In my latest News Round Up on this site, I mentioned an article from the National Post of a 15 year old boy, Paul Kraemer, in Winnipeg who had been let go from his baseball team right before their championship playoffs. His family is now suing the association, the directors and the team’s coach for unspecified damages to their son, according to Yahoo! news. Oh, I left one aspect out. The boy has food allergies.
According to the story, his father, Jeffrey Kraemer, wanted to stay with Paul in the team dormitories to monitor his food and health. The team told him this was against policy, no other parents would be staying with the team; it was bonding time for the team. The father could stay in a nearby hotel; the team also presented other options. Jeffrey Kraemer refused this even though a trained medical professional would be with the team, and again, he could be a nearby hotel, just not in the same dorm as the team. Kraemer threatened to sue if anything happened to his son. Paul was let go from the team just days before the playoffs, and now the family is suing.
When I read this, story, I was appalled. Not at the team for not allowing the dad to stay with his son, but for the overprotectiveness of this boy’s father. Now this is coming from me, a quite protective mom of two children, one with food allergies. But come on, you have to let go at some point. Does Jeffrey Kraemer allow his son to go to friends’ houses, to the movies without him, out to dinner with anyone but him? Does he let him spend the night with a friend or eat lunch at school, or even go to school?
This boy is 15. In a few years he will be going to college. Will his dad go with him? Everything in life, I have learned, is baby steps. He’s got to let his son go and do without him, or how will he ever do it when it’s time. And I’m not sure which “he” I’m referring to, father or son.
Sure, Paul needs to take his Epipen with him, maybe even two. He needs his antihistamine and maybe some safe snacks. I’m sure the team would be willing to accommodate this. The father could probably even talk with whoever his son is rooming with and discuss some precautions to take. The team probably is already aware of the allergies and already takes precautions on a daily basis. The dad was welcome to stay nearby, but it’s the team in the playoffs, not the father. The boy needs to be player, a teammate, not the kid with allergies whose father is always with him.
As parents, it’s hard to let go. It’s hard to trust that our children will do the right thing. It’s hard to believe anyone will watch them as well as we will. But here’s the thing. Our babies grow up. And in the mean time, we do our best to teach them to do the right thing, in a lot more ways than just managing their allergies. I’ve said it so many times before, we have to have faith. We have to trust we’ve done a good job and that our kids will do the right thing. And besides, Paul wasn’t going out in the big world all alone. He would have had his coaches, his medical professional; his family could have been nearby.
I’d like to hear the 15 year olds take on this. This dad is giving his kid a disability when he doesn’t have one. It’s time to let go.
– Heather Legg