My beautiful daughter just turned three years old. It seems like just yesterday I was pregnant and eating taco salad with jalapenos and taking a loooong walk in hopes of getting labor started! Time moves by us so stealthy and fast, doesn’t it?!?!
Over the last three years we have been through so much, hospitalizations galore, scary health moments, necessary surgeries, doctors visits and follow ups of plenty! Somehow, in spite of all that, we managed to take advantage of early intervention services. We had five different therapists every week. They spent time helping Delainie to meet her developmental goals AND helping our family to help Delainie meet those goals.
At three years old, she is no longer eligible for those home based early intervention services. So, it is time to transition into preschool. The thought of it horrified me! Preschool?!?!? She is only going to be THREE! She has special needs and medical complexities! She CAN. NOT. GO. TO. SCHOOL.
Surely, this is every Mother’s reaction to sending her child to school for the first time. Right?
I told people Delainie wasn’t ready for school. But, in truth, I think I am the one who is not ready for Delainie to go to school. She proved that point the day we took a tour of the school. Delainie was all smiles and giggles. She was looking around, looking at the other kids, making eye contact and making me feel like a fool for thinking she wasn’t ready! It was in that moment that I realized she needed to go to school. It is the next chapter for her, for our family and for me as a Mom. It will be gut wrenching for me to walk away from her this first day, but she and I will only gain from the experience.
It took a considerable amount of time to work out her IEP. We had a three and a half hour meeting and I still didn’t sign the IEP before leaving! I bet those school folks went out for margaritas and talked about me that night! We finally did get a document that we felt good about though! We also worked to get approved for nursing care to accompany Delainie to school. I also worked on my reluctance to send her to school at all. But, I am happy to say, after working all those things out, she starts school, TODAY!
Yesterday, we went in to sign our final paperwork. And in true Delainie style, we had a little snafu before leaving the house. After she woke from her nap, her blood sugar was in the 90’s, which is very good. She refused to eat lunch though. So, I let her cool off and play a little while. In just a few short minutes she fell back to sleep. It made me feel uneasy. So, I asked the nurse to check her blood sugar again. It was not good. She had one of the lowest blood sugar readings she has ever had, 36.
Quickly, I pushed formula through her G-tube and had the nurse continue to check her sugar as the formula was going into the tube. Her sugar was going back up. Then she woke up. Good grief, this kid is good at scaring her Mommy half to death!!
As I drove to school I thought, “No way, can I send her to school”! No one knows her like I do. It’s not common to check her sugar the way I did, but I felt the need, thank goodness. Who else will “feel” the need? Who else can take care of her the way that I can take care of her?
I thought the scariest thing I had ever done was walk away from my child on her way into surgery for a five hour procedure with risks of brain fluid leakage. I thought the scariest thing I had ever seen was my child turning blue in my arms. But, the scariest things are what I am doing now, letting her go to school and not being there swoop in and intervene should she need medical attention.
I thought the bravest thing I had ever done was going on a long trip with oxygen and monitor in tow, alone with my baby, who had a habit of seizing and turning blue.
Now, I think, the bravest thing is what I will do today. Today, I will bring my angel to her classroom, meet her teachers, give her a kiss and walk out of the door, without her.
We have been through so much. So much of Delainie’s life has hung in the balance and we have clung to it with a ferocious tenacity. She would not be in this world today without that tenacity. We have been involved in every facet of her care. We have made difficult decisions balancing her health and her safety. We have seen things no parents should ever have to see. So, there is a huge level of fear with trusting her care to others, even if just for a few hours.
I sat in bed last night and wondered if something was wrong with me. No doubt there are plenty of things! Ha! But, I mean as a Mom. I know Moms who are relieved to have a few hours of time where someone else is in charge of their kids, Moms who are easily able to let go and not look back, Moms who tell me, “she will love school and you will be glad to have some time to yourself”. But, I don’t feel that way. I feel sick to my stomach at the thought of leaving her there. The last three years I have been her main protector. How can I assume another role, even if just for two and a half hours, three days a week?
As I drove her to school today I tried to be a rational person, very challenging to say the least! I affirmed to myself that we had done everything possible to keep her safe while in school. We have obtained nursing care, given the nurse very specific information about Delainie, her needs, her wants, and clues to know when she is not herself. We have been very specific with the teachers and staff about the same. So, as we headed down the road, with the nurse to support Delainie and my Mom to support me, I lifted my heart up to God. The final thing I needed to do was have FAITH that GOD can take the rest from here.
So, today will be eye-opening for me. I may have a momentary lapse and want to run in the other direction with my child, but I won’t. I may want to sit right down and be a permanent fixture in the room, but I won’t. I will want time to slow the heck down, but it won’t.
Above all else, I want this day to be amazing for my little girl, and it will.