Sunday was less jovial than the previous days. Daddy had to bid us all farewell and return home. His vacation days are limited, so he flies home for a few weeks while the rest of us enjoy the coast for a little longer (and taunt him with pictures of cool water and sunny beaches!) until he flies back to drive us home.

We drove to the airport with him and enjoyed a leisurely lunch at a cafe overlooking the runways before following him the Security check-point where we waved goodbye. It’s always sad to be apart, but in the end, my always self-less husband would rather us take a fun vacation without him than be cooped up at home with nothing to do while he gets a new youth soccer season up and running. By the time we come home from vacation, the hard work will be done, and all we have to do is jump into a new practice schedule. …I say “all” a little tongue-in-cheek because it’s not exactly that simple ; ) That’s when I am back in full-time-mom mode, juggling school, soccer, meals, and keeping the house running like clockwork–Ha! If only… 😉

BUT, vacation is not the time to dwell on normal-life craziness! Back to our Sunday…

We left the airport and headed to the center of the city to run an errand before going back to our temporary home. It should have been a quick, easy errand to pick up a few groceries, but I had a brief moment of trust at the restaurant that resulted in my sweet girl having a food-sensitivity reaction in the middle of the grocery store. No, not a life-threatening anaphylactic shock kind of reaction, thank goodness, but a neurological reaction resulting in uncontrollable hyperactivity. I’m talking twirling and waving her arms around irregardless of the people around her, making exaggerated and uncontrolled facial contortions while cackling crazily and talking nonsense at the top of her lungs. I was near tears as I tried to navigate the crowded, unfamiliar store while dealing with a food-additive-possessed child. All I wanted was to go back in time and beg the waiter to leave her French Fries unseasoned!

I’m sure there are people who think I’m exaggerating or overly-paranoid when I start knit-picking my daughter’s food, but most people are usually not privy to the scene that happens thirty minutes later when I don’t knit-pick. Well, now here it was, on display for an entire grocery store. All I could do was try to finish my shopping as quickly as possible and get home so I could give her a therapeutic dose of B-Complex and magnesium to rebalance her system.

I’ll spare you the details of the remaining hours of the day only to say that supper was a trial, Grandma and Grandpa were more than a little shocked and speechless at the obvious change in their usually introverted and agreeable granddaughter, and a quiet walk to the swings turned into a complete defiant meltdown. Back at the house, an emotional little girl drew me a picture of a girl with a sad face in an attempt to communicate how she was feeling inside. She burst into tears as she laid it on my lap. All I could do was cry, helpless.

We sat together for almost an hour, crying and talking about how she was feeling and how certain things in foods affect her behavior and emotions. I know. I also struggle with reactions to food additives. It’s hard to see my daughter go through the cycle of crazy-hyper, socially wired, defiant, and finally emotionally spent to the point of unstoppable tears. I don’t know why she is sensitive while my other children seem to be fine. I replay my pregnancy with her wondering what I might have done or eaten to make her more sensitive. I ask myself what I could have done differently to spare her these intense reactions. The honest truth is, I DON’T know, and I can’t change anything from the past. All I can do now is be vigilant, help her recognize her sensitivities and learn which foods and situations affect her, and teach her how to take care of herself through it so she can come out on the other side of the cycle still-healthy and smiling.

As we were wiping our tears, my oldest son snuck in and slipped a piece of paper to us. It was the picture of the sad girl but he had drawn a very bold smile over the thin down-turned mouth. I love that about my son; he may be easily-distracted and not one for sharing his own feelings, but when someone has a need, he SEES it and is the first to offer help and comfort, especially if that someone is one of his siblings.

We smiled at the picture and knew it was time to turn our tears into happy smiles. It had been a rough, emotionally-charged afternoon, but we emerged from it, stronger, calmer, and with a renewed determination to be watchful even if it means saying NO to something everyone else is enjoying. The aftermath is not worth it. I am glad she understands that and also knows that her mommy is right there with her. I love you, Sweet Girl!

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