Friday, May 7, 2010

Food Allergies and Mother's Day

Mother's Day is almost here and I want to give a special thanks and recognition to all the mothers out there and especially to those of you dealing with food allergies. Yes, dads, grandparents and family members care too, but I know that mothers take the brunt of a lot of the day to day stuff with food allergies.

This year you probably:

Met with school staff or other caregivers about your child's food allergy
Worried when your child went out without you
Were nervous serving your child food in a restaurant
Stayed up late baking cupcakes for a class party
Showed several people how to use an epinephrine auto-injector (including maybe even your child)
Researched the Internet about food allergies for hours
Had a real food allergy "scare" or a false alarm (incidentally, both cause gray hair equally)
Were a regular at the pharmacy
Took your child for allergy testing
Filled out endless paperwork so that your food-allergic child could attend a camp, participate in a sport or other activity
Did I say stayed up late baking cupcakes???

I could go on an on. The bottom line, Moms, is to be proud of all you've done for your child this year. Being a mother is not for the faint of heart, as my pediatrican told me when my daughter was young. That goes double if your child has any type of chronic medical condition.

Mother's Day is supposed to be a day of celebration for mothers--not necessarily a day of complete rest, though that is nice. But food allergies don't take a break, so I bet a lot of you--like me--will be baking and/or cooking for Mother's Day. I'm baking a coffee cake to bring to a brunch. My kids LOVE this cake and I am happy to make it for them. Nothing is better than being to serve my allergic daughter something that she can eat along with everyone else. I'm not officially "off duty" and so what. The cake means a lot to my child--'nuff said. I'm making it.

Mother's Day is a great time to reflect on how close your child's allergies may have made you and your child. This may seem like a strange silver lining, but I'll leave you with this. The other night, my daughter and I were watching Top Chef Masters and they were doing a wedding. One of the tasks was making a wedding cake. She turned to me and said "Mom, will you make my wedding cake? Then I know it will be delicious AND safe for me."

She trusts me. She knows I can bake a heck of a cake. She knows she can count on me. That's what Mother's Day means to me. After I got done swallowing the big lump in my throat I told her I'd be honored.

Happy Mother's Day!


Liz said...

Wow, I guess I never thought about wedding cake. I mean I have, because we've been to weddings where my son was unable to have cake, but I guess I never thought (my pa son is only 2) about his wedding cake. When I read that your daughter asked you to make hers, I broke out in tears. Such a sweet moment.

Unknown said...

You have me in tears. Thanks for understanding.

jenny said...

Happy Mother's day to you too Jenny, it's nice to have people like you for me to look up to, to follow, to seek advise!

Mary G. said...

Just what I needed! I was rather grumpy on baking today for tomorrow but you are so spot on- so what I have to bake today? My daughter will be able to enjoy a perfectly delicious and safe cake tomorrow with me. Thanks!

caramama said...

Belated Happy Mother's Day!

Wonderful post. It really lifted my spirits.

Unknown said...

Thank you!!I was surfing the web to see if I could find a High School that was peanut free, and ran across your site. My 13 year old son has the dreaded contact reaction to peanuts and gets sick very quickly after touching something contamimated with peanuts, eating them would be deadly. We homeschool, I'm a public school teacher, and I am considering opening a private high school that is allergy friendly. It seems that as the kids get older there is less tolerance and understanding about peanut allergies. As if the students should be able to handle the entire environment by themselves.
I had never thought about all I do in a day to protect my son. Your post really made me realize the feets I accomplish!! Thanks.

Jenny said...

Ryan, you bring up a great point about contact reactions--they are very real. We've experienced mild reactions after only contact with peanut butter.

As far as schools go, I understand your worries. I've done a lot of thinking about school as well. There is a tendency to believe that older kids will handle their allergy better and in many ways they do. It's not always as simple as not eating the allergenic food, as you point out. A lot more can be done in schools--at the very least their should be some kind of peanut-free lunch area and peanuts shouldn't be used, if possible, in classrooms. I remember having to make peanut brittle as part of a chemistry experiment in high school.

Let us know how your school things go.

As far as everyone else who said I moved them to tears with my post, it means so much that my words connected to you so strongly!! Thank you for sharing your feelings about what I had to say.


cribs said...

Thank you for this touching blog. I really understand everything that you said on your blog. Thank you for sharing it.

Unknown said...

What a great post! Thank you and Happy Mother's Day!

Keeley McGuire said...

So true. I chuckled at the "staying up late to bake cupcakes" part... that's happened more times than I can count. :)

I think my only real time "off" is if the fella and I take an adult on vacation or weekend getaway. I still don't chow down on PB or anything, but it's nice to not be on edge or worried about every item or possible cross contamination.

Mother's Day, well, I'm a mom because of her so I can't imagine spending it any other way than with my dear daughter and knowing she's safe :)