I could’ve killed my boy today.

My head hurts from crying. I feel sick to my stomach.

I could’ve killed my boy today. My sweet 3 year old peanut/tree nut allergic boy.

I gave him Honey NUT O’s cereal. Me. His mother. The person he should feel safest around.

The morning was crazy. Three kids in the morning is crazy. Two that need to get into costumes for a Halloween parade dials the crazy up a bit more. No one wanted to eat the breakfast I was giving them. I grabbed a banana and a handful of O’s and put them in a bowl for him. I walked back into the kitchen. My oldest got up from the table for the millionth time and came into the kitchen. I was busy crabbing at him to get back to his breakfast when he says “Mom? Should Theo be having this? It says Nut on it?”


I look at the box, run to the table and grab the bowl away from him.

I pick up the box and read the ingredients. The second to last ingredient is Natural Almond Flavor.

My chest starts to tighten. What have I done?

I look over at Theo, my husband is sitting with him now, and he’s fine. We stare at him for a few minutes. He’s fine. I turn away from the other kids and tears are streaming down my face, silently. Then my oldest comes over and says “Don’t worry mom, I don’t think he ate any. He’s fine.” A few minutes later my daughter is comforting me, rubbing my back. He’s fine, she checked for me she says.

These kids. They slay me. They look out for each other. They love me even when I mess up in the biggest way possible. These. Kids.

So I know you’re asking yourself – “What the hell was that cereal even doing in your house you stupid, careless, awful mother??”  Well, I bought it. I brought it into the house.

Just the day before with Theo at the grocery store. There we were the two of us looking at the cereals. I remembered we hadn’t had Honey Oaties in a long time. I asked him if he wanted some. “Yes!” he squeals. I reach for the cereal brand we usually get and turn it to the side. I scan down to the bottom of the ingredients for the bold Allergens: statement. It says wheat.

(Which begs the question why wasn’t nut listed in allergens? Natural Almond Flavor can mean a lot of things. Natural vs. Artificial. Extract vs. oil. Natural would have one deducing that it’s made from almonds but it could be made from peach pits. Could be. Because it wasn’t listed in the allergens it must be derived from something other than almonds. I have a call in to the company so they can explain that to me.)

Satisfied. I throw it in the basket.

Here’s the thing. It wasn’t the Oaties brand that we usually get. It said NUT right at the top of the box, but for some reason I was SO SURE this was the kind of cereal that didn’t have nuts that my brain didn’t even process the word NUT. I hardly glanced at the front of the box. I was SO SURE. I didn’t even read the list of ingredients, only the allergen statement. I was SO SURE.

I am embarrassed, ashamed, horrified, terrified.

Living with a kid with a food allergy is like walking around with a loaded gun just hanging out near your child ALL THE TIME. This time though, this time? I was the one that handed him the gun.

I am shattered.


I thought I was vigilant before this. I thought I was careful. Always checking. Always looking for the food that could poison my baby. I was always on the lookout. I could blame the migraine I was having. I could blame my tiredness. I could blame my blurry vision. I could make tons of excuses. I just wasn’t on my game. I let my guard down for a moment. I got lazy. Lax. Comfortable. It was my fault. At his age his safety begins and ends with ME. I failed him.

He’s never had a reaction to anything besides an actual peanut. I find solace in that in a very strange and dangerous way. Sometimes in my head I think “Well it was just made in a facility that ‘also processes, made on shared equipment’, etc. He’s always been fine with that even before his emergency room trip, he’ll be fine.  And yes he might be fine. Like today, he was fine.

The devious devilish thing about these food allergies is that no two reactions look the same. It might not have to be an actual peanut next time. We might not have time to get to the ER next time. Next time. Because these children are surrounded by or near their poisons on a daily basis. There will be a next time. So I will wipe my tears, buck up, and promise my lovely boy to do better.

I share this as a reminder to my fellow allergy moms – Don’t let your guard down mama bears. And if you do, please be gentle with yourself. I’m having a hard time with that right now. I just keep muttering “He’s fine.”

This thing. This food allergy thing, is NOT for the faint of heart. There are lots of things about parenting that terrify me, but this allergy thing toys with the darkest parts of my brain on a daily basis.

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Good Morning y’all!

I meant to post this this morning, obvs. The day completely got away from me. There’s never a bad time of day for cute though, is there?

There should be a cute video here, if not please refresh your browser. There it is, like magic ;-)

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“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

My brother Dan

I saw someone that looks like my brother today. It always stops me in my tracks. Always. It makes my heart beat faster. I start having crazy thoughts.


He was hunched over at the liquor store doing some stocking. He had the same color wispy greasy hair. A spotty beard that wasn’t quite filled in. A nose to big for his face. He looked up at me, undoubtably because he could feel me staring at him.

Sure enough his eyes were blue. Not the same beautiful blue, but blue enough to make me avert my own eyes and awkwardly fumble with my wallet.


I watched him walk away, bought my wine, and ran out. I jumped into the van and sighed.  I tell my husband. He says “Imagine that?” And then he didn’t finish his thought.


Whether he thought better of it or whether one of the kids interrupted I don’t know. I was barely able to hear anything besides my heart pounding in my ears. But he was right not to venture down that thought rabbit hole with me. It never ends well.


He’s gone. And you’d think that 18 years later it wouldn’t pain my heart so much in moments like that. But it does, and it always will.

“Grief is the price we pay for love.” ~Queen Elizabeth.


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Light a candle of love

My children are playing together quietly in the other room. I hear them whispering to each other. They are playing nicely.

My children.

They are 6, 4 & 2. This doesn’t happen often. The quiet playing nicely thing. I have a minute so I thought I’d write.

I have gone quiet since last Friday. Since Newtown. Since the shooting. It has weighed so heavily on my heart, there are moments I can’t even bear it. There are many posts in my head that relate to it but I can’t get them out right now. I probably won’t.

There is a post about grief and the holidays. My brother died when I was 23 and the holidays are fraught with mixed emotions.

There is a post about losing a child so quickly. I was living at home when my brother died and, apart from my own grief, watching my parents go through theirs was just about the most awful thing I have ever experienced.

There is a post about guns. I don’t have toy guns in my house. My oldest has asked Santa for a Nerf gun. I told him that Santa knows Mommy doesn’t like toy guns. He’s still hopeful. My friend’s husband is a State Trooper, my BIL is in the army. There are actual guns in their houses. I get it. I bought my nephew a gift card for paint ball for Christmas. Now I can’t give it to him. I can’t.

There is a post about teachers. No there actually is a post about teachers. Please honor your teachers everyday. They deserve it.

There is a post about mortality. When I was a kid I was so afraid that my parents would die and leave me. I felt it so acutely that I remember it to this day. We have a very large family and I had been to a bunch of funerals at a young age. It was terrifying to me.

There is a post about my decision to have children because it was a decision. Watching what my parent’s went through after we lost Dan was something I was positive I didn’t want to go through. The easiest way to ensure that was just to not have them right. Oy.

So there are many and I can’t write any of it. I am too jumbled and now I have the flu. The other night I took something for it that made me stay up instead of fall asleep. I kept thinking about Newtown and those teachers and those 6 year olds.


My baby is six.

If that young man had come into my baby’s classroom he would have been excited to see him. Cool he’s dressed like an army guy! He has a gun! And then…I couldn’t shake that thought and still can’t. My baby wouldn’t have run for cover if he saw him. It a grotesque and awful thought that will not leave my head.

It’s all just too much. There is so much in the news about it. The funerals, gun control, the NRA, mental health, guns for teachers and on and on. I can’t turn it on until late because I still haven’t told my oldest – the six year old, about it. I am praying that he doesn’t hear it over the holiday. I decided that he doesn’t need to know it until he needs to know it. There is so much awful in the world and I need to present it to him in doses. This particular brand of awful can wait a bit.

There is also so much good in the world. SO much.

The support that Newtown has received in the week after is nothing short of incredible. People from all over the country and all over the world are reaching out to them. But also we’re reaching out locally and in our own homes. People are performing 26 random act of kindness (#26RAK) to honor those lost. We need to be supportive in our communities and loving in our homes, always. Not just in moments of madness.

And then there’s that. We have to stop the madness…but that’s another post as well.

They are whispering about Santa now. About what they might get.

My heart is full of love and it aches for those families in Newtown that have one less whisper, one less patter down the stairs, one less shriek of delight at the presents that Santa brought. For those that don’t celebrate it’s just another day without their babies another day that they muster the will to go on for their other children, because they need them. They need each other. For those families that lost grown children, the love of their life, or their mother on that awful day they try to figure out how to move through the world without them.

I will light a candle for your babies and for you and wish you peace, Newtown. We all do.




I would love it if you would light a candle for them too. Give just a moment to think of them and then go on and have a wonderful day with your families. Honor them well by honoring your own. Peace.

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Caption my grief

Seventeen years ago today was the worst day of my entire life. I hope that it stays at number one and nothing surpasses it, because I don’t think I could handle it. My brother died on March 19, 1995. His name is Daniel, Dan, Danny, Bean.

This post is a blatant attempt to have you make me feel better. Here’s how it works, I am going to post a picture of my brother and I want you to caption it. If you knew him make me remember him. If you didn’t, tell me something to make me laugh. That was one of his goals in life – to make me laugh.

I loved him so much and miss him terribly. Today I want to wallow in happiness for having known him, not grieve for something I can’t change. Help me won’t you? Enter the caption contest! You will only win my undying love, but that’s enough right?

Here it is 


Here I’ll start it out and add as I think of them.

“What?  I didn’t know you wanted any cupcakes!”

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Wordless Wednesday – just some super cute kids.


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