Austin is now 8 years old. He has changed a lot since he was first diagnosed at 4. He craves his independence and wants to go off and do things without me attached at his hip, not an easy transition for this Mama! I am, you will be happy to hear, letting him do more things on his own and allowing him the freedom he requests, within reason of course.
It started with Austin at his cross country run in October. This was extremely stressful for me. A 2 km run (that is 1.2 miles for my friends in the U.S.) in the woods on a mountain! OMG! I thought I was going to have a heart attack! My baby, on his own, running through the mountains. Granted the course was taped and marked but still, I had terrible thoughts of him getting off course and we would have to start a search party. His running coach ensured me Austin was doing great and there were no concerns. Rrrriiiight ... There were many schools involved and Austin's team took off from the starting line and I cheered a screamed for him! RUN!!! RUN!!! GO AUSTIN!!! I told him it did not matter if he finished 1st or last, as long as he tried his best and he did! I saw him head into the woods and I swear I stopped breathing, praying he would come out the other side of the markers. Low and behold, just a few minutes later, there he was, running out of the woods! Red faced and in the middle of the pack, I could not tell you how PROUD and EXCITED I was to see him! Not to mention, very relieved! He crossed the line and got his oranges and water. I was so happy and proud, hugging and kissing him (embarrassed the poor guy I am certain, but hey, what do you want, I love that boy!). Austin could not figure out why I was making such a fuss. I explained to him, not so long ago, he would not have followed that trail and we would have had to search the woods for him! He thought I was crazy! He thought that idea of that was very unrealistic. At that moment, I realized, I am still protecting him like he was 4, and, he is not. I needed to let him have a little more room but still be close by. I am a bit overprotective! ;)
The Halloween Dance was the next time we had to go somewhere and he wanted to go and get his drink and ice cream, alone! I was in the gym talking to my friend (Kit) and explained to her that Austin had been out to get his own glow in the dark bands and drink and I was nervous but allowing him to go and do it himself. He returned multiple times from going out in the hallway to get drinks and snacks. It was very stressful for me but after he returned the second time, I was okay. I thought, he really can do this himself and I should not place doubt where it does not belong. He is aware of how the social game is played and having me hovering over him is perceived by classmates. I did not want to embarrass him by my presence and he had a lot of fun, so did I!
In the morning, I have to drive Austin to school, every morning I would park my car and walk him to the school yard. I started to notice the way some of the kids looked at me and Austin and very few parents do this because it is a senior campus, grades 3 to 6 only. I asked Austin one morning, if he would like me just to pull up to the side of the school and he could get out of the car by himself and go to the playground on his own? (I can see him running to the playground from where my car is stopped right next the the school yard.) Of course he wanted to, so each morning this is his new routine. He is always smiling and happy in the morning and loves the fact that he is getting to do more things without his Mama right beside him.
Even though letting Austin have more freedom is not easy for me, it is really helping him feel more confident, that is very important for him as he develops ... I think anyway.
All the best! *HUGS*