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August 1, 2008

Jr. High and Letting Go

It’s interesting how children grow up and parents learn to let go. I’m sure most parents have strong feelings on this topic. My most recent thoughts revolve around food allergies and Jr. High. Have you done this yet? Or does it seem so far off in the future that you tell your brain to conserve its energy and you’ll worry about those thoughts when the time comes? Well, my time caught up with me…

My oldest is starting Jr. High next month, which means a new school, new staff and added independence. Gone are the days of meeting with the teacher and nurse before the school year begins to create a safe environment; a place where my child can learn and grow and have fun without thinking too much about her food allergies. No more are the days of having an educated adult in my daughter’s immediate environment, a person who not only understands the severity of food allergies, but who also has a picture of my daughter in a neat little binder with bold red letters: food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat (yes, they even understand that, as far as the food allergy world is concerned, peanuts are in fact different than tree nuts).

And so my learning to let go continues…I must think outside of my perfect little elementary school box to create a safe environment for my ever-more-autonomous daughter. I will still meet the staff, school nurse included, before school begins, I will still educate the staff until I feel comfortable, I will still review with my daughter the food allergy management plan, I will still keep all lines of communication open and nurture my relationships with the school staff as the year goes on. And then I send her into the world of Jr. High, me with a little less control and her, with a little more independence.

Do I trust her? Yes! Is she educated enough to make her own decisions about what food she puts in her mouth? Yes! Is she responsible enough to carry her own Epi-Pen? Yes! Is she mature enough to react quickly in an emergency situation? Well, is she? Yes, I’ve taught her everything I know. Yes, she can talk me through every kind of scenario I can throw at her. But the question still nags, is she mature enough to react quickly in an emergency situation?

Am I mature enough to react quickly in an emergency situation?

And so my learning to let go continues...

Posted by Ann Marie at August 1, 2008 3:02 PM


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