Friday, July 20, 2012

Parenting is a Heartbreak

Our Exhausted Boy.

There are so many reasons I feared becoming a parent.  I put it off for years, ultimately, because I just didn't think I wanted to face the heartbreak that parenting can be . . . that feeling of always wearing your heart outside of your body because you have so much love for this being you call your child.  It's part of the package and I knew that from the get-go.

Taking the plunge has been life-changing in the best of ways, but there is no lack of those heartbreaking moments I so feared.  Yesterday Beansprout had a peanut challenge at the Allergy Clinic at Children's Hospital.  Neither Matt nor I have serious allergies, so I wasn't at all worried a few years back when we first introduced Beansprout to peanut butter.  To my great surprise however, he had an immediate reaction.  I have to pause for a minute and admit right now that I was one of those people who could never really understand this whole peanut allergy phenomenon.  It did not seem nearly so prevalent when I was a child and I half thought it was due to over-functioning, paranoid, helicopter parents.  I guess the joke's on me.  When we gave peanut butter to him for the first time, Beansprout's lips swelled within the first minute and he vomited twice before we got out of the driveway with our Care Card in hand.  His belly was covered in hives by the time we got to the hospital, which was within 5 minutes  (We live quite close to a hospital!) of his eating the tiniest sliver of it!   Lucky for us, a shot of Benadryl was all that was necessary, but I now completely understand the hyper-vigilance of families with food allergies.  

Fast forward to November of this last year when the dreaded prick test and blood work done at our initial visit with the Allergy Clinic showed only a mild reaction to the food.  Some kids outgrow their nut allergies, so based on the low numbers with the blood work we scheduled an in-office peanut challenge.  I guess science isn't always exact.  Yesterday, Beansprout spent three hours trying a little more Reese's Peanut Buttercup every fifteen minutes, but in the last five minutes of the challenge he vomited all over the Clinic hallway.  Heart. Break.

It's one of thousands, I know.  We have countless heartbreaking moments ahead of us, but that doesn't make it easier.