Family and Food Allergy: The Need For and Creation of Calm

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All relationships benefit from times of calm when the business of living, including the practicalities of managing a food allergy, can be temporarily set aside.

Periods of calm create an affirming space where life is lived, and communication occurs, only from the inside out. The externals that require so much of our attention are silenced, allowing us to focus on the unique frequency within our self and others, particularly our children.

What Matters

We need breaks from our repetitive daily tasks, and respites from electronic notifications and media mayhem until there is nothing left to hear but the voice of those we care about, and the whisperings of our own heart.

We thrive when work, school and extracurricular expectations are provisionally forgotten. What matters then is presence, our being there together; it reminds us that to make someone feel special, we only need to enjoy their company.

Naturally, no amount of tranquility changes the difficulty of living with a severe peanut, tree nut, or other food allergy. However, calm times can alleviate some of the anxiety and frustration allergy families experience, and may provide a safe opportunity for adults and kids to share their feelings.

Varieties of Calm

Fortunately, even in our fast paced world, making time for calm is not too difficult since it can be enjoyed minutes or hours at a time, and comes in a variety of forms:

  • Car time can be calm time, a chance to explain something important to a child, to have conversation, or share silly jokes.
  • Play time - shooting hoops, playing catch, or board games, riding bikes - can be some of the choicest calm times, since play inspires spontaneity and expression.
  • Taking a walk, or spending time in nature is calming for mind, body, and spirit, and often encourages heartfelt sharing or conversation.
  • If there’s not too much grumbling, shared family tasks such as raking the leaves or cleaning out the garage can be turned into a playful calm time.
  • Cooking together, enjoying a meal together, or putting a puzzle together are all opportunities for turning down the world’s volume to hear our self and each other.
  • People pursuing their separate personal interests within a shared space (e.g., family room, den) can create a supportive calm that may be mostly silent, or punctuated by comment and conversation.

While the presence of food allergy makes carrying commercial wipes, reading food labels, and worrying about restaurant fare external realities, we need times when these actualities fade to the periphery of our awareness. Then, we are free to touch the essence of those we work so hard to protect.

“You cannot wait for an untroubled world to have an untroubled moment.” ~ Lemony Snicket

Inspired by: Empowering Parents Photo credit: Nature’sAura - C.McKee

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