Return to School: Trust, Competence, Transformation
Today is August 28, the last Friday of a month that marks a return to school for many kids. I remember mixed feelings growing up this time of year. On one hand I was excited to be back at school with my friends, and on the other hand I was saying goodbye to the spaciousness and freedom of summer with my friends.
This is a special Friday for our daughter, Lily. It marks the end of the first week of her sophomore year in high school and the beginning of a new level of trust and competence. You see, for the past several years, Lily has sacrificed friendships and school for the perceived need to keep herself safe from her life-threatening food allergy. If you have been following our company and our blogs, we have shared some of our story.
No coaxing, reassurance or convincing that she would be safe could penetrate her elemental steadfastness to keep herself safe by staying away from social environments that posed real and significant risks with nut exposure. She has been, by choice, an independent learner, and a homeschooler with a tutor. We have been following Lily’s lead on what she needed to feel she was safe. Always deferring to her intuition and observing her risk taking.
Being alone has been a difficult discipline. While there was beauty and solitude in the safety she created for herself, there was a longing to exercise the same rights of movement through the world that other kids had. But she could see her allergy foods everywhere. It became the lense through which she was seeing the world. She was afraid, yet she wanted to touch the world and be touched by the world in a “normal” way.
So what has changed? Our family found a wonderful school willing to make Lily’s classes nut-free. Being alive in the world sometimes means that we need to allow ourselves to be found by that world. Despite Lily’s difficult wounding, she found the willingness to open to a new invitation to trust again.
Kids like Lily can create an untouchable and invulnerable identity with self constructed habits and patterns that ensure their safety but also wall them off from the exquisite ocean of mystery and change that life wants them to be a part of. Each kid walks a different path to being safe. There are fierce and dire consequences of being bodily unaware for the food allergy child. And yet, there lives in Lily and kids like her a beautiful fascination with their own becoming that beckons them into the waters of their own belonging.
I’m so proud of Lily for being brave and kind – two qualities that I see in nearly every food allergy kid. I’m excited for what she is about to reach and to reach for. Transformation takes many forms. We feel so blessed that Lily is being nurtured and accompanied by so many wonderful people like you. This school year, may all food allergy families benefit from ease and the certainty to know where to look for help when they need it. May each child be safe and grow in power and freedom.
Father and Co-Founder
Don’t Go Nuts
PHOTO: Lily and twin brother, Gray, at their new school.