Of course, bemused parents of older kids tell me that ‘unconditional love’ does not last but for now I am basking in the feeling 🙂 So, this blog post is dedicated to the love and meaning of my life, my son, Arjun…
It has been a long and at times a tough journey but also an adventurous and joyful one. We have come a looooong way from a diet based almost entirely on rice and Infant Neocate (hypoallergenic infant formula) to this day when he can have a few of the top 8 food allergens. Now, he can eat wheat, some varieties of fish and even items containing a small quantity of dairy or eggs – yippee! This is in addition to him being able to have a lot of other foods too, which he was unable to have as a 1 year old…almost all fruits and vegetables, a variety of lentils and so much more. Of course, he has to strictly avoid peanuts, tree nuts, shell fish and soy in addition to sesame and garbanzo beans.
Beyond this, I have learnt some valuable life lessons:
– Appreciate the small joys one often takes for granted…a slice of white bread was just that for me till my son could not have a bite of it. Oh the sheer joy and new found respect for even the simplest food when he could have his first bite of that mundane slice 🙂
– Eating healthy, wholesome foods consciously…fat chance of me knowing what teff, qunioa, buckwheat, red millet, sorghum et al were if I had not been forced to seek nutritious and flavorful alternatives!! Dealing with multiple food allergies has motivated me to make food fun and tasty even when not made with the usual ingredients. As a much admired friend and the force behind ‘Pure’ gluten-free, egg-free, peanut- free, dairy-free, soy-free cookies says, ‘my children love their food as though their diets are a privilege and not a necesity’.
This special day reminds me of some of his favorite ‘made by mommy’ dishes (all but one of the recipes have featured in previous blog posts):
2) Allergy Friendly cheese quesadillas: Oh yes – you can make it dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free! Thanks to Brown rice Tortillas from Food For Life , Vegan Soy-free cheese from Daiya, black beans, grilled chicken and a side of finely shredded lettuce…my little one will even make me a cup of tea or load the dishwasher the day he gets this special treat 😀
Yes – my little one has multiple food allergies and a few other health challenges but he is a survivor and as full of life as any other 6 year old – loves kick ball, rock music, guitar, T-ball, dinosaurs, cars, monster trucks, sand box, running around aimlessely and of course whining 😀
We have come a long way but we still have a long way to go and am often reminded of Robert Frost’s haunting words:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.