Last week I had the opportunity to spend the day with my younger son (age 3). His preschool was closed for the day, so we ran a few errands, went out to lunch and spent the afternoon at the pool. It’s not often that we get to spend one-on-one time together, and I really enjoyed this special opportunity. Because he doesn’t have food allergies, it was quite a different day than I normally have while out in the world with my children.
One of our first errands was food shopping at Trader Joe’s. I don’t normally take my children food shopping for obvious reasons, but I decided to break with tradition. My little guy was super helpful, gently pushing his own cart and holding the list. When we got to the sample kitchen, there was no need for my heart to race about what perils might be served there. A nice lady offered my son cookies and a small portion of pulled pork sandwich. I just handed them over to him and I didn’t even read the ingredients! Living on the edge here, people!
After we dropped the food off at home, we decided to go out for a lunch date. Off we went to our local Chinese restaurant for lunch specials. I didn’t have to worry about giving the server the evil eye, warning of cross contamination, or praying that the kitchen staff was careful. Caution was thrown to the wind while we just enjoyed our little lunch. Crazy!
The afternoon continued with a walk down the street to a new Little Free Library, then a leisurely dip in the pool, after which we made our way to pick up my older son (age 6) at camp.
We arrived to find him lined up at that good old summertime tradition, the ice cream truck. Welcome back, panic! I don’t know what it is about the ice cream truck, maybe it’s the close quarters and potential for cross contamination. Luckily, he knew to order a popsicle that was fully wrapped instead of a soft serve cone dipped into toppings. Crisis averted.
So what am I saying here? Just that it’s hard out there for a food allergy mom, and my hyper vigilance can be overwhelming and exhausting at times. I love both of my sons more than anything in this world, but sometimes stepping away from a challenging situation can give you perspective. Maybe I don’t need to panic quite so much. Maybe staying calm will help me see things more clearly. I’ll keep working on that…
In the meantime, I’d love to know what you think. Have you ever taken a break from your child’s food allergies? Ever gobbled a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while on a business trip?