While I have come to accept that these challenges are ours and I would not change our lives for the world, there are circumstances that would make these shoes easier to walk in. I also don’t wish harm or these experiences to anyone because I want them to feel pain. That is the last thing I would want and why I really want to help educate other new moms before our experience with yogurt becomes their own. Like most circumstances in life, I go into them with an open-mind ready to be empathic to something and someone that I may not fully even understand. Since as early as I can remember, I have always tried to imagine walking in the shoes of others to understand them better. Thus, it has become part of who I am or maybe it always was there. I know it is a quality that many lack which I respect as everyone is different. However, there are times that I wish that without feeling my pain,these people were able to open their eyes and hearts to better understand it and why I act the way I do..
To the other moms who only see us stay at play group or an event until nuts will be present or yogurt bites and sippy cups filled with cow’s milk are present, I wish you could understand that I pray for the day that TJ and I can socially eat not worried about cross-contamination or toddler sharing and exploring. I wish you understood that sometimes even coming to play is a step in the right direction because it is a step out of our comfort zone and often something on these dates sets off his eczema, causing him discomfort. However, I am trying to find the best balance for TJ.
To those who wanted to support me through some of the most challenging months ever for me, questioning the elimination diet was not what I had needed. “I would never be able to do that.” … “I would definitely switch to formula.” … “Your health is important too for TJ’s well-being.” Those were just some of the comments that came my way that I knew had good intentions behind them. In those moments during the months when I could not explain what I was feeling, I wish you had seen inside my thinking process. The choice to continue breastfeeding on a strict elimination diet, continuing it for six months, was ultimately decided through great prayer. It really wasn’t about me and all to do with what was safest for TJ and his well-being which has become a lot to do with my own.
To the person who rolls their eyes behind my back or thinks I am being way too overprotective and need to let TJ live a little, I wish you had been with us the night that this all started, the night that TJ tried his first taste of yogurt, that unbearable minute in time that I watched TJ turn from fussy to extra fussy to then a swollen body and face full of red blotches and hives, not responding properly. I wish you had been with me to hear the fear in my voice and see it in my eyes as I watched his symptoms becoming worse and worse, praying that he would be okay. I wish you had been with me on that ambulance ride where there was no Epipen, just oxygen in case he stopped breathing. I wish you had been on that ride when we hit traffic and there was nothing that I could do but wait and watch and hold on to TJ and the mask, praying that we could get to the hospital in time.
To the person in the car in front of me driving 20 miles per hour on a 35mph road trying to piss me off, I wish that you knew that I currently am trying to distract my crying son from making his leg eczema bleed and really wanted to get home before it did. Please just drive the speed limit.
To the person sitting behind me at the traffic light that now has turned green giving me the finger because I did not hit my gas the second it turned from red, I wish you heard me loudly singing “Hot Dog Hot Dog Hot Diggity Dog” while holding his hand and dancing to distract TJ from scratching his face as I also check through the mirror if his face has hives or just red marks. I wish you could have been in the car with me on the way to work/day care back in January when he fussed, started scratching his body, and then his belly and face were all covered in huge red blotches…. I wish you had been in that ambulance that morning worried that it would be like our first ambulance ride …
To the person who thinks that it is a little much that I put a shopping cart cover over the cart before TJ sits on it and that a little bit of germs is good for a kid. As I see you chuckle, I wish you knew that it has nothing to do with the germs and instead, everything to do with avoiding unnecessary exposure to possible allergens that will cause his skin discomfort and hinder him outgrowing these. I wish you knew how it felt to not be able to take away something that causes TJ so much pain and to only know how to best limit it which is what I have to do.
To the person who thinks it is awful that I make sure people have brushed their teeth before kissing TJ especially on the lips. Please know that there were several months that kissing him on the lips was not even an option for us. I wish you knew how often there were mornings when kisses and touching his cheeks would cause red blotchy spots to develop. I wish you had been a fly on the wall those mornings last fall and winter when we had to hold TJ for an hour or so after they developed to keep him from scratching and irritating his face more. I wish you had seen how heartbreaking it was and how it erased his otherwise everlasting smile for awhile. I wish you understood that we make sure to show him that he is loved in so many different ways that it is clear through his smiles he feels and understands it.
To the person who categorizes me as that “crazy allergy mom,” maybe you are right. Maybe I am just an overprotective crazed mom of a child with multiple food allergies and eczema, but maybe that is only because you walk through life wearing your shoes, and not mine. But for now until the next phase of this all, these shoes fit me perfectly so we walk in faith and smile on…