Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Letting Go

Today is my food-allergic 3rd-grader's first day back at school. (Well, not all day--more like a couple of hours.) She's not a kindergartner anymore (I've got one of those going later today and am fully-stocked with Kleenex) but I still get very emotional every new school year.

For my family, this year is especially filled with uncertainty, since we have moved recently and my kids are attending a new school. When you've been part of a school for awhile and feel that your child's allergy needs are being met, you get comfortable. Now that's gone for us--it's time to start over.

My daughter is older now and articulate--I'm not as worried about her as I used to be. Still, it's hard for me to let her go.

All parents face this each year, but for parents with food-allergic kids, the "letting go" takes a big leap of faith.

We've talked to the teachers, principal, staff. We've gotten the doctor's notes, reviewed the emergency plans, filled out so many medical forms. We've filled the epinephrine prescriptions and labeled the Benadryl. We've offered to bring treats for the class parties and there's nothing more we can do.

If there's one thing having a child with food allergies teaches us, it's that we have so little control over our kids' lives. Every parent faces this fact sooner or later. For us, it's sooner.

When my precious daughter left this morning, I was so proud of her. She looked confident and stylish in her new school clothes and backpack. She was excited and happy, if a little nervous. I guess I must be doing something right.

So I took a deep breath. And let her go.


Kelly said...

Jenny- I got tears reading your post. I.feel.the.same.way! Mine is now in 4th grade and I just made my back to school with peanut allergies post today! I know the frustration of dealing with a new school, new administration, new teachers all too well. Hang in there!!


Jenny said...

Thanks, Kelly. You also know that even though the kids get older, it doesn't necessarily get easier for us moms! :)

Good luck to you and your 4th-grader! :)--Jeny

Jane Anne said...

I'm glad you shared a link to this on Facebook today. I could have written this! We moved to a new state and school this month. My son started second grade. His first day was yesterday. It was hard to let go.

There are different challenges as they get older and more articulate.

Beth H. said...

I got tears in my eyes reading this too. It's so true! My daughter is going to kindergarten, and I've done all the right things preparing the school and her with her food allergies. However, I wonder, if it'll be enough. Letting them go is the hardest thing ever. She starts in 2 days....I hate this!

Kelly R said...

Well said! I felt like I was reading my very own thoughts (except mine is a kindergarten boy, sporting a Toy Story backpack). My little guy starts school Thursday. I can hardly believe this day is upon us. It's been 3 years since his diagnoses at age 2.5. And the first words out of my husband's mouth that fateful day were, "well, you're going to have to home school him." Nothing against home schooling, but I was adamant about him living as *normal* of a life as possible. This, of course, puts the big "guilt ball" squarely in my court should anything happen. But at this point, I feel like I've educated my son as best I can, pushed for as much safety as possible at his school. It's time to "let go" and let my little bird test out his wings. Momma bird will be back at the nest, crying her eyes out!

Rebecca said...

My son did 1/2 day kibdergarten and I have to say not only was I pleased to not have to send him full day I was also highly relieved not to gsvcto do the whole "lunch thing" this year he goes to fui day, 1st grade. I'm terrified. :(