Different

February 20, 2020

I left the allergists office with tears and results that were less than what I was hoping for. Our one-year-old hadn’t outgrown his anaphylactic allergies.  As I let the emotion spill down my face my husband leans in and says, “What is it? What’s making you upset?”

“All of it. I wish things were different. I was praying he’d outgrow it. I just don’t want him to be different,” I wept.

Instantly upon uttering those last words, my heart and mind shifted. I was almost embarrassed to have heard the words that poured from my mouth. 

“I don’t want him to be different.” A statement filled with so much truth, yet also immense falsehood. A statement that immediately gave me pause and switched my perspective. Words that had slipped out of my mouth quickly, but left a lasting impression. 

Different: not the same as another; distinct; separate

To me, “different” had been:

Not being able to eat and enjoy his own birthday cake.

Not being able to touch restaurant chairs and tables without being thoroughly wiped, to limit exposure.

Not being able to eat the suckers at the bank, treats at the doctors office, or food from anywhere for that matter.

Having an injectable shot of epinephrine as his first friend and companion. 

Not being allowed near kitchens, people who are eating, or people who have unwashed hands.

Different had meant the stares, the eye rolls, the misunderstandings, and the lack of knowledge of our child’s health and well-being. 

But different can be beautiful too. In fact, after hearing myself say the words, “I don’t want him to be different.” My heart had a little adjustment. My perspective was clearer and my opinion differed vastly. 

I do want him to be different. So incredibly different. 


I want him to have a heart that is different. One that can see and feel when others need love, compassion and a listening ear. One that loves deeper than most and more freely than typical.

I want him to have a mind that is different. One that is clear of judgement and open to diversity. One that allows him to think in ways unique to him and his intricate soul. 

I want him to have a perspective that is different. One that allows him to see things with a positive lens. One that allows him to look at things in ways others could never dream of. One that shows him a vibrant and creative outlook on life. 

I want him to have a journey and path that are different. One that is paved in authenticity and unapologetic creativity. One that knows no fear. One that is paved with love and walked in faith. 

I want him to be different, in all the right ways. Different, in all the ways he already is.

There is no one in the world like him. He’s different, and it’s beautiful. 

He’s different, and perfect, and mine.

It’s not easy having a child like him, a child with health challenges. It doesn’t come without fear or stress or worry. But heavens, there are so many things in this world I would never want him to become, but different isn’t one of them. 

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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