Good morning! I don’t want to blow your mind with back to back posts after averaging two per month for the last few months, but it’s spring break and I’m still up before seven. With no lunches to make, no bus stops to walk to, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles playing in the background, I have found precious blogging time.
Even with all this glorious, unstructured free time, I am tired, today. Last night, First Son was invited to a birthday party that lasted to the wee time of 9:30, way past my witching hour. While he was partaking in a spirited battle of capture the flag, I was envisioning myself in bed, indulging in my guilty pleasure of Kardashian entertainment.
Watching from the sidelines, with few people to chat with, last night’s party felt more like five hours than the three that it really was, not that I had to stay. In fact, I was given a free pass and perhaps a hint, when the parent of the birthday child said, “You don’t have to stay,” a trend that seems to be growing in the third grade party circuit.
I replied that maybe I would leave, but really, I knew I wouldn’t. He was safe, in a contained area, with people I trusted, and I trust him. BUT, and it’s a big BUT, just because he’s older, hasn’t changed the fact that he still has food allergies.
I know other parents of food allergic kids, who leave easily, sans epi-pen, telling me that their child knows what he can and cannot have. Maybe that’s true, but I don’t expect my nine year old to make life and death decisions for himself.
This is not to say that I’ve never left him alone, because I have, plenty of times, on play dates and at after school activities. I might have even left him at a party if we still lived in our old town, because the parents and children we had come to know, looked out for my son. Something I knew and really considered, before uprooting my children, to move five miles away into a better school district. But, even in all those circumstances, I’ve always left behind an epi-pen, after I’ve had a thorough discussion with parents and care givers about what my son can and cannot eat.
A party, though, is not a play date, and I barely know my son’s friends let alone their parents. So, I have a hard time handing over my son’s epi-pen to a mother, who is in charge of twenty plus boys, with the instructions to watch MY son, while enjoying her own son’s birthday party. To me, it’s an inappropriate time to burden someone else. Because that’s what food allergies are, they are a burden, for the person who has them, as well as the parent who cares for the child who has them.
I will never get over the indignation that I feel over the fact that something as simple as a pecan could kill my son. Frankly, it pisses me off just as much as it scares me. But, whatever I feel about it is irrelevant, because it is our reality.
All that being said, I think the time is nearing for me to bow out, to either sit in my car, or return when the food is being served, if for no other reason than to take those first unnerving, tiny steps of putting my son in charge of his own health. After all, that is my job, to raise my children to one day live independently, and for one of my children, that means learning how to manage his food allergies.