May 10 – 16, 2009 is the annual Food Allergy Awareness Week. I hope that you will help educate others about food allergies and help increase awareness.
This is a difficult time for my food allergic, Celiac son. He has been very patient about his food restrictions up until this year. 9 years-old and in 3rd grade. He is now feeling the peer pressure at school to fit in. He has been crushed many times this school year by classmates that forget to inform us they are bringing in birthday treats and my little guy is left sitting there with a tiny bag of skittles, while the other kids are enjoying a tasty looking cupcake or ice cream. I can’t begin to understand what that “really” feels like for him.
He is also struggling with hot lunch. Our school happens to have yummy fast food like pizza, sub sandwiches and burgers catered from local restaurants. He says it’s mostly the smells that drive him crazy. Since he is allergic to most protein and has Celiac Disease, he can’t enjoy a burger and fries or a pizza unless I get creative in the kitchen. Even then, it’s not the same.
As a mom, I worry so much about him and my heart breaks for him constantly. I wish there was a way to take it all away from him and give it to me. I worry about him getting older and going out with friends and trying unsafe foods when I am not there. I worry he won’t be invited because of his allergies. I worry about college already! I am trying to teach him as much as I can without stressing him out. I am trying to protect him and let go too. I don’t know how to walk this line as he grows up into a “tween”.
I do know that we are very blessed with a supportive family and a great school. Just last night, I got a call from a Dad informing me his daughter would be serving cupcakes this morning for her birthday in class. People like this make a huge difference in our lives. So, a big thank you to all of you who get it and help Big B feel loved and normal.
If you know someone with food allergies, please take the time to consider them when you are planning food related events. We don’t ask you to change what you are planning, only that you let us know so that we can provide a safe treat too. If you or your child suffers from food allergies, please be sure to take the time to thank those that support you this week.
For more information on food allergies, please visit The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.