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January 11, 2008

Thoughts on our children with food allergies

As we parents of children with food allergies know, it’s easy to get in a rut of feeling sorry for ourselves. Thoughts of “Why me?” and “Why my child?” occasionally linger in the back of our minds. We all agree that it definitely takes extra effort to keep our children with food allergies safe. For example, going to the movies and out for lunch is easy enough, but it still takes some planning ahead. With the recent holidays and all of the activities, I guess I was beginning to feel overloaded with food allergy issues. What will be at the party? Should I try to bring similar foods for my daughters, something that makes them feel special instead of left out? Do I bake just one cake and say, “Sorry, you can’t have it” or bake an extra cake so she can eat what everyone else is eating? Do we just skip the party completely because it feels easier than figuring out the food?

I had kind of an eye opener today. I took my children and one of their friends to the movies and then out for lunch. I made sure I had the Epi-Pens in tow. We didn’t have anything to eat at the movies, which isn’t entirely out of the norm. (although we occasionally bring in our own snacks hidden in my backpack - which is another whole discussion!!). When the movie finished, we headed over to a nearby restaurant. Here’s the catch, my daughter’s friend, Elisa, has Juvenile Diabetes (the insulin dependent kind). We’ve known her for years and I am familiar with her eating/insulin regimen. So, as the rest of the families at the restaurant were thinking about what sounded good to eat, I was thinking about how many carbs Elisa needed and how quickly our food would be served. Yes, I still asked about the ingredients and possible nut and egg contamination, but somehow food allergies didn’t seem so overwhelming anymore. A possible hypoglycemic event seemed a bit more urgent.

It’s true, you can always find someone else whose life seems easier. But can’t you also find those who have more difficult crosses to bear? I’m glad my perspective changed a bit. It’s refreshing! And it reminds me to be thankful for the life I have, even if it does mean I that I need to plan ahead a bit.

Posted by Ann Marie at January 11, 2008 1:19 PM

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