An Emotional Point Of View

As parents of food allergy children, we have a responsibility to stay grounded in our capacity and competency to observe their personal development. Our family journey began with observing the frightening symptoms of food poisoning our daughter when she was three years old. This was followed by ER visits, doctor visits, a diagnosis and the initiation of strategies of avoidance to keep her safe.

I’m sure this is a familiar story to you.

As we make our way in years now, past the two anaphylaxis episodes that threatened her life, we have a growing understanding of the many ways that these life-changing incidences have affected our lives from an emotional point of view.

Lily is fourteen now and facing the nuances of loneliness and isolation from her peers that results from her commitment to keep herself safe. She doesn’t do sleepovers. She doesn’t meet friends out for dinner at restaurants. She doesn’t go to parties. She misses the high school movie that she sees being played out on Instagram by her closest friends who have “gone on without her.”

She doesn’t go to high school, choosing to home school as a commitment to staying safe. She wonders about how to keep herself safe when she meets someone she wants to kiss. She wonders if she could “stretch a little” and find a way to be safe at high school. She wonders what she’ll say if someone asks her on a date out to dinner. She wonders.

Writing this breaks my heart. I wish it could be different for her. And yet, the deep level of acceptance and surrender that lives alongside the hurt and sadness of “being different” inspires me. She knows there are those who have far greater challenges, and she is facing her own challenge to keep herself lifted from depression. Lily has a therapist who has been a great help in keeping her positive and grateful. We take great consolation in knowing this external resource is available and we have the resources to provide this.

We know Lily is waking up to the world around her just as every teen does. We know she needs to push out and away. We know there are rites and passages and transformations on the horizon. Yes, we worry. We worry that our precious child is going to be swept up in the powerful culture of more and complexity. And we remind ourselves, that already in her early years, she has had the blessing of figuring out how to overcome life’s surprises. She has learned how to live with and live without. But perhaps her greatest lesson, and the one that we take the greatest comfort in as parents, is the lesson she has learned to live within.

Doug Pinto
Don’t Go Nuts


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