Dear food allergy moms . . .
You stay up late because you’re researching safe foods for your child. You get up early because you have to make breakfast from scratch. You’re a hero.
You double check your mom’s kitchen before you let her cook for your family. Utensils, pots and pans, ingredients and counter tops. You don’t want to hurt your neighbor’s feelings, but you’re going to have to bring your own food. You’re a hero.
Summer vacation arrives! You admire your child’s desire to go to summer camp this year, but . . . what do you do? They claim to be allergy aware in the dining hall. What about the bunks? What about the staff themselves? You do your research. You’re a hero.
Summer fades, school is ’round the corner. Your child talks about seeing old friends again. You make phone calls, go to meetings, make sure your 504 plan is approved. Maybe you should have homeschooled this year. Will it be like this every fall? You’re a hero.
Church potluck again. Thank God for potlucks! You label your dish and bring your own serving spoon. You’re a hero.
Shopping lists, reading glasses, fine print, doctor’s appointments, expiration dates. Late nights, early mornings. Saying no to sleepovers. (“You could have them over here.”) Asking folks to understand. Reminding your friend for the hundredth time about allergies. Teaching your child to speak up, self-advocate. (“Exclude the food, not the child.”) More late nights, more early mornings. Checklist: epinephrine, antihistamine, inhaler. You wonder if this job comes with a manual. Then you remember you could write your own.
You are a hero.
And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.