Whenever I am away from my children, my arms feel so empty. Even though they are older now, we still hug several times a day, and not just when they are sick or injured or upset. We hug, just because. We hug because nothing is more healing, more uplifting than feeling the arms of someone you love so much wrapped tightly around you. This became even clearer to me on one particular day, more than any other.
When my daughter was a fragile six-week-old she became incredibly ill due to an undiagnosed cow’s milk allergy. It saw her being rushed to hospital in an ambulance, her tiny body limp, her eyes unfocused and her energy depleted.
That day I decided to spend some time with my boys. I was worried I hadn’t been paying them enough attention since my daughter’s birth. We had such a wonderful time together.
My daughter was left in the loving care of a close relative who had no experience with food allergies. I, on the other hand, had too much experience thanks to my oldest child. Still, I left my relative with only three bottles of expressed milk and a tin of baby formula, which I had never tested her on. I just never thought I’d end up with another food-allergic child, nor did I think they would be allergic to completely different things.
By the time I arrived home she had vomited steadily for hours, been unable to sleep and was severely dehydrated — none of which I had been told during the seven times I’d called to check on her.
The moment I walked through the door I knew something was wrong. I was handed my limp daughter who faintly smiled at me. I reached for the phone to call for an ambulance, tuning out any explanations, and then spent the next few minutes trying to get her to muster enough energy to take a few precious sips of breast milk.