Defining Moments

November 8, 2007 at 4:47 am 2 comments

Does who we are, and how successful we are, manifest more in the everyday, mundane actions we take or in the crises, the big and defining moments? Probably some of each, of course, but those defining moments almost seem like the surprise test days in a semester of studied-for quizzes. Everything comes to a head and our constitution is put on the line.

Last night was a defining moment for me. Placing my first-ever 911 call, for my food-allergic toddler going into anaphylaxis in our kitchen. Watching her face swell beyond recognition in just moments. Needing to decide to shoot her up with epinephrine. Having to stay calm and soothing for her, and not let my panic show.

She is OK, thank goodness, and I think I passed the test. Witness the fact that she actually sang and laughed with me on the way to the hospital even though I could barely see her eyes for the swelling. It helped that my husband was a rock, and has experienced anaphylaxis himself so he could talk me through the steps.

I lost it this morning when she awoke and her face and eyes were still swollen (I thought she’d look normal today), but I left the room for that and let Dad do the good-mornings. I stuck by our commitment to not rehash the crisis in front of her today (but for a few veiled and spelled words to grandma and a close friend), and just talked to her directly as she instigated and as felt appropriate. I grew closer to my husband through the scare, not farther apart. Not too bad for a defining moment surprise test.

Of course, I didn’t score 100%. I didn’t wait long enough betwen her bites of a new food, I didn’t have perfect calm, I took her to the little grocery while I was still feeling raw and she still looked not herself, and didn’t deal with that perfectly. But, oh well.  I’m trying to learn from my mistakes in the process, not dwell on them.

It’s funny, because the everydayness of living with a food-allergic child had caused a sliver of doubt in my mind. Was it really as bad as we thought? Was she able to eat more than we were giving her? Then the defining moment redefined, revalidated the everyday. Sticking to what we know, following through with the healthiest options, trusting our gut, not worrying about what uninformed others say or think, focusing always on what is utmost important. Our everyday has been right for our family, and this defining moment reminded me.

I’m so tired as to be delirious, so I will close on this: Defining moments are our surprise tests. The everyday is our effort grade. Both work together to create our reality, to form our vision of success.

And I am so thankful tonight.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Melissa  |  November 8, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    I’m so glad she’s recovering quickly (emotionally, at least, though it sounds like physically, too).

    I love the analogy. So, is worrying our prep work? Our studying or homework? Or is it somehow detrimental to our grade?

  • 2. tobeme  |  November 14, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    Sounds to me like you did a great job and you learned some lessons from this. No need to worry, you can handle it. Hats off to you. Glad that your daughter is okay.


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To spark conversation about redefining success (as individuals, families and institutions) and to counter "never enough" messages currently circulating in our culture.

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Megan Pincus Kajitani: Writer, Editor, Former Academic Overachiever and Career Counselor, Mom, Wife, Feminist, Gen Xer, Californian who believes that change is possible View Megan Pincus Kajitani's profile on LinkedIn

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