Recording this episode was difficult for me. It brought back a lot of memories that I hadn’t thought of in over a decade but I knew I needed to tell my story. Listeners need know that I have been in the food allergy trenches alongside them and that things get much better once you get past the initial adjustment.
As I explain in the recording, Joe has lived with severe food allergies his entire life but he didn’t know the details of all the drama we experienced his first year. The day I started telling him the stories I realized I would rather record his reactions not only to give some comfort of knowing things get better for the newbie allergic parents, but also for my husband and me, so we would have a documented dialogue of Joe hearing these stories for the first time. In my mind, I thought Joe would be so riveted by the tales that he would run over, throw his arms around me and tell me that I am the best mom ever. In all actuality, he responded appropriately for a young teenaged boy, he raised his eyebrows a few times and said nothing. I think he was more interested in catching Pokémon than his mother rehashing ancient memories. Oh well.
One additional not-so-flattering-story that happened during Joe’s first year needs to be documented and labeled, “When Sue Lost her Mind At A Movie Theater.”
Two of our middle school nieces came to visit for several days during the time when Joe was an infant and extremely cranky because of his undiagnosed food allergies. We also had two busy preschoolers, our house was on the market, my husband had already relocated 800 miles away and I was recovering from a C-section – I was close to losing my shizzle. The distraction of fawning adolescents was good for my own family but I felt like it wasn’t turning out to be a fun visit for the girls. I wanted to keep my status as the cool, young aunt so the night before they went home I took them to see the Amanda Bynes movie – What a Girl Wants. (If I’m being honest with myself, I would have gone to see a Rambo movie if it allowed me out of the house without little kids for two whole hours.)
We got our popcorn and soda and settled in to see the acting of Amanda Bynes before she lost her status as a Nickelodeon icon. The movie, as you can suspect, was marginal but due to my altered mental state I was riveted like I was watching Schindler’s List. The three teenaged girls sitting behind us had been talking the entire movie and just as the movie was coming to a climax I had had enough of their distraction. I NEEDED TO KNOW IF AMANDA WAS GOING TO MAKE IT TO THE FATHER – DAUGHTER DANCE!
I turned around, and at the top of my lungs I screamed, “Will you just SHUT UP!” To say this is out of character for me would be an understatement. First, I run from conflict. Second, I have never yelled “shut up” at anyone in my life. And third, I cannot believe I even cared.
The look of pure horror in my nieces’ eyes was terrible. I went from being the cool aunt to being the crazy aunt that every kid talks about when they are telling their best “my family is crazy” story.
So now that I have shared a little too much information I will close by saying to new food allergy parents, it always gets better!