I am not one to put thoughts to paper, but when I read the mean comments from the Global site on Luke Sullivan’s petition to have peanuts/nuts banned on planes, I wrote this … I don’t write for all Allergy parents as I know we are all different, but I think some may have the same feelings:
Clubs? We all can belong to different clubs: book clubs, walking clubs… just going to clubs (those were the days!). Most clubs we want to join. Joining the Allergy Mom club was not one I planned or wanted to join. But here I am. Every day I wish my son did not have his peanut allergy. And every day I think what a great kid I have. I think his peanut allergy has given him a sense of compassion and realizing we are not all the same.
Parents – 99% of us worry about our kids. When you are an “allergy” parent it adds another layer of worry. I don’t say this looking for sympathy; I say this looking for understanding.
My son is now 11, he has a great head on his shoulders. He wants to do things like go to the store with his friends, school field trips, play date at a friend’s house. You know what my biggest worry is – what if he has a reaction? Will he give him himself the Epipen like we have gone over a million times? Will his friends and friends parents remember how to help?
I am entering those years that all parents understand. They are going to start making their own decisions, and have to be their own advocates. For us, my son has to be his own advocate for his food allergy, because at the end of the day, it is his life. And not everyone understands just how serious his allergy is.
But like many 11 year olds, being “different” is not always easy. He gets embarrassed at restaurants when we go over his allergy too firmly (in his opinion) or I wipe down seats: movies, planes etc. So when a young person is an advocate and speaks up, I give them a standing ovation.
Some may say some really mean things behind our backs: they over react, this is survival of the fittest (that one is so mean to me, would you say that to a parent of a child with another illness or special need?), why should we bend for just a few. News flash, I don’t like asking anything from other people either.
But I will tell you, the mom that bought a peanut free cake for her son’s party brought me to tears. The steward that announced my son’s allergy on a flight from Florida had my appreciation so much. The family members that go over menus to make my son included, restaurants that take his allergy seriously, to his teachers that care… the list is endless. To all of this kindness I say thank you. I choose to stay positive.
I always tell my son think of all things you can do, and not the things you can’t. Instead of pointing fingers, let’s work together to help find a cure. May you never have to have the worry of an allergy parent but I hope this helps for you to understand a little bit more about our club.
Mom of an amazing 11 year old