Real Talk

Let's get a little real for a moment here. Life isn't just play time at the beach. I know that I project my life to be that way (and perhaps aspire it to be so as well) but sometimes it gets a little hard. And lately, it's been kind of hard. 

Theo is a beautiful little boy but he faces a few challenges. The first being his severe allergy to almonds and peanuts. You wouldn't think that a nut allergy could affect your life so drastically but it does. It really does. It affects literally everything we eat, where we shop, who's house Theo can play at, which pre-school he can go to, and which airlines we can fly on. It creates a nagging feeling of constant worry that at some point he may go into anaphylactic shock which requires us to stab his leg with an epi-pen and have him rushed off in an ambulance. It makes seemingly simple things like daycare or playdates feel like unsurmountable mountains because letting him out of our sight is literally placing his life into someone else's hands. You don't realize how much anxiety a child at a park holding a peanut butter sandwich or the old man sitting on a bench tossing nuts to squirrels and discarding the shells on the sidewalk can cause. You can't imagine how many nights Sara and I spend talking about his allergies. It definitely causes stress for us. 

It makes seemingly simple things like daycare or playdates feel like a terrifying ordeal of trust ...

Theo also has some sensory processing challenges. He literally cannot fall asleep unless he's being rocked. After years of struggling through bedtimes we've finally given up and now wrap him up in a hammock and swing him until he falls asleep. Loud noises, vacuums, cars, or unexpected bangs sometimes send him into terrified tears. Rambunctious social gatherings with little kids screaming can also be super difficult. We've taken him to an occupational therapist to help with some of these issues and she's been a huge help in teaching us what's going on in his little brain and how we can parent in a way that will help him have positive experiences in life. It's also been comforting to learn that some of this isn't just "typical toddler behavior" and that some of these difficulties we've faced aren't just in our minds. 

He's such a dear sweet boy and we of course feel so blessed to have him in our lives. With these challenges he faces he also has so many beautiful gifts that we've already seen emerge. He has an amazing photographic memory. He picks up details in our surrounding and that would go unnoticed by others and weeks later can pinpoint when things moved or misplaced. He can also build elaborate lego spaceships and create imaginary worlds that are far beyond what's typical for a little 2 year old. It's incredible to watch him discover his talents and his therapist has been super helpful in pointing our attention to his gifts. 

...with these challenges he faces, he also has so many beautiful gifts that we’ve already seen emerge.

But, in the spirit of transparency, sometimes it can all become exhausting. Lately we've been trying to find a pre-school that will accept him with his severe allergy issues (which is harder than you might think) and that can build a positive experience for him with his sensory issues. Pre-school is often just glorified daycare but it's important for him to gain positive associations with school and positive social interactions with other children. 

As I write all of this I realize how much I've grown over the past three years since becoming a parent. Having a child makes you grow up...and it also makes you a little tired. 


Don't grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.


When I take pictures and curate my week into this beautiful experience of parenthood, I don't mean to leave out some of the hardships that surround the pockets of happiness. They are there and I recognize them but I'd rather not dwell on them. At some point I'll go into more detail on some of our struggles because I think a little vulnerability can be refreshing. But for now we'll leave it at that. 

Nature has been, and forever will be my escape. I think it will be the same for Theo too. He comes alive when we're outside and free to roam. 

But guess what? Some days are beach days, and those days are awesome. We closed the week off by exploring a new section of the coast near Pescadero, CA. It was incredible there. I couldn't be more in love with my little family and happy for everything we go through together. The whole point of life is to learn and grow and without a few bumps in the road that couldn't happen like it is suppose to. 

Thanks for following along. 


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Kyson Dana is a designer and humanitarian working from San Francisco, California. He specializes in web design, branding, and illustration for purpose driven companies.