Dear Prince 1,
I’m so, so hopeful today.
Right now, you are allergic to five of the top eight allergens. Today, in a time frame of 30 minutes, I received two hopeful articles from my food allergy networks. One was a blog post written by a mom who just received news that her older son has outgrown the last of his many allergens! I cried while reading it, just feeling the hope that the post provided for me and for you. I am so grateful to that mom for writing about it and expressing her feelings so eloquently. It made me feel just how amazing she must be feeling. I think that if we end up in a similar situation, I will humiliate you by dancing in the streets and on top of tables.
Well, ten minutes after that, I got an email from a friend to tell me that JetBlue Airlines has partnered with Skeeter Nut Free snacks! We now have an airline with which we can feel more comfortable for travel! When we traveled last year, the airline (which was not JetBlue) was not very accommodating or supportive. It was scary, but because we not only brought a ton of snacks for you, but also for about ten people around us on each flight, you were okay. The flight attendants all refused to make an announcement, so your dad and I were nervous on all four flights across the country and back. Now, we can travel safely and with much more confidence! Hooray! You can read all about this big news here.
Food allergies suck. There is no other way to say it. But the step that JetBlue has taken is hopeful in that it shows that awareness is spreading. I pray that when you start kindergarten, awareness will be even more widespread, and you will be safe and included in everything. I hope you won’t be the only one in your class with an Epi Pen and sitting at a special table. Thankfully, you are sociable and make friends easily, which gives me hope that you will be able to handle your difference with a shoulder shrug. But I know it won’t be easy. I pray that while you grow up, the world around us continues to catch on to this epidemic and that you are not put in danger because a peer or adult doesn’t understand the severity of your situation. Equally important, I pray that I am able to avoid hovering over you and driving you insane. I’m working on handling my anxiety so that you can live as normal of a life as possible. You deserve that. It’s a tough juggling act, you know — keeping you alive and letting you live that “normal” childhood that all of us food allergy parents want more than anything in this world. If I have scarred you because I have not been able to adequately achieve that balance, please forgive me.
Maybe as you read this in 2030, you have outgrown all of your food allergies, and this post is irrelevant to you. Maybe the research out there has fully cured the life-threatening aspect of food allergies, or maybe even cured allergies! (Hey, I’m extra hopeful today). Maybe you only have one or two of your allergies now. Even that would be wonderful. However, if you still have all of them, I pray that you are confident, responsible, and happy in spite of it, that you still don’t let it define you, and that you have learned to advocate for yourself with grace. I promise to continue doing my best to model all of that for you.
Here’s to hope!
All my love,
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