I wouldn’t have believed you if you had said all of these things would happen in 6 months: Gavin would go from seemingly 100% healthy to allergic to the world, that I would have to call an ambulance due to an allergic reaction, that I would have to crawl over a minivan’s backseat to prop him up during an attack while Kyle was driving down the interstate, that I would be projectile puked on 4 times, and that finally, two of the people who are the most important to me would pass away – I would have laughed. How do you have all of that happen at once?
First. Gavin literally never had so much as a cold his entire first year of life. Chalk that up to breast milk and organic baby food? Good luck? Who knows. He was literally off the charts. The day after his first birthday, I decided to scramble up some eggs for him to try for breakfast. He immediately blew up like a pumpkin, had labored breaths, hives everywhere. After putting him in the bath to get the residue off of him, we headed to the pediatrician. Long story short, they were closed. That’s when projectile puke number 1 happened and the breathing got worse. That’s when an ambulance was called….and a fire truck. In theory, that was probably awesome for him to see. In reality, I was truly terrified. Turns out Gavin is highly allergic to eggs. He now is a proud member of the epi-pin carrying club.
We started noticing hives a lot more than normal after that. Took him to Disney (whichwas awesome) and stopped to have a yummy vacation dinner at an Italian restaurant. Gave him some ravioli to try. The same reaction. Got in the car, started heading to the hotel and that’s when the puke started again. Cue incident #2: Kyle pulling to the side of the interstate while I run to his car seat to keep him from asphyxiating. Turns out the ravioli had an egg wash. Who knew.
At this point we are referred to an allergist. They do the skin test on his back. Literally ever single dot had a reaction except for hazelnut (YAY NUTELLA!). So at that point we know he has a sensitivity or full blown allergy to everything from nuts to eggs to shellfish. Awesome! Needless to say his appetite started to diminish probably because I was afraid to cook him anything with a flavor to it.
Fast forward to his entire body breaking out into a rash. No one could figure it out. They sent him to the children’s hospital for testing. (Which is more of a test on parents than kids I think. NO one and I mean NO one should have to watch their kid cry during blood sampling. It took years off of my life.) The big test comes back and yes he is highly allergic to eggs. Tiny bit of an allergy to nuts and milk – but not enough to cause an alarm. Oh guess what else he is highly allergic to? Dogs. Holy crap what about Piper?? No dog can be truly hypoallergenic, but Piper comes pretty dang close. He has to have more baths than usual and can’t go into where Gavin sleeps, but other than that they seem to coexist peacefully for now.
So, in a way it’s a relief. We know exactly what to avoid and we know what to do when he does have a reaction. Like he did last night at 1am…all over me. That’s nothing compared to the time he puked all over my shirt, into my pants. You have not LIVED until you have swamp butt from someone else’s puke. (You are probably grossed out. Tough luck. You didn’t have puke in your pants.)
Second. I think my family and I are still grieving the loss of my grandparents. My beloved Nanny passed away in early September and my Granddaddy Hammet passed away in early November.
Nanny and I had a special bond. We spent almost every day together growing up. My Granddaddy Smith and her would pick me up after school and we would work on homework and eat Nutty Buddies and drink Bright and Early orange juice together. Nanny was a weird one and Lord knows she said what she thought at all times (she was born without a filter), but to me – that’s what made her so much fun. We spent a majority of holidays together and I could always count on her to call me once a week to catch up. She made the most amazing food which I later found out had a lot of Crisco in it. People cook with Crisco still? Anyway, I always say she is the mighty Oak from when this little acorn fell. She is the tall tree of weird that many of the Smith quirks come from. Every member of our family has a “can you believe Nanny said…” story. Which is awesome. I still miss her everyday. When she passed away I couldn’t sleep at night because I felt like she was there. On the day of her funeral, I decided to write something to say during the service. Before she passed away, I had given her a journal to write her life story. She has a crazy story. She gave it back a year later filled to the margins with stories and letters to me and prayers to Jesus. Saying that eulogy out loud was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I did it for her. I hope she would have been proud. I miss her.
Granddaddy Hammet was a legend of a man. I mean that truly. A LEGEND. He worked for decades as a SLED agent bringing in bad guys from arsonists to serial killers. You could imagine, that would mean he had an arsenal of stories. Oh, and he did. And he loved to tell them. He and Kyle used to love to share stories of their court experiences. When Kyle would have a big case go through, he often called my Granddaddy to tell him about it and Granddaddy would tell him how proud he was of him and how “I guess we’ll keep you around, Carl (he never called him Kyle). You are part of the Hammet clan.” For our wedding, he “passed the torch” and made Kyle a rolling pin with Granddaddy’s title and rank as a way of metaphorically, rolling out justice. Kyle proudly has that at his office. Granddaddy cooked almost weekly for the volunteer firemen in his hometown. Chicken bog was his specialty. And fish stew. They loved it and he loved being with the guys and telling stories. On the day of his funeral, those firemen were his pallbearers and every street leading the processional blocked traffic by a firetruck with their lights on and hands over their hearts. It was breathtaking. What a legend of a man to receive such a tribute. His “gators” as he called my mom and her sisters, were beyond proud to call him daddy and he loved those girls more than anything in the entire world. I miss him.
It’s been 6 months of gaining fortitude for sure, but also for giving thanks for those anchors in my life who have left us but shaped me, for doctors who continue to try and make a little boy better and for family and friends who have been so kind.
I love you all.