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.