When I’m out with my youngest I get this line all of the time:
That’s such a cute lunch box.
Pink is such a good color on you.
Are there princesses on there.
Why are you wearing that? *defensive glare*
Every person who delivers his or her gem of a line kills me a little inside. Fortunately, my youngest doesn’t notice. My eldest, however, she now turns to me and shakes her head saying, “Daddy, it’s not a lunch box.”
“I know,” I tell her, but I really don’t.
Because it’s not a lunch box, even though it looks like one. That’s the point. Sure, it would be easier for people if the bag were bright red and had DIABETES stenciled on the front, so it was clear that this child-size bag I’m toting has a medical purpose. But I’m not so concerned about making things easy for other people. I have one person whose life I’m trying to make easier, and if that means slinging her pink, white, and blue camo around my shoulder, then that’s all there is to it.
For my critical audience, please note:
- It’s not a lunch box
- I’m not trying to be cute
- The color pink is not a barometer of my sexual identity (and if you honestly still think this way, grow up)
- My daughter can hear you
That last point is the most valid. Because even if this were a regular lunch box, wouldn’t it stand to reason that I’m carrying it around for a purpose, and that the purpose may have something to do with the small female who is with me? And if that’s the case, then making a crack about me helping my daughter is a bit unnecessary.
Sure, I could save myself the trouble of these intrusions by having my daughter carry the bag or by getting a neutral color. But she’s three-and-a-half feet tall, weighs a little over forty pounds, and LOVES the color pink. She’s already carrying around the burden of this disease. Do I want to load her down with more, or tell her she can’t like what she does? No, no I don’t.
And this drives me a bit crazy on a personal level as well. I’ve dealt with the same as a teen and as an adult. People still ask about my “vanity bag” or “shaving kit”. Always with a wink and a smile as if this is the funniest damn thing that has ever occurred–a male, with a bag. It’s mind-boggling to me that anyone feels comfortable enough to say something. I’ve always been instructed to mind my own business, and I guess I’m just looking for the same in return.
Because if this continues, I’ll stop wanting to be polite. I’ll stop responding with my trite answers:
“Why, thank you.”
“Yes, pink shows up my eyes.”
“Of course princesses, what else?”
I’ll slip in a jab: “Would you prefer if I keep her alive while wearing another color?”
But I know it will be at that point, when I slip, that my youngest will turn to me and say, “Be nice, Daddy.” Because she’s been listening the entire time, and she knows to mind her own business and to be kind to others. She’s been to Kindergarten, and therefore, knows everything.
I only wish others would remember.
*If you know someone with a young child with diabetes, share this article with them, and then the next time you’re out together, shoulder the bag. You’ll see.*