Crying over spilt milk is what you do when life serves you a mess that can’t be put away.
For a long time, it felt like an appropriate response to my daughter’s multiple food allergies and the stress they caused in our lives. Dairy, egg, peanut, fish, and shellfish. They were, and still are, barriers to fun and comfort and safety. Kids and kids’ events are literally coated in dairy, and it’s her worst one; her one confirmed anaphylactic reaction. For the first two-and-a-half years of our daughter’s life, our framework for understanding “scary” was largely built around exposure to sinister foods. It’s what prompted me to start this blog and to share some of my experiences parenting a kid who lived on the edge of a serious allergic reaction.
More recently, scary got significantly scarier. Our daughter (at two-and-a-half years old) was diagnosed with and began treatment for a pediatric brain tumour. She also suffered a stroke around the time of her surgery to reduce the size of the tumour. She now has a permanent VP shunt, still has a significant part of the tumour, and we’re on a steep learning curve about life with physical and visual disability.
Shit happens. Shit happens to good people. Shit happens to little kids. Shit happens that you cannot prepare for and for which you cannot assign blame. Crying over spilt milk is not only OK, it’s necessary. It doesn’t change anything, but you should definitely NOT not cry over it. Crying over spilt milk helps you accept what has happened and let go of what was in that glass. It’s gone…you’re not going to fill it up with the same milk (because who knows what was on that counter…that shit is messy). You just have to figure out what you’re going to refill it with.
There are more people in this kind of complex medical situation (and much more complex) than I ever realized, and like all of them, we’re trying to find joy and hope and to figure all this out as a family. She is kicking ass and taking names with her recovery, but there is no guarantee about what the future will hold.
We are not alone, but we are learning as we go, and learning comes with frustration. I get salty. I like swears. (They’re therapeutic and sometimes nothing else will do.)
I am not, in any way a qualified professional, so please don’t take anything I say as sage advice. I’m a parent, with a kid who has some significant and life threatening medical conditions. She has an older brother, who doesn’t. My partner and I are doing the best we can. I’ll keep you posted.