We had a major milestone in our house last weekend - Harper's first away from home sleepover.
Nine years old isn't really all that young to go to a sleepover, and we've had other children sleep at our house a handful of times. I'm sure any parent feels some anxiety when a child spends the night away from home. For us, the anxiety is ratcheted up a bit because it means handing responsibility for Harper's food allergies over to someone else.
We've had lots of practice trusting other adults with Harper's safety, but mostly in the public school setting where we actually have a legal document that details steps to be taken and procedures to follow. We have also had babysitters responsible for Harper, but in our nut free home.
It's rare that Harper even goes to play for a couple of hours at another family's house without her father or I with her. So how did we end up sending her away overnight?
This fall Harper started dancing with the competitive group at her studio. We leave tomorrow, heading to Pittsburgh, for the first competition of their season. The parents of another competitor wanted to have all the girls over to spend the night together and bond a bit before our trip.
If it hadn't been for this specific situation, I think we would have continued to pass on sleepovers for another couple of years. I really didn't want to say no to her attending and have her be the only girl to miss out on the fun. I replied to the invitation and inquired whether the mom was willing to take on the responsibility of managing Harper's allergy for the night.
As it turns out, another child in that family is very close friends with someone who has severe food allergies. The mother already knew how to use an EpiPen and was totally willing to work with me in terms of handling the food that would be available at the party. She was even willing to let me spend the night as well! (I passed.) It helped that they only live a few minutes from us and the hospital was in between our houses.
Of course Harper had no hesitation about being with her friends!
Here are a few photos of the evening that I borrowed from Facebook - I wasn't sure how the other parents would feel about pictures on the blog, so I covered most of the faces:
|They made posters to put on their hotel room doors.|
|No drama here...|
One step at a time!
I am so grateful for this parent - and for all the caring, supportive adults and children we've encountered - who was willing to go the extra mile to make this routine childhood experience possible for Harper. It means more than she probably realizes.