Today, I am only (well, 97 per cent) concerned with my son eating safely and acting responsibility in a world riddled with his allergens. Likewise, Lucas is mostly concerned with what he can eat – not fixated on what he can’t.
I am no longer concerned with him feeling badly because Zack can eat Twix and M&Ms and he can only eat Kit Kat, Smarties, Coffee Crisp, Aero, Mars ….
Today, I am a proud and confident (ish) allergic parent in a world that remains dangerous for my anaphylactic 7 1/2-year-old, but has become 1,000 times more accommodating and allergy-educated than it was when we got started.
Lucas can’t have whatever he wants whenever he wants it. That’s allergic life. It’s also non-allergic life.
While most of his friends can eat whatever they like, no matter where it was manufactured or what it may have come in contact with, they have other limitations.
Little Billy’s dad lost his job last year and can’t afford to send his kids to camp and karate lessons any more. Tyler has OCD. Max can’t read or write yet. Anthony’s parents are going through a messy divorce. Sarah has serious weight issues.
We all have our crosses to bear, but after several years on this winding journey, Lucas is big enough to understand his challenges and I’ve matured enough to deal with his not being able to eat it all.
Today, Lucas still has several allergies, including a peanut one. The vigilance and prep work involved in his safety is as time-consuming as ever. But long-gone are the days I’d pretend I had a peanut allergy, too.
Having gotten over the fear of him finding out he’s different or recognizing that he can’t have something his friend or brother or even mother can, not only cuts my nut in half, it’s key to Lucas’ confidence as a maturing allergic kid.
We protect our allergic children from life-threatening harm, but we also must protect them from our own fears. This comes with time, with experience and with the very real belief that our anaphylactic children are not disabled by anything but anxiety and sour grapes. We may not know why our children have allergies, but it’s not hard to trace the genealogy of their feelings about them.
In a life with anaphylaxis, a positive attitude is truly the cherry on top of the Chapman’s chocolate Sundae treat.