Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A snippet of my summer

Summer plans
My daughter, Sage has life-threatening food allergies and will be attending 4 weeks of sleep-over camp in Maine (approximately 1,500 miles from Chicago) this summer.  I am terrified.  How do I make this happen?

Original Plan
I will stay at our friend’s sleep-over camp for boys (20 minutes down the road from Sage’s camp) and will supervise the art program for the 4 weeks while Sage is at camp.  I’m still not sure what I will do with our dog.

Rationalization of Original Plan
My only motivation for staying at our friends camp 20 minutes from where Sage will be this summer, is to be close by, in case of an emergency (ICE).  It is not my desire to spend my summer at a sleep-over camp for boys.  Besides, what would I do with our dog for 4 weeks?

Re-evaluation of Original Plan
Instead of fearing that an emergency situation may occur, ~~ and needing – wanting – and desiring ~ to be near Sage, I NOW know, that I need to release my fear, and know that the fully professional and trained staff and Sage are fully capable of  managing her food allergies.

New plan
The three of us will drive to Maine, visit friends and family along the way.  After dropping Sage off at camp, Josh and I will vacation our way back home.  Once Josh and I arrive back home, I will be very productive for the next 22 days before I fly out to Maine to get Sage. She and I will then vacation for a few days, before returning home ~ together.

Realization of the new plan
This summer will be an amazing growth opportunity for both Sage and me.  She will be exposed to new adventures, will make new connections and friends, and will have an increased sense of independence and confidence.

I will come to realize,
 Sage will be just fine without me, 
being there to manage her food allergies. 

 I will learn to let go ~~~ and trust the process. 
All is good.

Some back ground information

Recently, a good friend asked me what I feared the most.  I responded quickly and decisively with the answer “heights".

It was actually a very honest, yet safe response.  Even though I fear heights, it’s irrelevant to my day to day adventures; I know I will never climb a tall mountain, go bungee jumping or hang gliding, for that matter.  I can easily manage my fear of heights, and do not need to give it space in my head.  Yes, it was an honest answer.

Later that day, the obvious, most honest, and raw sensation caught me off guard, as my thoughts became paralyzed by the intensity of its reality.

As parents, one of our greatest wishes we have for our children is for their well-being and safety.  We want our children to be protected on the play ground, the school bus, walking home from school, riding their bikes, at the mall, and surfing the net, just to name a few. 

For parents of children with life-threatening food allergies, our fear can be endless and expansive when it comes to the safety of our child.  It never fades, it never disappears, there is always a trace of it.  The fear hovers over us like a dark cloud that doesn’t know how to dissipate.

When your child can die from eating the wrong cookie, licking the wrong ice-cream , or sucking on the wrong candy, there is no safety net.  The dark cloud of fear appears during school activities, sleep overs at a friend’s house or even during an innocent kiss.

My daughter is highly allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, beans, seeds, and shellfish.   These are foods that most people eat every single day without fearing a threat to their lives.

I’m not going to tell you how often the fear lodges so deep in my throat making me unable to swallow the knot.

Instead, I want to tell you that I am learning to “let go” and trust in the process.

I’m not going to tell you how many school field-trips, class parties, PTO functions I’ve chaperoned so that I could shield my daughter from the particles of foods that may come her way and cause her harm.

Instead, I want to tell you that I am learning to “let go” and trust in the process.

I’m not going to tell you that I have been keeping count of the 85 meals she will be eating at camp when I am not there to supervise.  Or counting the hours when they return back to camp from outside activities.

Instead, I want to tell you that I am learning to “let go” and trust in the process.

I’m not going to tell you that instead of preparing talks about “safe sex” issues, I am preparing my daughter to know what to say to the boy who may have eaten a Snicker’s bar before kissing her, so that she can avoid an allergic reaction.

Instead, I want you to know that I am learning to “let go” and trust in the process.

I don’t want to tell you how my fearful thoughts invade my dreams at night, or how the reality creeps into my day as I anticipate news that something horrible may happen.

Instead, I want to tell you that Sage is loving her camp experience. She is becoming more and more empowered, independent, confident, and an awesome advocate for herself while managing her food allergies.

I want you to tell you,
  this summer has been an amazing experience 
and has allowed me to “let go and trust the process”, 
so that my daughter can
 spread her wings even wider
 and soar so much higher.

I head to Maine to this week
 to vacation with my girl for a few days 
before we head back to Chicago.


  1. Eydie...this was so deeply touching.

    I don't even want to allow myself to imagine how terrifying this could be. Instead I will focus on your courage, on Sage's courage, on the trusting and letting go part.

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I hold it sacred.

    With love,


    P.S: I love this artwork--so alive and full of color.

  2. Eydie! I loved hearing this story. As a mom whose youngest daughter moved alone to New York City straight from college, I understand in some small way the feeling of constant worry. I also am learning to let go and trust the process. Difficult but important lessons for both moms and daughters! I have a feeling this will be a very special and positive summer for both you and Sage.

  3. Beautiful post, Eydie. This is such an important lesson for parents. Even though my children don't have any life-threatening conditions like your daughter's, they make choices I don't always understand or agree with, and my job is to let go of the outcome and let them learn from the consequences of their decisions. Sometimes they crash and burn but sometimes they blossom - either way, it's about THEM, not ME. Thank you for sharing your experiences - and the beautiful artwork!

  4. Eydie, this touched my heart so deeply. Letting go and trusting...

    Thank you for sharing your courage here. So much love. xoxo

  5. good for you -- what courage you have! so beautifully told!

  6. What a wonderful and inspirational post! Good for you! You are brave!, indeed!


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