Friday, September 17, 2010

Being Real

Today I am writing a different kind of post. This post is not about a fun adventure or a new milestone; this post is for myself. I just need to write down how I am feeling. I am praying that in 10 years I will look back at this post and realize that it was only a trial for the moment and that it no longer exists. Today, this trial exists and it is so real in my life. Today, my heart is heavy. It is through these moments that the Lord reminds me of several things.

Yesterday I had two conversations with two different people. The first conversation involved a pregnant lady who just got news of some possible complications with her pregnancy. As she talked to me and cried, my heart ached; I literally felt pain deep inside me. She said that she immediately started thinking, "what have I done wrong during my pregnancy to cause this." I reminded her of what I remind myself of on a daily basis--that sometimes things happen so that God can be glorified.

The second conversation involved a conversation about snacks during children's church. It went something like this:
Me: I can just bring snacks for my own class so you don't have to worry about it.
Response: That would be great because it will give me more flexibility if I don't have to worry about David. If I am in a hurry or something I can just grab whatever is available.
Truth be told, this lady is an extremely kind, generous woman but those words were a reminder of our daily lives and sent me into a spiral of thoughts. (don't you hate when that happens)
She kept talking telling me about how "great of a job" I do with dealing with it and how I never seem discouraged by it and how David seems to do well too. I just wanted to laugh out loud. I told her that we have adjusted and we have done all that we know to do to help him but it is also my number one source of discouragement and that it does bother David.

Now food allergies are not like cancer but they sure do feel like a terminal illness. Every single day I think about what I could have done wrong when I was pregnant or what I did or didn't do while he was an infant. It is a constant struggle of letting go and understanding that God made David the way he is for a very specific reason. I know the Bible verse, Psalm 139:14: "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." I have it memorized and ironically it is the verse that I wrote on the first page of David's scrapbook long before I knew of any allergy. It is sometimes hard to accept that this may be to bring God glory because my earthly mind wants to figure out what caused this.

I hate when people stare at him in the store or ask me what happened to his face like he is not even there. He is there and he understands everything they say. He buries his head and hides his face. He hears me constantly explaining that he has food allergies. He knows he is different and when he meets a new friend he asks me if that person has allergies too. It's like he wants to meet someone like him. One day he told me that he doesn't like allergies because he just wants to eat the food. Every time we go to a party or bbq I have to tell him over and over that he can't have this or that because he is allergic. He looks at me and I know what he is thinking but no one else does. I can read his expression. Why does everyone else get pizza, cake or ice cream and I don't. I try to make special treats for him but sometimes you just want to be like everyone else.

Sending him to preschool has been a new experience for me. I am used to being able to monitor everything he eats and make sure that he is okay. I talked with the administrator and explained the allergies. I went to the kitchen to show him what David could and could not have. The first day of school David comes home and says, "all the kids got a sandwich (bagel) and I got an apple so I threw it away." He likes apples but not when everyone else has a bagel. The second day I drop him off and about 10 I get a phone call.
"Can David have Honey Nut Cheerios?"

I was thinking, are you kidding me the word nut is in the title but I was polite. "No, and if the other kids are eating them can you have them wash their hands before they touch him."

"Terri, David actually ate some but we washed his hands and are monitoring him."

I sat in my van scared to death waiting for a phone call to say that they needed to use the epi pen. Thankfully that wasn't the case.

David came home from school and told me, "all the kids ate cereal for a snack and I had to eat my water."

The third day he goes to school and when I pick him up he is rather excited and then tells me that he got to have applesauce just like all the other kids. Everyone thinks it doesn't bother him but I know it does.

It bothers me. That is me being transparent. There are times, a lot of times, when I just have to sit down and cry. I look at my son covered in a rash and constantly itching thinking, "why?" He takes a bath and often screams because the water on his skin hurts and I have tears in my eyes. He gets out and is covered in cream so we can try to heal the sores but they never go away. They get better but he never has smooth skin. I have heard people say he looks ill or like a cancer patient. My heart hurts.

Although my heart hurts, deep in my soul I know that God has a plan for this little boy. He may look sick but he never acts sick. He has more energy than I could dream about. He laughs so hard that I laugh listening to him. He always wants to snuggle with me when he wakes up in the morning. He loves Jesus and prays for his friends every night. He has forced our family to change in positive ways. Although my heart hurts I know that this is for His glory and that David was fearfully and wonderfully made.

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