He’s a child, not an allergy
This is my eldest son, Sawyer, before we left for his first day of second grade Wednesday morning.
He’s a happy kid. He loves bey blades. And by love I mean he sleeps with his bey blades case next to him at night. He’s a great swimmer, a good soccer player and his favorite food is pasta (butter, but sometimes sauce). He gets popsicles for his baby brother and will give the last cookie to his sister.
Would you want this child to die? Because when you gripe about your kids having to go to a peanut-free school, when you roll your eyes as another parent questions what’s in the food her child is about to eat, when you think it’s all hysteria and helicopter mom-ing and that these children should be homeschooled, you’re talking about the life of MY CHILD. This little boy you see, with the brown fuzzy hair and the chocolate eyes that tilt at the corners.
Last night, while you were all sleeping, Sawyer lay next to me. He’d come in about 11 p.m. because he was coughing, and I immediately realized that cough came along with a big wheeze. The stomach ache he’d complained of before bedtime, when he asked how you knew when you were going to throw up, made sense. Especially when within an hour of him coming into my bed, three large patches of hives erupted on his belly. A breathing treatment and two doses of benadryl finally sent him back to his own bed – and to sleep – at 2 a.m. He would start school eight hours later.
He’d eaten a cookie at a bakery we’d visited many times without incident. It was not a peanut butter cookie. It was molasses, but cross-contamination happens and that cookie he’d happily eaten with his cousins, a fun outing before they headed home to Florida the next day, became poison.
I looked at his dark eyelashes that curl almost in half, as he breathed in the healing medicine of the nebulizer. I studied his arms, tan against the cream blanket, and thought my hand could easily encircle his biceps. It hit me so hard, then. How truly little he is. How incredibly vulnerable. And how even when he grows taller than me and stubble colors his now baby-smooth face, even when he is a parent himself, this will always be with him.
This awful, deadly allergy.
Where a great dinner with his cousins turned into a long, long night as his body saw an enemy and reacted.
So when your kids eat whatever they want without you having to worry or question, feel lucky. Not entitled.
If you haven’t lived it, you can’t get it, but you can look at this picture, you can meet my boy who will immediately befriend you, and you can think.
HE is not an allergy. He’s a child with an allergy.