Sunday, February 27, 2011

Food Allergies Handled with Grace: My Beautiful Birthday Girl

Sorry, I'm just too proud of a mom to resist wishing my daughter Alexandra a happy 11th birthday today! She has taught me the meaning of grace under pressure with regard to the mature and matter-of-fact way she has handled her peanut and tree nut allergies from Day One. The girl has spunk, spirit and guts! Since it is Oscar Night after all, may I even say she has her own unique style and "True Grit." Even in kindergarten her teachers were telling us that she was careful with foods and would readily and (mostly) cheerfully decline anything she wasn't sure about.

My daughter was diagnosed at age 4 years old, and during one of our early allergy doctor visits, I remember how she decided to go to the doctor's appointment in a complete "Lizzie McGuire" (A past Disney TV series starring Hillary Duff, for the uninitiated :)) outfit including little high-heeled shoes and a purse. I know she was afraid but she put on her best fashions (!) and faced the situation with courage. She has always met her challenges with spirit, bravery and a positive attitude.

I'm also so happy at how she has grown. I find her independence heartening as she heads out into the world, though of course I still worry. She knows to check her own food, monitor many situations independently and educate her friends about food allergies while not making it the focus of her life. She is so much more than a girl with food allergies; it's just one aspect of her. That's how I want her to live and that's how she sees herself.

For many of you who have very young kids with a nut allergy diagnosis, take heart and make an effort to be cautious without focusing only on the negatives. We have tried to focus on the positive and my beautiful girl shows this confidence in everything she does!

Happy Birthday, Alex!


Unknown said...

Your post brought a tear to my eye. My son who has a peanut and (some) tree nut allergy will be 11 years old in April. I'm always so amazed at how he handles his allergies and makes them "no big deal". It still saddens me sometimes that he will have to deal with this his whole life. And I admit that I am a bit fearful of the teenage years and the challenges he'll have to travel through, but I'm proud of how he is able to advocate for himself. He has a great group of friends and for that I am also thankful. Our kids are amazing!

dannyscotland said...

You have so many reasons to be proud of her! What an inspiring girl!

Paula said...

I am printing this out for my 7 year old to read. Her preschool teacher would tell me that she was really good about not being upset about not being able to have treats if questionable. At the time I was amazed that she was so big and kind of sad. Now that she reads her own labels and never eats anything baked by someone else or that she can't verify is safe I am just proud. She still gets disappointed sometimes, but overall, she deals with it so well. Thank you for this blog. I am so glad I recently found it.