Kim M.

To Chaperone or Not to Chaperone

We’re gearing up for another year of girls camp — a summer camp put on by our church for all our middle school and high school girls. It’s a week full of fun, crafts, friends, skits, sleeping in cabins, swimming, hiking, canoeing, singing camp songs, and eating cafeteria food… basically the best thing you can think of for a 12-year-old girl! It’s Kaitlyn’s second year attending, and she had so much fun last year that she’s even more excited to go again this year.

Last year, I was concerned about Kaitlyn being able to handle her diabetes management (even though there is a full-time nurse at the camp), so I volunteered to be one of the leaders to chaperone the girls. It was a great week, and I’m so glad Kaitlyn got to go, but let me tell you, I was exhausted! After a full week of getting very little sleep and trying to keep up with the girls’ endless energy, I began to think of ways that maybe I could get out of having to go the following year. After all, she did go to her sixth grade outdoor school without me, so I thought that perhaps we could figure out how she could handle this camp without me as well.

Now that it’s approaching, I’ve been wrestling with the decision of whether or not I should go. The pros are pretty obvious: I could be there to handle her diabetes, so I know she would be safe. I wouldn’t have to train a nurse on everything or burden anyone, and my worry level would be super low. That being said, there are some cons to consider as well. In addition to the fact that it’s a completely exhausting week, it’s also difficult for me to arrange full-time babysitters for my younger two kids. Like, really difficult.

But even more importantly, I feel like it would be good for Kaitlyn to go without me. She’s not one of those typical teenagers who hates being with her parents. She has never complained about us embarrassing her or hovering too much. I would like to think that’s because we’re cool parents, but let’s be honest, it says a lot more about Kaitlyn’s sweet and kind nature than it says about us as parents. However, even though she has never asked me not to come, I feel that I owe it to her to allow her to be a little bit independent. I have gone to every field trip she has ever had with the exception of one, when I was in the hospital after having a baby. I have been to countless school parties and church activities and lingered in the corners of friends’ houses during birthday parties. I have been happy to do it, because that’s what moms do — we take care of our kids. But, honestly, I’m tired! And I think Kaitlyn is tired of me being there all the time whether she knows it or not.

So, we’re going to make it work without me going to girls camp. It might take more effort and worry than if I was to just bite the bullet and go, but I think it will be worth it. Kaitlyn has worked hard to become more independent, and we’re going to get the nurse up to speed with all she needs. Everything will be okay. I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

 

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