Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Preparing for School

Natalie got the green light to go back to school. Acutally, her doctors urged us to put her back in school because she's missed so much of her childhood already. We just have to be cautious with making sure Natalie washes her hands a lot in school and do the best we can to help her not get sick.

We met with her new principal a week ago to discuss the transition. She was really nice and supportive of providing whatever support is needed to help Natalie do well. She has been a principal for many years and Natalie is her first case of working with a child who had cancer. We are going to start with a reduced schedule for Natalie and see if she has the stamina to handle full days. This is a little scary for us all and we are going to need support and help to get through the transition.

If it was up to me, I would have Natalie stay home for another year just to make sure that she was good and ready to be back. By then, her hair will be long again and she would not have to hear the comments she hears all the time from kids now like, "Why did you cut your hair?" Also, she would be stronger physically.

Last night, one of her classmates rode his bike over to our house to see her. He lives one block from us and has seen Natalie ride her scooter in the evenings down his street. A couple of nights ago he tried to get her attention, but she didn't recognize him because she was riding her scooter really fast. It caught us by surprise to see this little blonde boy all by himself on a bicycle that was too big for him, asking, "Is she done with cancer?" Natalie was a little shy and also surprised that he knew where she lived. I told him that Natalie is done with her treatment and going back to school in a couple of weeks. He just smiled, turned his bicycle around, and said, " I have to go tell my mom!"

The truth is Natalie is nervous about how her classmates will react to her going back to school. Eileen (Natalie's child life specialist at the hosptial) has volunteered to come out to her class to explain to the kids where Natalie has been and what cancer is to help with Natalie's transition. This helps the kids to know that what Natalie had is not contagious and why her hair is short. Natalie wants her to come because she wants to see Eileen again. Just the mention of Eileen's name makes her smile. She also does not want to explain a million times to all her friends why her hair is short. She rather have Eileen do that.

Sean will also start kindergarten since Natalie is going back to school. He had his kindergarten assessment last Thursday and did great. The teacher who assessed him said to me afterwards, "He is amazing! He is totally ready for kindergarten and beyond. I can tell that you've worked a lot with him to get him ready." I told her that I really haven't done anything with him. I was even honest in his paperwork that his favorite toy is his DS and he does watch way more television than he should. In fact, he has seen practically every Pokemon movie that is out there. If she only knew where I've spent most of the last year of my life, she would've believed me.

My biggest challenge as a mom is to not hover over my children. I do feel guilty that I work. So every moment I have with them, I do hover. I realize one day last week that one of my job as a mom is to help my kids be independent adults one day. They can't really learn independence if I am constantly there. Natalie's principal even said me in our meeting last week that I need to not hover and let other people share in the joy of raising my children. So, I am going to try my best to not hover.

We'll keep you posted on how things go with going back to school.

On a different note, we do have a special request for all of Natalie's angels. We have a friend of the family who is battling pancreatic cancer. Her name is Terry Wise and she lives in Indiana. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer shortly before Natalie was discharged from the hospital. She has her own blog on CarePages named, "Terry's Angels", which was inspired by Natalie's blog. We've been praying for her every day, but would like to lend some of Natalie's angels to pray for her too to win her battle with cancer.


Danna said...

I'm so excited that Natalie will be back at school! I assume she's back at Gregory Gardens. i will be so happy to see all of you. I can't believe sean's starting kindergarten!

Anonymous said...

I love to hear about your school preparations! I love the idea of Eileen coming in to explain things to the kids. I bet it will help the kids feel comfortable, get them over the newness of it, and help them all to move on. What an exciting next 2 weeks. I wish we were at the same school, but at least we are just 1 school over! I will say a prayer for Terry Wise, also. Much love,
the Kims