Being a food allergy Mama has not only made me a better parent, it’s made me a better person.
Don’t misunderstand the intent of this statement. I am quite flawed, and there about a million things I’d like to change about myself. So please don’t take that as me patting myself on the back. Sometimes life experiences just open your awareness eyes, and empathy is the beautiful result.
Empathy can be tough. Especially for grown ups…Why is that? Maybe it’s because we as adults are juggling so much and tainted by our own life experiences. Maybe that’s what makes it difficult for us to step outside of ourselves and be compassionate towards one another. I don’t think this means we don’t genuinely care about those around us, rather we just get unintentionally caught up in our own lives.
As a Mama managing multiple food allergies under one roof, it’s easy for me to settle into my own little bubble of comfort. I put on a pair of lenses that is unique to my family, and that is the perspective from which I see things around me. When Harley and Eleanor both received their diagnosis, I was thrown a new pair of glasses. And I’ve never looked at the world in quite the same way since.
I’ve learned that we all don’t know, what we don’t know….until we know.
When my son is sad because he just wants to be like everyone else (which is rare, but it happens), I try to recognize and remember that there are others who feel the same way he does for different reasons.
When I have to ask a teacher or friend or family member to go out of their way to help one of my children be included, it makes me aware of others who are overlooked or left out and also longing to feel a part of things.
When someone out of thoughtfulness asks me a question to better understand my child, in particular, how to cook for my child, my heart truly swells. Then I in turn desire to learn more about the challenges other families face.
I know the guts it sometimes takes to advocate for your child, and it has made me more willing than ever to support other Mamas who are also speaking up for their children.
Being food allergy Mama has made me more appreciative for what we have. The juggling I do to manage it all is NOTHING compared to what so many families have to contend with every day. Perspective.
Seeing our children struggle in any capacity is heart wrenching. But I don’t regret the way my two babies challenges have opened my eyes and my heart. I am confident the Lord knew this was part of their and my journey. His way of molding me into the christian He wants and needs for me to be. Not to say this is the sole reason he created my children this way. As I often tell my son, God creates us all just the way he wants us.
I’m just thankful. I’m definitely human, and have had far too many moments of self pity. But despite the bumps, bruises, and frustrations, the good Lord knew this was all was meant to give me the precious gift of empathy. And I just can’t feel sorry for that.