Putting him to bed he asked me so sweetly if it was always going to be this way, if a “little smudge” of gluten would always make him this sick. Unfortunately, the answer is probably “yes – and it may get worse.”
What seems so obvious now was not always so obvious. In my worst moments, I can’t help but beat myself up for not figuring it out before it became a crisis complete with surgery and a hospital stay. I wonder what was going on in my head. I had him allergy tested. I took him to doctors. I asked questions. But I accepted the “answers” given to me when I knew in my heart they weren’t quite right. I didn’t insist on every test known to modern and alternative medicine. I blamed my kid for having a bad attitude when in fact he was very sick. And I didn’t just do this for a week or two. I did this for years, and I let other people do it for years. My son grieves those years, and so do I.
I’d love to wrap this up with a snappy conclusion about accepting our past mistakes. I’d like to say I’ve forgiven myself and know I did my best. It would be nice to jump to the emotional place where I focus on the bright side of all this.
Truthfully I do see the bright side. I could write a book about how fantastic this whole experience has been, all the good that has come out of it. But there are times that self-doubt creeps in. I wonder what I’m missing now that will seem so obvious and so important in the future. Because now I know I can make mistakes – big mistakes – with my children’s health.
In this moment, I’m just another mom who feels like it’s somehow all my fault. I hurt, because my kid hurts. I think this goes with the territory.