Even though Thanksgiving and all of its potential "nutty" foods add more stress to our already hectic schedules, we can find a few things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving Day. One thing you learn quickly as the parent of a food-allergic child is never to take any good times with food for granted.
Here are some things to be thankful for as a "nut-free mom" this year:
1. Our children. Yes, we spend a lot of time worrying about them, but they are beautiful and our reason for being. Their allergies force us to be more watchful, but they also force us to be more assertive and find out what goes into our food supply. Plus, they make sure we don't take ourselves too seriously--how can you when a toddler is making silly faces or you're hearing potty jokes from a kindergartner? Our kids are precious -- go give them a hug today.
2. If your child didn't have a reaction this year. We know how important it is to be thankful for that! I give thanks each time we go to a restaurant, a party or family gathering and my child doesn't have a reaction. If we make it through one whole year--it's party time!
3. If your child did have a reaction but they were OK. It's so scary when this happens, but we learn more caution and are prompted to take more safety measures if a reaction occurs, thereby preventing future reactions.
4. Family, spouses, friends, online support (like you readers). There's nothing like having a support system of people who help screen food for you at a function, care enough to ask questions at a restaurant, learn to use an Epi Pen or just let you vent. We couldn't do it without our support system.
5. Media who get it and are helping to spread the word. The recent Tribune reports, the major increase on food allergy stories in newspapers, magazines and on TV and the increase of food allergy bloggers shows us that this topic is getting more attention than ever before. With education comes knowledge, with knowledge comes tolerance. We're making big strides, even though it doesn't feel like it at times.
6. Ourselves. Time to pat yourselves on the back, nut-free parents. You made it through some tough times to get where you are and you're doing the best for your kids.
If you have any of your own, I'd sure love to hear them. Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful, allergy-free day.