It's that time of year again. The time of year that we throw away two packages of unused life saving medicine. Wasteful, I know. Immediately following the throwing away process, we celebrate it. High fives all around, smiles and hugs. A shared knowing look between my husband and I. It's a real celebration in our household. An anniversary of sorts that we hope to have every year for the rest of our lives.
I'll be the first to admit, the first year, the process of throwing away felt odd and uncomfortable. I felt as though we were being wasteful. Unused medicine in the trash along with lots of dollars down the drain. It felt weird. That feeling washed over me and then was pushed aside shortly thereafter. It wasn't allowed to stay due to all of the good that being wasteful means for my family.
It means my husband and I didn't hold our son down and inject him to save his life.
It means that I did not hold my son's head in my hands insisting that he talk (to ensure he could breathe) while my husband drove us to the closest hospital.
It means we did not hear the frightening change in the sound of his voice when his airway starts to close.
It means his immune system did not have an abnormal response to a food he has eaten.
It means that we are another year into his immune system getting stronger.
It means that all the times we said no to foods, we were right.
It means that all the times we said yes to something new, we were right.
It means that all the diligent label reading was worth it.
It means all the planning ahead, cooking and taking our food was worth it.
It means we are doing our job and protecting him.
It means that we are now almost three years from our last reaction.
I will take being wasteful in this manner for the rest of my son's life. In a certain light, it's been simple so far because we have had so much control over what he eats. We often talk about how much to tell him about these food allergies. How do you explain to a child in the right way the gravity of what a particular food could do to them? We want him to know and be aware because we won't always be able to protect him. We also don't want to scare him and take away that innocence. It's a struggle to find the balance.
I find comfort in little things. Like when my brother asked him if he eats nuts and his answer was simply 'No, they hurt my body.' My brother followed up with a question about which ones and his answer was 'All of them.' Or when he was cooking with my mom and she mentioned nuts in a particular recipe. He immediately jumped in with a "Grandma, nuts aren't okay with my body." I hear these stories and am filled with pride and a sense of comfort. These moments are starting to bring their own type of reassurance. A feeling that when it is time for him to make the decision, he'll be ready. I know he is listening and learning how to protect himself for the times when we are not able to be there.
DOES YOUR LITTLE ONE HAVE FOOD ALLERGIES? HOW DO YOU COPE WITH THE UNCONTROLLABLE?
P.S. If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy ADVENTURING.