Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Being the Mom is Not All Sunshine and Giggles

Jamie was supposed to go to a much-coveted, highly-technical, Grant-Imahara-Would-Be-Proud underwater robot competition at the NASA training facility in Houston this coming weekend. It is rare for 6th graders to be allowed to go, much less possibly DRIVE the robots in competition. This is the year they're being allowed to do so, due to this group's above-average capabilities and a shortage of 8th graders going.

But Jamie will not be going. And he's pretty upset about it. To put it mildly. I think "downright pissed" would be a more accurate description.

See, I can't go on the trip. And it's overnight. To Houston, which is a "mink stole" (think about it) from San Antonio. And Jamie has recently proven grossly irresponsible when it comes to his medical issues. This trip would necessitate the group eating together in a restaurant. The teacher going said if I gave him a list of places Jamie could eat, he would TRY to accommodate Jamie's food allergies on the trip. Well, I don't know what Jamie can and can't eat at every hole-in-the-wall eatery in San Antonio, much less in Houston. A recent scare when Jamie shoved food in his mouth at a restaurant we'd never eaten at before, only to ask AFTER he'd done it what it was cooked in (to find out it was cooked in peanut oil) has proven to me that my boy's brain cells flee when he's hungry, so I can't count on him to remember to askwhat stuff is cooked in before he eats it. As a test, I also asked Jamie what he would do if the teacher pulled up in front of one of the many restaurants Jamie knows he cannot eat in, and he said "Oh, I just wouldn't eat any dinner/lunch/breakfast." [blaring horn] Nope! Wrong answer. The answer is supposed to be that you tell the teacher you can't eat there and you find somewhere else to eat. So that knocked out any confidence I might have had in Jamie's ability to fend for himself in the food area. Jamie then said, "Oh, well, I could just nibble a little something and hope it isn't cross contaminated." Nope! Sorry! Wrong answer again.

This is typical of Jamie's attitude here lately. He thinks that if he doesn't want something bad to happen, it won't happen at all. This attitude very nearly hospitalized him, if not something worse, last Friday at our church's Middle School Madness night.

On Thursday, Jamie knew his inhaler was empty. On Wednesday, he knew it was low. On neither day did he tell me "Hey, Mom, we need to get my inhaler refilled." Nor did he tell me at any time on Friday. On Friday night, despite knowing he had an empty asthma rescue inhaler, and knowing he's supposed to take it 20 minutes before strenuous activity, he decided to go ahead and play "capture the flag" with his friends anyway. He had an asthma attack - a very severe one. It was so severe, in fact, that had there not been a doctor who just happened to be there to pick up his daughters, who just happened to have an inhaler on him, I'd be blogging right now from the hospital - IF Jamie made it that far. Those were the doctor's words, not mine.

I've known for a month how much Jamie wanted to go to that competition. All I've heard day in and day out is how cool it would be to go to NASA and to drive an underwater robot. But because I can't trust my son to take care of himself like he knows he should, I had to tell him no. I had to tell him unequivocally, emphatically, "no" he could not go on an overnight trip when he's shown a total disregard for his own health and well-being.

I had to break his heart, and it sucks. Big time. I wanted him to go. I relish him getting such educational opportunities that most kids can only dream of. Plus, I really was looking forward to having some downtime of my own.

But better I break his heart, teach him responsibility and keep him alive for another day.

Yep, being the mom is not all sunshine and giggles.


Suze said...

Oh, it breaks my heart for both of you. But you're doing the right thing, teaching him responsibility and keeping him safe. You have my support.

Unknown said...

I'll agree with Suze. We can't always be the "good guy".

(Tara, not Evan, too lazy to log out of his account and into my own again.)