A boy and his big sis ♥♥
A short while ago I read this amazing blog post called “Rants of a Food Allergy Mom” and it was posted here on the Mom vs Food Allergy blog. It had me in tears. Yes, it was that good, but not everyone will feel the same way about it that I did. You see the author, Rachel, shares her feelings about dealing with her son’s food allergies. Her situation is very much the same as ours for my handsome little man, William, also has food allergies. William is four years old and just a bundle of energy! He is go, go, go all day long and for all accounts he does not look “sick.” And I guess he isn’t really, but he does have a life threatening disease that could explode at any time. This scares the heck out of me.
Rachel’s post spoke of being jealous. Jealous of seeing other kids attend birthday parties and eat the cake, hot dogs and pizza without fear, while her son had to make due with his homemade cake. Does it sound petty to you? Maybe, but not to me. The first time I took William to a birthday party where he had to eat a rice krispie square because the cake had eggs and nuts in it was not too bad. He actually did not seem to mind, but then again he was not even three yet. The most recent party was much harder. Even though I had a little container of the cupcakes Daddy made for William, he still wanted the cool looking Spider-man cake everyone else had. He even cried when I had to tell him no. Me, well it broke my heart, but in the end he was okay. So, no big deal, right?
Rachel talks about being jealous seeing other kids freely pick their favorite ice cream treat out at the local ice cream parlor. I know what she means. It was always a special treat when my dad would take my mom, sister and I over to Murphy’s in Streetsville for their amazing shakes and delicious ice cream cones. It evokes such happy memories for me. I know that memories can be made in many ways, in many places and it is not the end of the word, but trips to the local Dairy Queen are not a part of William’s summer. I recall once, when he was just little, maybe two, we went to the DQ in Wasaga Beach. It was a hot, beautiful sunny day and everyone wanted ice cream. I thought nothing of it until we were in line and I saw the warning about food allergens. I felt like an awful mama that day. How could I possibly eat this ice cream in front of my little man when he could not have any? Dairy Queen did not even have a pre-packaged fruit pop he could enjoy.
Then there is this fall. September 2013 is when William will start going to school and not just the half day I grew up with. William will be attending Kindergarten all day. This really should be an exciting time for him and for the most part, it is. He does not comprehend what lies ahead, but I do. William will have to eat his lunch and snacks in the same room as everyone else. Thankfully the school has a no nut policy, but my older daughter Emily says it is often overlooked. I mean we all know that Tim Horton’s timbits could contain any number of allergens so why bring a box of 40 to school to celebrate your child’s birthday? Really? According to my roving reporter Emily the child with the food allergy gets nothing or just eats the snack they already had. Not the end of the world, but how would you feel if you could not participate in your school chum’s celebration?
I am also worried about school because of the medication William needs to have near by at all times. I am not talking about somewhere in the school. He needs it near him if not on him. An anaphylaxtic reaction happens quickly and every second counts. Running to the office is not an option. So, I have been looking into things William can use to wear his meds. And it is not just an Epi pen that he needs to have, he needs a puffer as well. William, like many food allergy sufferers, has severe asthma. There are a few choices on ways to wear your meds, but all of them seem way too cumbersome for a little boy. I am sure he will get use to it. I know he will, but I am worried about it getting knocked off of him, being taken by a child who does not understand what it is for or just plain left behind when he uses the bathroom. School is filled with enough challenges without having to worry about that.
So, yes I am jealous and I worry. A lot. I think I am pretty good at keeping it to myself so as not to stress William out. He will have enough to deal with. I know that in time it will get better and that William will be able to handle this challenge life has given him. But, I am not there yet. I am not at that place where I can say, “well, at least he is not blind or deaf or missing a limb.” I am not there yet. I know that William will live to be a strong and healthy man, to get married and have children, a rewarding career. I pray for that for him and for Emily too. But to say that he has no worries, his allergies are no big deal? No, I am not there yet. With the grace of God, someday I will…