My daughter was home sick from school at the beginning of last week.  She spent most of two days on the sofa watching t.v. and blowing her nose. 

By the morning of day two we faced an emergency.  We were down to five tissues.  I had to go out.

At eleven years old many of her friends get left home alone.  Some are alone for an hour or two daily before their parents get home from work.  Others are left while siblings are taken to practices, games or appointments.  We are fortunate to live in a relatively safe community.  The word 'responsible' has been used to describe my daughter at every parent teacher conference since she was four.  Despite all of this, my daughter had never been left home alone for more than about 10 minutes.

It's not my daughter I'm afraid to leave home alone.  It's her diabetes.  Would she remember to bolus for a snack? What if she were low?  Would she notice?  If she did notice, would she have the wherewithal to treat it?  What if the low caused her to be too confused to react?  What would she do if the pump alarmed? 

Yet the idea of resorting to blowing our noses on napkins or paper towels seemed unappealing.  So did scrounging around the freezer for ossified leftovers for dinner.  We had finished the box of peppermint tea.  A snowstorm was predicted to begin the next day.  I had to go, and I couldn't drag a child with snot pouring down her face around the grocery store.  Had it been necessary, I probably could have found somebody to come stay with her, but I really didn't want to expose anyone to this illness.

So around 10 a.m. when she wanted a snack, she tested her blood sugar. It was 200-ish (not bad for sitting on the sofa all morning) and she bolused for the number and some dry cereal.  I put the meter, a juice box, and the phone on the table in front of her. 

"Please check if you feel at all funny.  Call me if you need me." And then, in an attempt to elicit a smile, "Don't do anything crazy."

It was a combination smile and eye roll. "I'm just going to sit her and watch 'Good Luck Charlie.'  Don't forget to get me a diet ginger ale."

So I left. 

You know how the story ends. When I got home she was sitting on the sofa watching 'Good Luck Charlie' and blowing her nose in the next to last tissue.

At this age, I can still avoid leaving her alone in most circumstances.  She prefers a visit from grandpa or going to a friend's house to being home alone anyway.  Yet the day will come when she can legitimately be home alone for a few hours.  I'm sure she'll be responsible and careful.  I'm also sure I will be nervous.  While I can't arrange playdates when she's sixteen, I'll always be happier when she has a buddy around in case she needs a little help.

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