My daughter has her dance recital coming up tomorrow and for the first time since she has been in a performance, I can sit back and just enjoy the thing without worrying. We changed dance schools this year, and in the registration form there is a space to list food allergies. As we got closer to performance time, I was getting set to make my phone calls, etc. and find out what I needed to do to make sure my daughter was OK.
Usually, (like other food-allergic moms) I have to either a) volunteer to be backstage in order to keep an eye on my daughter, thereby missing the entire show or b) insist that there can be no food backstage to skeptical parents who don't want their kids to go without snacks. And then I sit in the audience and sweat, with one hand on my cell phone and one hand on my daughter's epinephrine auto-injector.
Once, I explained the situation to a mother who said "Well, I'm bringing crackers no matter what anyone says. Nobody's allergic to wheat!" Well, yes they are, in fact....this conversation was going nowhere fast.
Believe me, I wish I didn't have to care what other kids are eating. And I don't like to be the cause of anyone's inconvenience. But when your child has a life-threatening allergy, I've found that a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do. And to be fair, most parents have been gracious when I've explained the situation to them, but I've always felt so alone.
Until this year. Because, included with my daughter's dance recital info was an allergy alert that clearly explained that no child -- or adult, for that matter -- was allowed to bring any peanut into the school. For those who ate it before recital, the school asked that everybody was their hands, etc.
Cue the swell of angelic music! And most people seemed to take this in stride. One or two balked, but not strenuously (that I heard). One question that came up was regarding "airborne" food allergies. My daughter does not have this problem, according to her doctor, so I'd appreciate feedback from anyone who has experience with this.
Still, what a change from last year, when my daughter was in back-to-back shows with no time for a true dinner break. One guess on what everybody gave their child to eat during intermission.
So naturally I worried. But this year, I am very happy to see that people are taking nut allergies seriously enough that they discourage the consumption of peanuts before or during an event with lots of school children.
We've still got a long way to go, but I still like to celebrate the little victories. I'm looking forward to seeing both my girls perform tomorrow--and I'll actually be in the audience this time!
For more on what it's like to be the "allergy mom" check out this entry from Chicago Moms Blog called "Don't Kill the Allergy Mom."