This was a tough week for peanut allergies. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) decided to back off its proposal for an airline peanut ban after pressure from peanut farmers (but hopefully not from numerous ignorant, hateful comments they received from folks not in the know but very creative with their language).
McDonald's introduced a new Reese's Peanut Butter Cup "McFlurry" rendering a former nut allergy-friendly restaurant questionably safe for those with peanut allergies. (More on that development in a future post.)
Some of this stuff has gotten me down and it's gotten many of you down. So I thought it was time to share a positive story from our family.
Many people viewing this blog have very young kids who have been recently diagnosed with severe peanut and/or tree nut allergies. The first thought we have when this happens is how our kids are going to coexist in the "nutty" world we live in.
For example, parents have worries about school, sports, extracurricular activities and any type of normal social life. They worry that this will be impossible for their kids. I know that I worried this way and it's a natural worry. Food affects all parts of life and peanut butter is a number one risk at any school.
So let me tell you about what I witnessed last night. My 10-year-old daughter was in a production of High School Musical Jr. (for younger kids) as part of a theater camp. She didn't have a big role--it was her first play and she was cast as a Wildcats Cheerleader. The cast was huge--she was up there with dozens of other kids most of the time.
This is exactly the kind of thing I wondered if she could ever do. Because kids are eating peanut butter right and left, it's going everywhere and if there's peanut butter there is always risk of reaction.
All of this is still true. But this girl had a huge smile on her face the entire show--she was having the time of her life. She was confident and happy and it showed.
Risks were undoubtedly part of this experience as they always are. Backstage, I told her to watch what she eats (we packed her own snacks of course) and not to share certain makeup (especially lipstick--goes on the mouth!) with other cast members. When questioned after the show, she told me she had followed all of our rules and even read the label of foundation makeup before it was applied.
I know I've written about this before, but for those of you who are new to my blog, I want to reassure you that the lessons sink in. When you teach your severely allergic kids how to cope, they will. And then you can sit back and enjoy them as I did last night.
Both of my daughters were in shows last night and they were both fabulous. For the first time, I really felt some of my worry subside regarding my oldest and her allergies. She is growing and learning how to be independent and the proof was right onstage for me to see.