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It is funny how God takes us on bends and twists as we move along the path of life. For so many years we have focused so much on avoiding food allergies and, now, it is hard to believe that, when things become routine, we are faced with a new challenge. As we rejoice at the simple pleasures a potato (once an allergen) can bring to the life of a child, we turn to realize that we have yet another challenge to overcome. Our angel is severely farsighted. How could we have missed this? Weren't we paying attention?
In a recent vision screening at school, differences were noted in our angels vision. We, the teachers, the grandparents and just about everyone who knows our angel, were shocked. No one had never noticed any of the typical symptoms that accompany vision impairments - clumsiness, headaches, squinting, favoring one eye over the other. However, after seeing a specialist, the diagnosis was confirmed ... our angel is farsighted. In fact, severely farsighted in both eyes. And, although it was never said outright, I got the strong impression that if we had not caught this, our angel would have lost sight altogether.
Now, we find ourselves treading upon new ground. Eyeglasses, eyedrops, patches.... these things are all new to us. And, most interestingly, our angel's allergies are taking a back seat while we adjust to this new challenge.
We have shed lots of tears and found creative ways to encourage new behaviors. We are taking on new challenges and adjusting the family budget as we face new realities. But, most of all, we are thanking the amazing teachers and child advocates who make early vision screening readily available to parents. We are thankful to doctors and nurses who patiently attend to concerned and confused parents and children. Without the wisdom of these people and the early intervention that they offer, we may have faced a very different reality further down the road.
So, while this week is national Food Allergy Awareness Week and the nation is taking a moment to recognize the impact food allergies have upon individuals and society, those in my house are taking a moment to realize that food allergies are one part of a whole individual. They are just one of the challenges that people face daily. We are each shaped, not by the challenges that we face, but how we face those challenges, whether that be food allergies or farsightedness. We are changed by our attitude toward all that is part of our life.
This week, lets take a moment to think about the challenges we are facing. Are you confronting an eating disorder? obesity? Perhaps you struggle with a weak knee or just a bad attitude. Whatever your challenge, face it with strength and understanding. As for those around you, remember that you have never walked in their shoes. Be patient; be kind. Treat each other with the type of love that we wish to receive rather than that which we often give. Tolerate so we may be tolerated and forgive so we may be forgiven. And most of all, be thankful that we may also be thanked.
Thank you to all of you who have supported this blog, my challenges and the insight that both have given me. My dear angel, this blog is for you so that you may one day understand.