For Cassie, her first day of school was filled with excitement and anticipation. After all, it was the first day of freshman year. She'd made it to high school - a whole new group of friends, new teachers and new challenges. She could barely wait to bust out of my car, even as we were still blocks away from campus.
I had a nervous lump in my throat. The first day of school presents a whole new set of worries for every parent who cares for a child with diabetes.
Schooling isn't only for students. September is usually a flurry of diabetes education for Cassie's teachers. For the past 9 years, Marinda would meet with Cassie's new homeroom teacher and give her a crash course on diabetes management and arm her with a list of appropriate actions to take after supervising Cassie's blood sugar checks. We'd meet with the lunch room to re-educate the staff about diabetes and the gluten free diet that a child with celiac disease requires.
Not this year.
This September, Cassie had proven that she could truly manage her day-to-day diabetes care more independently (without parental or teacher helicoptering) and inform her teachers herself. It was a big step that required a lot of trust. But she'd earned it.
Perhaps the lump in my throat was not only anxiety. Perhaps it was also a bit of pride in her.
SIDEBAR: It's important to learn about managing Type 1 Diabetes in School. JDRF has developed a School Advisory Kit that's worth checking out.