Life is full of surprises, isn’t it? This week particularly seems to be full of them. But I received an unexpected surprise a couple of days ago, one that I’m hoping is a sign of things to come.
While Ryley has had a fairly easy road of it for being a 26-week micro-preemie, it hasn’t been without its bumps. When he was four, his pediatrician informed us he has reactive asthma. When he gets a cold, or allergies hit, we can go from zero to pneumonia in a heartbeat. I can’t tell you how many times since he started preschool we’ve received *that* call to come pick him up, or to bring his inhaler as the coughing got out of control, and fevers struck. I felt like I was spending most of my life on high alert. Every sniffle sent me into overdrive. Leaving the house meant taking a bag of medication with us, just in case. We carried a mini-pharmacy when we traveled anywhere (we still do). His Kindergarten year, he missed school most of February, first with bronchitis, then with pneumonia. It wasn’t pretty. I felt awful for him. He would just get so sick. I knew the look in his eyes…..the one that said something bad was coming, and he wasn’t himself. Then we had the wonderful roid rage that came with the necessary medication. YUCK!! The doctor had told us that as he got older, and his lungs grew along with him, the ratio of scarred lung tissue to healthy lung tissue would change in his favor, and he would outgrow the asthma. We thought last year might be the year, but when we took him in for his 8 year check-up, his peak flow still wasn’t close to what she wanted it to be to try a winter without meds. I was disappointed, but at the same time, relieved in a way. I don’t know that I was ready to give it a go and pray he would get through without getting really sick again. We survived…he made it til the beginning of Spring and then got sick, just when I thought we were out of the woods for the year. He bounced back, and had a pretty easy summer of it.
I don’t know about your kids, but our school’s report cards show the number of absences for each semester. I don’t even usually look at that for Ryley. His health is way more important to me than having perfect attendance. I won’t risk it. I’m a rule-follower, so if he’s had a fever, no school. If his cough is bad, no school. If he has *that* look on his face, no school. And I keep him home until he’s better. I’m just not willing to take chances. So imagine my surprise when he came home on Tuesday and said he had something for me. He handed me this certificate that said “Attendance Award”. He made it through the entire first semester without missing one single day!!!! The thought had never even crossed my mind that he would ever reach that milestone – and a milestone it truly is for us. I gave him a big hug and told him that I was proud of him, but even more than that, I was happy he was healthy enough to get through an entire semester without missing a day. He had a big grin on his face.
Needless to say, it couldn’t last. He did get sick, right before the Holiday break, and missed the last day of school. He was down with it for four days. So there won’t be an attendance award certificate for the second semester, but hey, I guess you have to start somewhere, and I’ll take one semester out of three, and pray this is a sign of good things to come for Ryley.