Then I heard Bennet shout, "No, James! No! You'll get sick!" Lydia then called out, "Mom, James was going to eat one of Bennet's french fries!"
James was just being silly, he was teasing Bennet. He stole a fry and held it up to his wide open mouth with a grin on his face. But once Bennet shouted that he would get sick, James returned the fry. I went over to him and saw that he looked worried.
"Did you eat it?"
"No, he just held it near his mouth," the kids all told me. James sat really still.
"James, it'll be okay, we just need to wash your hands. You won't get sick; it was good you didn't eat it. We'll just wash your hands. You're okay."
James whimpered and then looked at me with big, round eyes.
"James, are you scared?"
"YES!" he cried out and started to sob, fat crocodile tears instantly rolling down his cheeks. I picked him up and walked to the living room. He was shaking with fear and crying with fear, and burying his face because he was so afraid. I sat and held him on the sofa, rubbing his back and trying to reassure him that he would be okay.
But I cried too. I cried because stupid McDonald's for some stupid reason puts stupid milk on their stupidly delicious french fries. I cried because my four-year-old boy was being a silly four-year-old boy - just like he should be! - and it could have sent him into anaphylactic shock. I cried because James was brought back to life after being dead for an hour and now I spend every day worrying about him dying because of freaking milk.
The truth is, when James was crying because he was scared - scared of the vomiting and the itchy hives, of another ride in an ambulance, of another EpiPen jab, of another IV with steroids, of another face mask-nebulizer treatment on another ER hostpial bed - I was crying because I am scared.
I am scared of school cafeterias, filled with milk cartons and peanut butter sandwiches.
I am scared of your child's buttery fingers touching my son or a toy he is playing with.
I am scared of him being ostracized by his classmates because his allergies may "ruin their fun."
I am scared of playdates and potlucks and birthday parties.
I am scared that he'll equate someone's not considering him with that person not loving or caring about him.
But mostly I am scared of him dying. Again. And this time forever.
I don't really know what to do about this, and I don't even know why exactly I'm sharing it. Maybe I just need to get it out there; maybe if I talk about my fear it'll help. I guess I am still trying to learn how to live this life.
This is an old picture, but his is what happened when James touched cheese and it's 5 minutes after medication.