Ebb and Flow and Food Allergies


Ahh, the ebb and flow of life.

Specifically, today, the life with a child with severe food allergies.

This morning when I took the littles to our first stop on the OutandAbouts for the day, where they have been learning good things all week, I saw the little girl who had enjoyed watching my yarn as I crocheted yesterday.  She and her twin brother, not quite two yet, were both snacking on crackers that I noticed right away.

Whether due to my hypervigilant state when folks are eating in public or because those things practically glow in the dark–likely it was both–I saw they were eating those peanut butter cheese crackers.

Trying to be subtle, I immediately redirected the path of my crew to avoid the eating area and little hands that might reach out and touch us or our things and moved them to where they needed to be in line.  Once they were settled in, Aub and I took our things and went over to another area to sit.

Where the Mama and her twins soon joined us.  *sigh*  I wish I could come up with a nice way to say, “Hey, we’re allergic, that stuff could kill one of us, could you please avoid touching us or hey, since Anxiety Girl decided to tag along today, just avoid our general area, okay?”

But I haven’t yet.

So I just sat uncomfortably avoiding eye contact with the sweet little girl, whose crumb encrusted hands were reaching to get around the stroller her mom had placed strategically to block her into a small area.  Yesterday we’d had such a nice interaction–she and I.  She pointed at my yarn, and I said, “Yarn.”  She pointed at her little jelly-like sandals and said, “Shoooo.”  It was great.  And sweet.

But today, because of those contaminated (yes strong word, just how it feels to me) hands, I couldn’t take a chance that she’d touch my pants or our bag or Princess’ things and then I wouldn’t know how to keep my girl safe.

Because that is what it all boils down to.  Doing WHATEVER and ALL that it takes to keep her safe.

We got through the morning with no mishaps or accidental exposure.  The only casualty was my heart and feelings and anxieties with being torn between not wanting to hurt someone else’s feelings and keeping my child protected from potential harm.

One day I’ll learn how to better handle things like this.

*sigh* And people wonder why I just want to stay home.

Then there was the positive for the day.  Total reversal of where the day was heading. One of the BEST THINGS EVER.  One of our own wrote me that she’d found a No-Nut Butter at the Big store.  It’s made by Sneaky Chef.  She had tasted it and thought it was pretty good.  So the next stop on our OutandAbouts was the Big store to see what I could find.  And sure enough, there it was.  (Well, after I called her to ask where it was.  Of course I found it before she could even get the words out to tell me.  Always the way.)  I was giddy with anticipation.  I know that makes for a silly picture–me checking out of the store, practically bouncing, unable to get home quickly enough to open up the jar and try some.  But there it was.  This is the life I lead.

Because we have NOTHING to replace peanut butter.  We’ve tried other butters, but eventually they were all ruled out as being okay for her.  The only thing that we’ve been okay with is Biscoff spread–fondly known as “cookie butter” around here–and let’s face it, not really a nutritious choice.

No-Nut Butter.  Two words.  Yay-licious!
No-Nut Butter. Two words. Yay-licious!

But No-Nut Butter?  Sneaky Chef, my hat’s off to you.  You ROCK.  This is safe for my child.  Not only that, we all LOVE it.  Aub even wants to make her favorite peanut butter dessert using this as a substitute.


Joy, fear, anticipation, anxiety, hard times, good times.  It’s all in there together, isn’t it?  No matter what your family is dealing with–the ebb and flow of life.  It’s there.  Always.  The key, I guess. is to be patient when things seem way too dry or feel like they’re pulling us under.  Just hang in there.  Life is ever-changing, not static.

I was reminded of this in these words of Ann Lamott from “Help, Thanks, Wow:”

“Most of us figure out by a certain age—some of us later than others—that life unspools in cycles, some lovely, some painful, but in no pre­dictable order. So you could have lovely, painful, and painful again, which I think we all agree is not at all fair. You don’t have to like it, and you are always welcome to file a brief with the Com­plaints Department. But if you’ve been around for a while, you know that much of the time, if you are patient and are paying attention, you will see that God will restore what the locusts have taken away.”

I have had my days that I have doubted this, but this came full circle for me today.

And I am thankful for that.  Thankful for a new day, a fresh start, and clean hands again on another day, so maybe my little friend and I can visit again.  And maybe the opportunity will present itself and the words will come so I can explain my anxiety to her mother.  I give thanks for family who look after me and mine and love us enough to share their thoughts–my Aunt and my Cousin, I’m especially grateful for tonight.  When folks care enough to get in your chili, even about what you are eating (chili or not)…..that’s a precious gift.  And I don’t take it lightly.

May the ebb and flow of your life leave you feeling refreshed today.

Love to all.




6 thoughts on “Ebb and Flow and Food Allergies”

  1. I think you should have stated to the mother exactly what you said here, perhaps with a preface of something like, “I am not trying to be rude, but my daughter is allergic to nuts and ………” If the mother gets offended by that then, oh well, you tried. Perhaps she needed the education – maybe she’s been living under a rock and has never heard of nut allergies (gasp!).I know (knowing you as I do) it would have been uncomfortable, but as you say in the post – it’s all about saving a life. Not trying to take you to task, Tara, just helping to build your confidence for the next time. Love you and miss y’all. Perhaps one of your next excursions (or OutandAbouts) could be up this way. I can scout the area for a safe place to meet. Anna and I love doing recon!

    1. Nancy, you’re exactly right. There was a way to do it, but for some reason (tired, worried over upcoming trip, I don’t know) the way evaded me. I am working on it for next time. I did speak up and do more to advocate for her on our big trip, so that felt like a step in the right direction. We miss you, so we will have to have an OutandAbout lead us up your way. Or if you’re down this way…..thank you for loving us and sharing your encouragement.

  2. We have known about my son’s allergies for about a year and a half now. I have, on MANY occasions, asked parents to keep their kids away, sit down to eat instead of run around, wash their hands before letting them play with my son.. I’ve done it all. I have never had a parent question me or what I’m asking. I just remember to be extremely polite because I never thought twice about food before my son’s allergies so I know they aren’t intentionally putting my son at risk. Situations like this give us the opportunity to spread awareness and education. Check out my blog at http://nutfreelife.wordpress.com to read more stories about our journey with food allergies!

    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. You are absolutely right about spreading awareness. And no, I never thought twice about it before our Princess was diagnosed about eight years ago. I can’t really say why I felt so overwhelmed in that moment and not empowered to say something. I was facing our first long trip away from home and fears over that as well, so maybe all of that was a part of it. I really appreciate your saying hello. I am following you now and look forward to reading your posts. Thank you.

      1. The first time I realized another child was eating a peanut butter cookie near my child I grabbed him, tucked him under my arms, and ran out of the book store, leaving the stroller (with all of his medication I would need if he was having a reaction) for my mom to get. It’s not easy to say something, especially when you don’t know what type of reaction you’ll get, but it’s all part of the journey.

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