As school started this year, as did the flood of peanut related posts on facebook and the sort. Bloggers gathered defenses and armed themselves with angry parents to defend their rights to peanuts anytime anywhere! I read post upon post, article upon article of people claiming they have been violated in the rights department because PB&J can’t tag along to school. I have sat jaw-dropped at some comments like, “Why do the rest of the kids have to suffer due to a small percentage of peanut allergic kids.” and “No normal, healthy child should ever have to lower their bar of standards to accommodate another child’s inability to meet a ‘basic set bar of expectation.”
So basically, some of these people are saying Peanut allergic children are weaker humans and should be locked away from society if it causes even the slightest inconvenience for a small portion of the day to other “normal” children. And some aren’t quite as angry, but still annoyed at little. I get it. Just getting homework done for school is a feat in itself. Now you have to alter your lunch life as well.
Let’s throw it out there. I had no idea about food allergies before my daughter was diagnosed. I was so overwhelmed and anxious when I found out that I was up all hours of the night researching for months and months. What does this mean? What did I do wrong when I was pregnant? How did this happen!? What do I do now? But I’m not here to get into that now.
I was also very tempted to post my rebuttal list to all these maddening articles I’ve been reading. But I decided that was already taken care of by a lot of other allergy kid parents. I decided that what needed to be done at this time was to point out all the people in my life that have not shunned us for the annoyance of having us around. To all the people who have no problem going out of their way to keep our daughter safe. I may not thank them enough because it really truly means so much!
To my family! THANK YOU! Every family party I go to, my mom or my sister check with me so they can make something special for my daughter to eat. My father-in-law buys ingredients she can have so that he can make her a special batch of rice krispie treats. My sister always has a safe brand of ice cream handy when we have parties so she won’t feel left out. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law buy her a GIANT bag of Yummy organic lolli’s every year so she always has travel snacks. Thank you to my Aunts and Uncles who avoid putting out bowls of nuts on holidays! Thank you for all the seperate bags! For all the questions! They don’t have to, but they do.
To my friends! THANK YOU! When they have birthday parties for their own kids, they make sure nothing is made with peanuts and they make sure her goodie bag is filled with treats she can actually have. It’s enough to plan a party, but to have to take time to account for my daughter on top of all of it. It’s a lot to just even remember to do that. And they invite us again, instead of telling us to stay home because it’s too much of an inconvenience to the other kids to have my daughter there. Thank you to friends in different states who’ve invited us for weekends and made sure their homes were safe. Thank you to those who even went as far as to whip up a special batch of dairy, egg, and nut free brownies! And again, I don’t expect it, but they do it.
Even at church and small group, THANK YOU! They always check with me when they aren’t sure of something. I have a dear friend who always has something safe for my daughter to eat when we go to her house. THANK YOU!
To every restaurant that ever made her a special meal that required pots and pans to be washed or fries made seperate… or grills to be cleaned in order to prevent cross-contamination. THANK YOU! To all the pizza places that make her special pizzas! To every chef that comes to the table to make sure he knows just what foods can’t come in contact with hers. To every waitor or waitress that takes the time to make sure everything is safe or is just honest that it’s probably better she eat the food in her lunch box instead. Even to the people who take my phone calls ahead of time checking if there are is a peanut free cooking area because peanut and peanut oil is not as containable as the other allergens. THANK YOU! Nobody likes to be that person at a restaurant… that person that asks a million questions when the place is hopping. So sincerely, THANK YOU!
THANK YOU to her former pre-school for checking with me on everything from facepaint to detergent!
And there are many more people that I’m probably leaving out..
But at the end of the day, this is my problem. It’s my husband’s problem. It’s my daughter’s problem. It doesn’t have to be my family or friends problem. But they make it theirs because they love us. They wait till we leave to bust out the Reese’s on Halloween. They wash their hands and faces frequently just in case. Just like we would accommodate them if it meant keeping them in our lives. They understand what community is and what it’s like to look out for one another.
I’m not thanking you because this all makes my life easier (it does), I’m thanking you because you care enough to do it without being asked. And I don’t have all the answers. Because you can’t find them. There are so many theories to why the percentage of kids with food allergies has grown so much. You don’t know what kind of reaction your kid will have. This time it could be a rash, next time a swollen throat. Kids have died from allergies that were thought to be “mild.” So the only way to be 100% safe is total avoidance. And there’s no way to do that completely. And I’m sure if there was even a .01% chance something could kill your kid, you’d sure as heck avoid it!
So again, THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who was even thought to look out for my daughter’s well being. To everyone who makes her feel included and cared for! You can’t know how much it means to us! We love you!!!