Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Safe School Year and Summer Break (TTT 131)

My loot upon picking up my son from his last day of Kindergarten:

Used medication: Inhaler, asthma medication, benedryl

Unused medication: 2 Epipen Jrs

The unused medication brought me overwhelming relief, feelings of triumph and thankfulness. The unused Epipens make me feel so happy.

I tear up when I think about it. He made it through Kindergarten! It sounds dramatic. I know how it sounds. The threat is real. The fear is real. The school year is long.


His teacher...his amazing teacher...told me that she was so relieved to make it through the year without any problems. She was not the only school staff member to admit to me that fearful tears were shed early in the year.

We did it.

We kept his classroom peanut free. His teacher sent note after note home to the parents about peanut free snacks. Snacks were left in the staff work room for me to check the labels. Party items were left in the staff work room for me to check labels. Parents bought items off of our peanut free snack list. Parents bought candy off of our peanut free candy list. Parents brought the snacks early for me to check out before the party celebration at school. Calls and emails came to me days before parties and sometimes the day of a party. My son sat at a peanut free table at lunch. Kids were so aware that they told on my son for having sunbutter at the peanut free table. My son questioned the treat left (not in a prepackaged box) by the Leprechans on St. Patrick's day. My son never sat alone at the peanut free table. Parents told me they went on special shopping trips so they could provide peanut free lunches for their child who desperately wanted to sit with my son.

And more- there's so much more that I am not thinking of...

Staff members emailed me or left me notes about concerns. I was called and texted about special school-wide parites or classroom celebrations. My son's teacher carried an Epipen with her daily- each and every day of the school year. At the beginning of the year, the aide that was on duty on the playground would stop by my son's room just to see what color shirt he was wearing so she could keep up with him. I heard parents at PTO events suggest to their child not to have a peanut filled candy bar so they could sit with my son. I saw children chose not to have peanut butter candy so they could be with my son.

So many people, children, parents, teachers, staff members, worked together to make sure that my son was safe at school.

I am thankful. I tried to express it in a note to a few staff members but it was impossible to find the words.

How do you thank someone for protecting your child's life? At the end of the year, I am proud of him for excelling in school. I am so proud. But, my relief and my thankfulness overshadow everything like a mountain over shadows a speed bump. I can't help it.

My son gets it, too. He understands. He said he wanted to draw a picture for his teacher for the last day of school. Then he changed his mind and asked if he could make her a card. He asked for help spelling out the words. It was heart warming and heart wrenching to help him spell out his thankfulness for safety. I wonder if this was his teacher's first thank you note for safety.

I thank God for the people that helped keep my son safe at school.

I thank God that he made it through Kindergarten without an allergic reaction to peanuts.

Along with my son's medication, I brought my son home for summer break.

There's no break from food allergies.

But, all the same, it's nice to be on summer break. It's nice to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with my son. Call me overprotective. I know. It's true. I realize it won't get easier as he gets older and leaves home more often.

But, for me right now, it's all the more reason to cherish every moment this summer.

I am thankful for summer break.
I am thankful for a safe school year.
I am thankful for summer break.

This is my Thursday Thanks Tank (TTT 131).


Anonymous said...

I wish everyone who questions the need for all these peanut precautions could know you and know how real it is. I know that my family is more aware and empathetic because we know you. I'm so glad that you had a safe school year and that you had such a great and supportive school staff and community of kids and parents.

Lindsay said...

You have some celebrating to do! It's great to hear that your son made it through kindergarten without any major reactions. What a great team you have in place at his school. It sounds like they are very supportive and accommodating for him. That's wonderful! I've been reading your blog recently, and it's provided some great advice. Thank you! I developed peanut and tree nut allergies 2 years ago at age 27 (almost 28). It's been so hard at times, and it's completely changed my life, but I haven't had to use an epi pen yet. Praise God! I hope your son has a very safe and happy summer!

John and Carrie said...

Amazing! It brought tears to my eyes how supportive EVERYONE was--not just the teachers and staff, but the parents and the other children. Awesome! Praise God for David's safety and for how supportive everyone was!

Brandi said...

How wonderful it was to read about everyone watching out for your son! I'm so glad he had a great school year w/no peanut issues. I hope every year to come goes the exact same way! :)

Foursons said...

I have tears in my eyes reading this. I am so happy for you guys and I love reading about everyones love for your son.

Missy said...

Jane Anne, that is so awesome that the school, parents and even children were so understanding and willing to learn and keep your son safe.
Not all communities would do such a thing. You are definitely blessed.

Mimi said...

Peanut allergies sound so scary! The weird thing is I don't remember anyone having them when I was growing up.

It sounds like he has a great school.

Jason said...

Congratulations on a safe year! Your children are very lucky to have you as a parent.

Nicole said...

What an awesome feeling! I totally understand it too. Each year at school without a reaction is wonderful, but that first year in kindergarten is a great feeling. Enjoy your summer---you definitely deserve it.

BTW, where did you get that blue epipen case? I really like it. My son has one that can clip to his belt loop but it's starting to get kind of worn out.

Jen said...

Congratulations on a peanut-free year - especially kindergarten. Seems like you read 'may contain traces of peanuts' on just about everything. What an amazing story about how the school and families banded together to protect him :) Enjoy your summer!

Salty Mom said...

Glad you did not have to use the epi pens.

He & Me + 3 said...

I love his letter. So so sweet. Safety first is for sure. So glad that his year was so wonderful and that the epi pens came home unused. Ours did too. Woo hoo.

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth, blogging for SunButter said...

Hi Jane,
I came across your blog while searching for SunButter. We’re impressed at your dedication to keeping your son safe, and “honored” a student called SunButter out at the peanut-free table at school! You can cleverly disguise SunButter in recipes like this: Enjoy the summer with your very lucky son!
~ Elizabeth, blogging for SunButter

caramama said...

This post brought tears to my eyes, also.

I'm so worried about starting my daughter at a pre-school this Fall which isn't a nut-free school. She will be in a nut-free room, but it seems much more risky if the whole school isn't nut-free! This post makes me realize that people really will work with you when you need them too.

I'm so glad you brought home your son and the epipens. I hope next year and every years goes as smooth! :-)