I did something I didn't want to do today.
I had my daughter Sam, tested for Celiac Disease.
She came home because of a rash the school nurse hadn't seen before - apparently, on the rarest of occasions, kids who've had the Chicken Pox vaccine will break out in a non-contagious, still super-itchy form of the disease. We do rare diseases really well around here.
I started thinking about the skin problems associated with Celiac on the drive to the doctor's office, and the fact that Sam has been complaining about stomach issues lately, and that several people have asked me recently if I've had her tested. Which I hadn't done. Her doctor felt it wasn't necessary unless we saw vitamin deficiencies or symptoms. So I waited. Until today.
The minute I asked for the test, I felt a dull fear climb up my throat.
The G-Free Foodie in me took over: if she has Celiac, there's no one better to teach her to live with it than me. She'll eat well, she'll learn to cope, she already eats Gluten Free at home, we just have to work on the outside stuff. If she has it, and we find out now, it will save her years of illness & damage to her GI system. We can do this, not a problem. I talk to people every day raising G-Free kiddos, I'm the one that helps them learn how!
But the thing is, I'm her Mommy too. And all I want is for her life to be easy, her childhood to be even better than mine was. And so far, it just hasn't been.
I want the Universe to cut my kid a break, I want the rows to be easier to hoe. I know that every person's path is meant to be, that tough stuff makes us tougher, that parents manage children with Celiac & other (worse even, bless them) diseases every day. I even know where to get the best Gluten Free bread & cupcakes if she needs them.
The overwhelming Mama Bear in my core wants to keep her safe, protected & doesn't want anyone messing with her, Autoimmune systems included. I want her to share cookies in class now, and head out for pizza & beers in college without the constant vigilance that I have to keep. I want her to get her hair cut without reading the ingredients in the salon shampoo for the rest of her life.
But mostly, I want her Happy. If I could find a way to protect her from mourning one more loss, I'd do it in a minute. But I can't, and I know it. I hope her knowing that I would if I could is enough.
When the test comes back, I'll share the results. In the meantime, we're gonna live each day to the fullest, like we always do. And I'm gonna give her some cocoa to stop the itching. Stupid Chicken Pox.
Photo Credit: James Collier, of course