternally patient husband. Her daughter, Penny, was diagnosed with type 1 in December of 2015, at the age of three. Kate blogs at, and writes elsewhere on the interwebs. When she isn't chasing children, she produces theatre and sits on the boards of several nonprofits.