Has anybody else been mesmerized by the winter Olympics?
There are so many great sports, but so far I’m especially loving the skiing, snowboarding, ice dancing and of course hockey.
All this Olympic fever has made me think a bit about how Olympic athletes and their families compare to us food allergy families. What do we have in common with some of the most successful and achieved people in the world? In my opinion, we have more in common than you might think.
We have a goal
Elite, Olympic athletes have a goal in mind. And that goal DRIVES them. The dream of a gold medal gets them up at all hours to train and push their limits.
Food allergy families also have a goal. Decreasing food allergy risks & creating awareness DRIVES us. We’re often pushed past our comfort limits as we focus on keeping our kids safe.
We give up so much
The dreams of an Olympic athlete bring them to give up many things that others would take for granted. This life of discipline and restraint is not what an average family would consider “normal”, but it’s required to achieve their dreams.
Food allergy families also live a life of discipline and restraint when it comes to food, and we’re sometimes forced to give up many of the “normal” choices and social events because of it. Although it’s hard, it's definitely worth it.
We may live in a “bubble" for short periods
The life of focused drive creates a life where these athletes shut out distractions and live in a “bubble”, especially during intense times of training or focus. It’s an intentional action to move them toward their goal.
In our case, living in a bubble may sometimes be unintentional but sometimes it’s a requirement to keep safe, especially during intense times of food celebration like Christmas. And I don’t mean that we SHOULD do this because I'm big on finding ways NOT to live in a bubble. But sometimes it's a byproduct of doing what we have to do to achieve food allergy safety.
What we can learn from Olympic athletes
During interviews of the athletes who made it to the Olympic podium, many of them say that "tonight they’ll celebrate". All their hard work has finally paid off. They’ve done what they set out to do. AND NOW THEY'LL CELEBRATE.
This is something that I think us food allergy families can learn from our Olympic athlete friends. For example, consider each day that our kiddo DOESN'T have a food reaction (anaphylactic or not), as a “gold medal” day. Make this goal as short as a day or as long as a year, but CELEBRATE these goals. Find ways to make all that hard work and restraint fun. This might mean saving money for a special family trip or outing so that once your goal is reached, you can enjoy it together. Find ways to “step onto the podium” to enjoy all the hard work, dedication, discipline and restraint. It’s something you’ve all worked for together and NOW YOU’LL CELEBRATE.
Do you celebrate your food allergy goals? What are some of your families favourite ways to celebrate together? Share in the comments below!