Thursday, April 26, 2012

Momentary Mommy Moment

The other day, I allowed myself a brief moment of pity for my son's allergies.....this is something that I have never done in the past 10 years since he was diagnosed. It was quite innocent when it happened and (luckily) my son was not even there when it happened. Nevertheless, it still makes me angry that I let it enter my mind.

I was with my daughter who has no known food allergies. We had a wonderful day together- it was her Field Day at school. I was there, cheering her on and giving her the mom support that she needed. We ate lunch together at school and then I decided to take her for a special treat since we had extra time. We went and got a hot chocolate together. She was excited- she sat in a huge, oversized chair with me and she sipped her child-sized "coffee" as she kept calling it. It was great! We haven't had a mom and daughter time in awhile.

Then, we left to pick up my son from school. We were laughing and giggling and as I pulled onto the road, it hit me. I will never be able to take my son out for hot chocolate like this....ever. It was as if my heart stopped in midbeat and I couldn't breath. I didn't cry, I didn't moan, I just silently had a meltdown. In all of this time, during all of the food fiascos and parties, I have never once felt like this. I have always known it was not possible but for some reason, I have never allowed myself to realize it with such clarity. I was sad for him and sad for me. I was sad that he probably has many of these thoughts and just doesn't tell me. I was angry that he has to go through life with these allergies when he was so innocent. He was simply born into this world....what did he do to face life this way? Shouldn't it be me, the mom, who has to carry this burden for my child? It's unfair and I realized that I can make it better for him but I cannot fix it for him.

I think what caught me offguard the most was when I realized that I had never had this lightbulb moment before. It lingered for a few days and I didn't tell anyone about it, not even my husband. And then I had another lightbulb- perhaps the reason I never felt this way was because he is fine and I am fine as we are. Yes, I cannot change it or fix it but looking back now, I see that our lives are better because of it. This doesn't mean it's right but it does mean that this has happened to us for a reason. So many food allergy moms ask "Why my child"...well, why not your child? There are millions of other children with so many other things that are worse than food allergies and who are we to think that our child should be immune?

I can tell you that food allergy moms are strong moms and positive moms and we are more fierce than most moms that I know. I am not saying we are better moms because we are not. We are simply encouraged to be a better mom even when we think we don't have the energy too. A child without food allergies will also be picked on and mothers will do their best to help that child feel better with that situation. Food allergy moms have a little more to protect because it's a matter of life and death in most cases. And, in my opinion, food allergy moms will have the guts to stand up for their child more often than a mom who does not have a food allergic child. Does this make us less tolerable? Probably but we have to be and we have to use whatever we have to protect our child.

I don't allow myself many moments like I had with the hot chocolate dilemma. I feel that if I am not strong, then my son will not be strong. I need to show him that positives always rule out negatives. I need to show him that sometimes fixing things is not always possible but that there is always a another reason for not being able to fix everything. I need my son to grow up and be a better, stronger person than I am. And sometimes, I just need to allow myself to have more of these moments because they make me stronger as a person. We are only human. We can be strong but what makes us even stronger is accepting the times that we need to be just a little less strong. Weak moments do not make us weak, only denial. In the words of don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements "Always Do Your Best -Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret."

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