Friday, December 11, 2015

Sufficient unto the day

I wrote a blog post about all the anxiety dreams I have been having lately (getting swept away in a flash flood; going to a party with Kim Kardashian; throwing a party where I send out an invite with the wrong date, wrong address, wrong time, wrong child, and there isn't any coffee for my relatives; brakes locking as I speed around a curve and plunge to my fiery death on the road below, etc.) wondering why on earth I am having all these anxiety dreams.  Then I wrote this post and had an "aHA!" moment.

I've debated publishing this post, since it feels....sort of vulnerable.  My blog is in a weird place the last year or so--I blog about pillows and medical problems and my wardrobe and possible death and how much I love Anthropologie sofas, and it just seems like a weird mishmosh of "lets have fun!" and "I have problems!"

That's me, I guess.  A weird mix of awesome and crazy.

After Peter's most recent allergy attack, we had a fish panel done again, since he had just eaten salmon with lentils.  We already knew that he was allergic to shellfish, but so far he has been fine with some fish, and had even had salmon a few weeks earlier.  It turns out he has developed an allergy to Nearly All The Fish.

This does not really affect our daily life. I don't like fish so we rarely eat it.  I will add "all seafood" to the list of things I read labels for.  The real problem is that I've now added not just one item, but an entire class of food to the "List of Things That May Someday Kill Peter."

He has a 7% chance of growing out of this allergy.  Call me an optimist, but I look at it as a 93% chance of retaining it.  He is also statistically likely to add more allergies as he hits his teens and twenties.

Peter is currently eight, and 99% of what he eats comes handmade from my kitchen. Some day he will be fourteen and invincible like all teenagers are and surrounded by idiot friends offering him candy bars, or thinking its funny to hide a peanut in his homemade muffin.  Someday he will be twenty and surrounded by idiot friends at a diner offering him beer and a hangover order of french fries fried in the same fryer as the fish special.  Food is central to socializing and it is going to be a difficult and potentially life-threatening journey for him.

I don't verbalize this often, but I'm really afraid that my kid will die. Eating is unavoidable, in the long term.

*breathing into a paper bag*

I have another issue, one I don't talk about online very often.  I'm trying to make a decision, one that is important and needs careful deliberation, one that will affect everyone in our family. I've done as much research as humanly possible. I've been going around and around on this for months.  No good answers have presented themselves.

Today I read this post by Hands Free Mama.  The title gives it away: "Note to Self: You Don't Have To Have The Answers Today."  And there are a few words of advice in it with the line "maybe the best thing you can do right now is just sit with it awhile."

I can't sit with it forever, but I could put it aside for a while.

Sufficient unto the day are the troubles thereof.


  1. I think it's good that you're verbalizing your fears. I find that defining my fears takes some of their power away. I'm so sorry that you're dealing with these scary allergies. I'd be terrified. You're allowed to be scared.
    I'd never read "Hands Free Mama" and I'm very much enjoying it - thank you for the link!

    1. Hands Free Mama is a great blog--she has so much good stuff!

  2. Where to begin...

    I have two family members with worrying health concerns, one of whom is my 17 year old son and his egg allergy. My OCD and anxiety cause me to be in a nearly constant state of worry over these two conditions, but strangely enough, the thing that somewhat calms my worries (and keeps me from a state of fear-induced paralysis) is imagining the myriad of OTHER horrible things that could happen. So yes, it's absolutely, mind-numbingly terrifying to know my son could die from his egg allergy. But, I reason, perfectly healthy people (kids included) die all the time, from things that are stupid and tragic and which nobody saw coming. So if *nobody's* kids are 100% safe, if we've all brought our kids into this very scary world, then my son's allergy merely becomes one more thing in and amongst the myriad of ALL of the countless other things that could happen. So, this would be my thinking/coping process, borrowing from your 20-something idiot friends scenario: Yes, my son could get into a drunken stupor and eat something containing eggs that his drunken idiot friend has just handed him, and he'll be too drunk to find his epipen, and he could die. OR, INSTEAD, the drunken idiot friend - who is perfectly "healthy" and doesn't have an egg allergy - could eat the thing himself, and choke on it, and everyone's too drunk to perform the Heimlich, and HE could die. This thinking has the effect of "diluting" my worries, but it also makes me realize that I'm not alone; that all of us, as parents, have put our kids (our very hearts) out into this world, and we all may, one day, have to face tragic circumstances. Some of us get to go around blissfully unaware of all the dangers out there, while others (like you and I) have specific things to worry about (you much more so than I) but others' blissful unawareness does not equal imperviousness or guarantees.

    Which leads to the "vulnerable posting" issue you brought up... Personally, I don't want to read (or write) "sunshine and roses" posts all the time. I want to read (and write) about real things and real people. Life is not all sunshine and roses, and yes, perhaps writing about real stuff does make you vulnerable (or in my case, makes me come off as negative, or haranguing) but it also means you're not just projecting a cardboard-cutout image to the world. I don't think there's anything wrong with posting things we're worried about; perhaps we run the risk of trolls, but we might also help someone out there (quietly reading but not commenting) feel less alone.

    Oh, and on the issue of 14 year old boys and invincibility... My son "talked" invincible, but when it really came down to it, he was, and is, VERY careful. Hopefully Peter will do the same, when he gets older. As to friends "joking around", I think that schools are doing a very good job in establishing the fact that allergies are serious things and the kids are being taught that they aren't things to mess around with. Hopefully those lessons are taken to heart...

    1. I think the same way about the fact that my children could die tragically and unexpectedly, so its just that I have more "in your face" knowledge of that fact....but sometimes I find myself very jealous of people who just skip through life blissfully unaware. Being aware doesn't make my life very peaceful, you know?

      Peter is also very careful about what he eats, always asks permission to eat stuff, and is much more mature about the whole thing than you would expect an 8 yr old to be. I tell him all the time that I am proud of him for taking care of himself, and try to impress that for now I am helping him to learn how to be responsible for his health, but that it will be his job when he gets older.

      I worry a lot about allergies that newly develop--he had eaten salmon (and other fish) a few times before, so it is not like we were worried about that particular item. We try really hard to make sure we don't contaminate our food prep; it is ten times harder to think that we are doing all we can and he can spontaneously develop an allergy to something he's had safely before.

  3. Oh, yeah: Eating is unavoidable. Dammit. (When one of my kids asked me what superpower I would have if I could have any, my answer was to not ever need to eat. Because food is just such a thorn in my side.) Just from my brief foray into avoiding gluten to prevent migraines, I have the smallest sense of what this issue means for you. I learned (acutely and quickly) how much food was intertwined into my relationships and activities--and I think of myself as someone who hardly cares about food. I also know something about worrying that my kid will die from immaturity/clueless friends/forces beyond my control. I'm really sorry this is all bringing Kim Kardashian into your dreams. Because really? That's just adding insult to injury.

    About decisions and life-altering actions: One of the most useful things I learned a few years back is that I don't need to know all the things I need to do. I just need to know the next right thing to do. Helps get me (control freak/perfectionist) let go of thinking I need to know exactly how some big thing is going to play out. Requires some letting go of control. But really, it's just letting go of the illusion of control, you know?

    I'm glad you clicked Publish. Hope you are, too.

    1. Yeah, I can't even begin to unpack all the things wrong with the sentence "I went to a party with Kim Kardashian." Ha, as if.

      As for decision making, our life has been so unpredictable for the past few years. I've gotten a lot of experience in making my eleventy-seven spreadsheets with every single scenario, then letting go and waiting to see which spreadsheet is going to come through. I'm not very patient, but I've had a lot of self pep talks that usually start with "one day at a time, one foot in front of the other, just keep going, you'll get to the other side eventually." There's very little that can't be undone, if you want to change course badly enough.

      I've gotten some nice comforting comments, so yes, I am glad I hit publish :-)

  4. Thinking of have a lot on your plate and it must be tiring having to be in control of so many things. You are an amazing Mom.


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