For WEEKS Luke had been coming home from school singing songs from his school play and cryptically reminding me (in true kindergarten fashion), “Mom, my play is going to be soon. You HAVE to watch out for the note from the teacher!” His enthusiasm was pretty contagious. And what could be cuter than a kindergarten play. I was truly looking forward to watching his first little performance.
Then, I got said note from Luke’s teacher on the very same day that I got another note from JAMES’ teacher about a field trip coming up. Both were scheduled to be on the same day and at the same time. What a dilemma!
There’s a rule here that a school official has to attend field trips if your child needs medical care or supervision. And James definitely needs supervision. While I think I would trust him to his own devices on certain short, close field trips, this trip was slated to take four hours and cover lunch and snack time. Without someone to oversee, James would have to stay home!
I suppose I could have made a huge stink and insisted that the school provide a representative to attend the field trip with James, but there is the law and then there is the reality. In James’ school, there is one school nurse who does everything for all of the kids from kindergarten to eighth grade. To insist upon her presence on the field trip would be a major hardship for the school, and I just couldn’t do that to her or to the rest of the faculty.
But what about the world’s cutest school play and the most excited kindergartner ever? This would take careful planning. In the end, I got Daddy to take a vacation day at work to attend the play. Grandma and Grandpa would also be able to attend. I worked with his teacher so I could go to the dress rehearsal. I made sure that I clapped and cheered and showered him with praise that day! Another bonus: I was the only parent there during the dress rehearsal. I know Luke felt special then.
The day of the events came, and I attended the field trip with James. I’m so glad he got to go. It was actually really educational and really cool. Heck, I’m glad I got to go! (That’s one diabetes perk -- I always get picked as chaperone!) But I couldn’t help thinking about the play taking place on the other side of the county and my super enthusiastic kindergartner who had been working so hard on his part.
I got my report when the field trip was finally over. Craig said that Luke was GREAT in his part and that it was a wonderful performance. I was feeling pretty good about the way we handled it, but we did have one snafu. Craig mentioned that during the end performance, when Luke was front and center and (obviously) near a live mike, my presence was still missed. On the stage, the teacher said to the kids, “Now smile at your grown-up” (note: she didn’t even say “mom!”), and you could hear this squeaky little voice saying, “My grown-up didn’t come. My grown-up didn’t come.” On and on.
Clearly, Luke still missed me a little bit. So even with careful planning and deliberation, these kinds of conflicts put us in a tricky spot. I’m sure this is only the first of many conflicts in scheduling that my children will have as they get older and busier! In this case, diabetes might have been part of the reason for the conflict, but I’m sure there’ll be dozens of other factors and circumstances as we try to navigate the complicated world of activities, plays, field trips, team sports, performances, class parties and other wonderful events in our children’s lives. I felt like we actually did pretty well. James and I had a blast, and Luke got THREE grown-ups in attendance!
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.
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