Friday, August 29, 2014

A Teen and Her 504

We completed our final back-to-school meeting at 8:00 a.m. today.

In planning the meeting, I thought a lot about where we are in our t1d journey.  Oldest daughter is heading into eighth grade and this will be her last middle school year.  While I do not expect her to hold all of the t1d reins, I do want to continue to empower her and gently lead her to the independence that college and living on her own will require.

Sigh.  Did I just say 'living on her own'?  That's some scary stuff for me, friends.  The reality is that I do know that it will happen one day.  I am also savvy enough to coax a gentle landing to independence than a fiery crash.

So after thinking about that (and the fact that I have five years left with her) I did a couple of things differently.

Instead of me working by myself to update her care plan, I asked oldest daughter to join me.  I told her that I wanted to hear her ideas and thoughts of how the previous year had gone.  What things would she keep, change or add?  Looking at me with wide eyes, she gladly and happily jumped right in.

Her idea was to start thinking back to September, 2013 and sorting through each class experience (she had about 10 different teacher experiences to remember).  After reviewing the year and taking notes, we then went through the 504, identifying any changes.  And she LOVED being a part of the process. And a I LOVED her helping.  Most especially, as we were able to remember some really great parts of her 7th grade year.

After our story telling/review session, we sent an email to her 504 coordinator and asked for a meeting.  We did this together, so that I could help model a way to ask for what she needed.  One day, she will need to set up doctor appointments or perhaps meet with college administration.  Some communications will require phone skills, but for this, an email was enough.  It was simple, with just a few back and forth messages to acquire a date and time.

Prior to the day of the meeting, we talked about who should do what.  She wanted to take a stab at reviewing the documents and I agreed to handle the glucagon injection training.  We also both felt that at any time one of us had something to add, we could speak up.  I also wanted to set that ground rule so that she didn't feel like mom was taking over or that she was messing something up.

Finally, this morning we headed to our meeting.  Nervous but excited, oldest daughter pulled out the 504 to begin the review.  She stumbled a bit but quickly gained momentum the more that she spoke.  By the end, she was relaxed (and probably relieved) and empowered.

She did it.

Yes, she did it.

Not just mom or dad or the 504 Coordinator.  Instead, our smart little teenager.

She wasn't ready last year or the years before.  Today she was.  And from now until college, we will have more of these moments.  Gently guided, carefully planned and probably a few surprises.  Through them all, she is going to find her way to independence.

This is how I know that it is ok to let go.

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