I think we handle our allergy situation well. We do lots of cooking and label reading and we are careful to monitor all of Bee's surroundings for allergens. We've accepted our differences and moved on, with the focus of keeping her safe.
But there are still some days when I have a down day. Those are the days when I feel depressed about all of our differences. I look at Bee's future and know that she'll have to be vigilant every single day of her life. She'll have to constantly let others know about her special needs and there won't be a day that goes by that she can forget and just dive right in to a normal life. The limitations can be depressing.
Then I start to feel overwhelmed as I wonder how we're going to continue our allergy free life day in and day out. Did I call that restaurant? Did I read that label? Did I double check that recipe? Do we have our doctor's appointments scheduled? Are we ready for more allergy tests? Yes, it's so overwhelming to plan ahead for every meal and every outing and to question, question, question. I have lists and I read labels and I scour the internet for safe recipes. And sometimes it gets so very old and I just feel like I don't know where to begin even now.
At that point, I feel stressed. I worry and allow fear to take over. On those days, I don't want to go anywhere or be around anyone or even think about eating out again. I don't feel like I can read another label and the stress keeps me from thinking straight. Sometimes I can't even recall Bee's extensive allergy list and I feel panicked and worried that I'm forgetting something or missing something. I feel sure I've overlooked something important.
As all those feelings hit, I feel such a sadness that we can't be carefree and enjoy life without all the worry and planning. I remember when we used to head to restaurants as a family or take short trips without worrying about ice chests full of specialty foods. I remember going to birthday parties without a single thought. Simple things like going out for ice cream or enjoying a picnic at the park or a playdate at a friend's house used to be so easy. I didn't have to be hyper vigilant. I miss those days. I feel such a sadness that I have to view everything as a potential danger and I have to spend so much time planning ahead and educating everyone about Bee's allergies.
So, even though we've been doing this for several years now, it doesn't always feel like it has gotten easier. Some days it's just hard to process the changes we've made and it's difficult to keep moving forward. I just want to wish things back to the way they were or have a do-over. This is not what I envisioned for our family.
I don't experience the days of sadness as often as I used to, but they still come. Some days, all the emotions and stress and worry compound, and I feel like I can't continue. I have a feeling that I'll always have days like these.
But when I do start to feel overwhelmed, I just look at Bee and remind myself of how far we've come. Seeing her smile and hearing her giggle as she plays serve as encouragement. She's doing so well and we've learned so much in just a few short years. She's worth all the changes and the sacrifices.
Still, there's just a bit of sadness when I look at her as I wonder what challenges she'll face as she grows and learns to become her own advocate.