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Some days life in the kitchen does feel like a game of chess. We strategize and make moves that we think are good for our families, only to find that we get overtaken by the misstep. We fall back, wondering what move to make next. With all of the different food allergies, intolerances, and restrictions, this game I’m describing is likely to make its home in many kitchens today.

This weekend that game visited our family. We decided that we would try fish for our entire family, which we haven’t done in more than almost 2 years. I have longed to raise my boys loving fish, but we just haven’t been able to yet. When my eldest son joined our family table years ago, we introduced him to his first fish. He loved it, but it didn’t love him. Within a few hours, he was fiercely vomiting. He was allergy tested at the ages of 1, 2, and 3 years, and there was no sign of an allergy to any fish. So we tried fish a second time. Same thing. We waited a whole year, and tried a different fish. Same thing. Now it has been almost 2 years and he is turning 6 this summer. We were ready to try again.

So what did I do? I took the time to find a recipe for our family that would be both Low FODMAP and AIP, which was a journey all unto itself. Fish and chips were on the menu. I was SO excited, and who doesn’t love fish and chips, right? The boys loved the fish and asked when we could have it again. I was hopeful! I had hoped that this could be the day that we pushed through his undiagnosed intolerance.

But when 3 hours after eating the cod, and an hour long session in the bathroom began, my heart broke for him. I wept inside knowing that I did this to my sweet child. I fed him food that made him sick. Now what?

I am sad for him — this was a loss. I don’t do well when I lose because I tend to give up and not try again. I am learning, as an adult, how to move beyond my losses with discipline and grace. Yes, I have learned that I may never be able to feed my son fish, but at least I know this information and can move forward.

So what’s for dinner tomorrow? Not fish. I will navigate the mine filled road to the table and continue to make meals that can meet all the restrictions that we each possess. I will not give up and throw in the towel! I am committed to our family table and will not let these differences divide us. I pray that the work I put in will knit us more closely together as a family as the years go by. Tomorrow will be a win!