Empty Tear Ducts, Full Promises

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Today is Elena’s last first day of preschool and Olivia’s first first day of preschool.  It’s a big day.  This is different from the past two years when Elena went off to school for a few reasons.

This is the first time I have sent a non-allergic child to preschool.  It’s incredibly different.  When she got out of the car, I didn’t feel panic that it might be the last time I see her.  I didn’t worry about what the other children in her class might bring in or might have eaten for breakfast.  I know that, even if things don’t go perfectly for her today, Olivia will be safe.  That’s not to say it’s easy to let her go or that I don’t have any concerns for her.  I really hope she has fun, and makes friends, and makes it to the potty every single time.  If not, though, I know she will have another chance.

With all of the recent news of children losing their lives to food allergies lately, this year was the toughest for me.  Last night I was restless.  I have always promised Elena I would keep her safe, but this year that’s not enough.  I have a few more promises I need to make.  Elena, I promise not to let you see my fear as I drive you to school this morning.  I promise to get all of my tears out when you’re not around, so you don’t have to wonder what might be causing them.  I promise I will be strong and brave and I will not let my fears prevent you from living.

When every bite of food your child takes could take her life, it is terrifying to know she will be eating when you’re not around.  Even though I have checked and packaged all of her food myself, I won’t be able to breathe easy until I see her face at pick up.  I will smile and try not to hug her too tightly.  I will act like it was a normal day.  I will pretend like I enjoyed my break while the girls were at school.  Mostly, I will say a prayer of thanks that she is back under my watch.

I have many prayers of thanks for this day.  I thank God that Elena doesn’t seem crippled with the fears that are eating me alive.  I thank God for the brave parents,  like Natalie Giorgi’s mom and dad, who use their own loss to bring light to the subject and make all of our children safer.  I thank God for the wonderful and loving teachers and director at Elena’s school who “get it”.  I thank God that He gave me such a wonderful partner to navigate these challenges with.  My husband is strong when I’m weak and he is able to help me avoid making emotional decisions against my better judgement.  Finally, I thank God for the strength to let her go and live that life He gave her.

Since I was up all night getting my tears and fears out anyway, I put together this video.  Get a tissue.  You have been warned…

Here are a few helpful resources if you’re sending your child to school this year with Anaphylactic Food Allergies…

Get Schooled In Anaphylaxis

FARE Food Allergy Action Plan

Top 8 Food Allergies (and how to eat around them)

Lunch Ideas (egg, dairy, peanut, tree nut free)

We rocked out the night before school started to Kyle Dine‘s CD’s.  They’re really fantastic for getting the kids thinking and asking questions.  I also like sharing these songs with our non-allergic friends.

Please post in the comments if you have resources that helped you with the task of sending your allergic children off to school.  Most of the best resources I have found in this journey have come from other mothers.

11 thoughts on “Empty Tear Ducts, Full Promises

  1. I am keeping my daughter out of school this year for all these same fears and hope that next September when she goes at aged 5 we will be more prepared for the challenges that dealing with allergies at school brings.

    • I understand that completely. Some days I really waiver on sending her to school. Luckily, our school staff has been wonderful and I am able to trust them completely. Enjoy this last year with her. She will be heading off soon enough.

  2. Yep I bawled watching the video:( my daughter has a peanut allergy and I’m scared to death to let her out of my sight. She is only 2. This is my absolute favorite allergy blog! You are amazing 🙂

    • I think 2 was the hardest age for us so far. They just can’t quite understand yet and you have to be so diligent in watching every move they make. It does get easier as they start taking control of their own safety. At age 4, Elena does very well, but I still wish I could hover over her every time she has food around. “Favorite allergy blog” is the best compliment I have ever gotten. Thank you so much. That made my day!

      • It’s very difficult at such a young age and I totally understand the wanting to hover over her! I sometimes think about her starting school and end up in tears about it because I am so afraid something will go wrong! But seeing that your little girl has been In preschool with multiple allergies helps me to relax a little and I hope our schools will be as great as hers has been! And your welcome, glad it made your day! You deserve it! 🙂

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