I’ve now scrapped about 4 beginnings to a blog about food allergies. I just can’t quite put my thoughts into words. I hate them. They make me feel sick. They add stress to joyous occasion and there’s a part of me that has actually considered home-schooling. Now, the home schooling part comes from the crazy irrational side of me, but also the side that fears for her son’s life. Food allergies stole one of my favorite foods from me. Don’t get me wrong, I would pick the Wild Card over a peanut butter cup any day of the week, but there are days where I really really want that peanut butter cup. I know I could eat one, but it doesn’t taste as good anymore. And I haven’t figured out to make stress a calorie burning exercise so for the most part I stay away.
Yesterday I donned one of my favorite new t-shirts and noticed a weird reddish-brownish stain on the front. At first I was bummed because I can’t seem to own anything nice (yes, I used the words t-shirt and nice together) and then I felt sick and started to cry. After a second of “what is that??”, I realized it was dried blood. I remembered it was the shirt that I was wearing the day I gave my first epi-pen. It’s no longer a fun new t-shirt I got for running a 5K while being pelted with powered paint, it’s a shirt that is stained with my son’s blood and has been vomited on. That’s the thing with allergies, they never leave. They are a stain on our lives. I will never go somewhere and not worry that it will end in another thigh stabbing and I will worry everyday he leaves the house that someone won’t fully understand the nature of his allergy and accidentally poison him. We went hiking and Charlie found an acorn, I spent the next hour worrying if acorns were a “tree nut” in the allergy sense and if we were going to have to book it to the ER. The good news, Charlie is not allergic to acorns, but it doesn’t change the fact that something as simple as a hike is stressful since a fury woodland creature has dropped part of it’s hibernation stash on our path. Our neighbors fed the squirrels shelled peanuts and our backyard became a stressful scavenger hunt every time we went out to play. There are still some days I find myself checking around the yard, just in case.
So, instead of dwelling on things I can’t change such as the child that will bring peanut butter and jelly to the lunch table or the playground mom that feeds her child peanut butter crackers, I’ve decided to focus on the things I can grow from. I can only become more knowledgeable on food allergies and how to educate others. I can have confidence in my reactions to his reactions and I can teach my child the joy in made-from-scratch brownies. Then hopefully, Charlie will learn from my confidence in his allergy and gain his own confidence. Yup, the best I can do is teach and lead by example and hope that he gains the necessary respect for the peanut so he doesn’t live with the same fear I do.