Monday, August 4, 2008

Guest Blogger Kim Martin: Our First Child-Free Vacation

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that Kim Martin is one of my dearest friends, and one of her sons has food allergies and happens to be my son's best friend. Last week, Kim and her husband took a short vacation for the first time without their kids. (The kids thought it was great to have fun 4-day sleepovers with friends. My son thought having a brother for a few days was a blast!) I asked Kim if she'd like to blog about what it was like to spend some quality time with her husband for a change. Enjoy!


This past week I did the unthinkable. For the first time in over ten years, I left my children behind and went on vacation with my neglected husband. We had never left the kids for many reasons (e.g., they would miss us, we would be miss them, and the biggest: who would safely feed our son who is allergic to milk, eggs, nuts, peanuts, seafood, sesame seeds, raw tomato and raw peaches). Now it seemed we had nothing to hold us back. The kids now ten, eight, and six, are old enough to understand that we will be back, we will call and talk to them, and we have amazing friends that understand food allergies and always have forethought about allergies when making decisions for our children. I was out of excuses!

My husband and I began out journey to San Diego at the Salt Lake City airport. We missed breakfast in our frantic attempt to return library books and rented movies before leaving town. We decided that before the flight we should grab a snack from one of the shops in the airport. We shared with each other that even though our son was not with us we needed to choose something nut-free out of respect for those flying with nut allergies. Oh, how our thinking has changed over the years!

We arrived in sunny California and went straight to Seaport Village. We set out for a lunch of seafood and a stroll along the beach with ice cream cones. It felt strange to eat and snack without reading ingredients or packing safe alternatives. We left food allergies behind for four days and three nights. Or did we? Yes, we could eat these foods and not worry about kissing our son and having a reaction, but our daily habits were to remain. We still found that we must wash our hands before touching things. After all, I would be returning home with the purse I carried with me to the restaurant. This had become our life and it’s a nice one. We don’t mind it. We just do it.

My husband and I talked of having “unsafe” food in our hotel room. Before food allergies we both loved nuts and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. We planned to visit the store and stock up on the contraband. I think we both thought we missed it more than we actually did, because we never went to the store. Sometimes we hear people in our life glamorize food and the taste and start to feel like maybe we are missing something. I found when given the choice we didn’t choose it anyway. These talks I give my kids about food and its use in nourishing the body, not to shove it into your body for taste, have found their way into my thinking, too. How interesting.

As a couple we spent our time focusing on each other. We found we weren’t missing anything from our previous life before food allergies (except energy and enough hours in the day).

It’s amazing to me what becomes important in life when faced with obstacles. For us, it’s our marriage, our three children, family, and having such amazing friends. These friends made it possible to go on vacation without even considering food allergies into the equation. Yes, we have had to overcome some big obstacles, but I feel like this is the happiest, luckiest, most amazing time of my life. I couldn’t ask for more.

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