I don’t know about any other allergy parents out there, but I constantly feel guilty having to talk about Asa’s allergies with other people. On Thanksgiving I had to make an announcement and ask everyone to make sure they washed their hands and their kids hands after they finished eating so that Asa didn’t get touched after someone who had touched one of her allergens. Even while I was making the announcement, I was cringing inside. I hate having to be “that mom”. You know… the mom that seems overprotective and pushy. The mom that wants to tell you how to parent your kid. The mom that has to ask you to take extra steps when you’re around my daughter. I hate it. But I have to do it.
The reality is, that announcement had to be made. I can’t risk my daughter’s well-being just for my anxiety’s sake. But man… it’s hard sometimes.
I can’t tell you the number of awkward moments I’ve had. The countless times I’ve had to ask people to wash their hands. The times I’ve had to remind my friends that their kids’ bottle filled with milk couldn’t be left out for fear my daughter would grab it and take a drink. The times I’ve had to remind the Sunday School workers again for the 10th Sunday in a row that my daughter has allergies and can only have the snack we packed for her. The times we’ve had to give the epipen tutorial. The times I’ve had to ask that my friends put away the peanut butter snacks while we are around. The times we’ve had to wipe down tables/high chairs when we get to a restaurant while other people look at us and think we are just massive germaphobes. All of these times are really hard. Every time makes me feel a little crazy, a little needy, and a lot self-conscious.
Trust me – the last thing I want to do is bring it up. The last thing I want if for you to think I’m telling you what to do with your kid or your life. But I have to. Because if I don’t stand up for my daughter, who will? After all, she’s only a toddler. It’s my job as her mom to protect her and keep her safe. If anything ever happened to her because I chickened out and didn’t give the reminder even just once, I’d never forgive myself.
I’m forever grateful to my friends that go out of their way to make sure their kids only have Asa-friendly snacks when we are around. The ones who text for clarification of her allergies. The ones who offer to order a special vegan cupcake at their child’s birthday party just so that Asa doesn’t feel like out. The family who wipe things down religiously and advocate on our behalf daily. I’m thankful for them because they take some of the weight off me. They make sure I don’t have to ask them to keep Asa safe. Instead, they proactively try to keep her safe themselves. And I can’t tell you how much that means to a mom who constantly feels like a crazy person with crazy requests. We don’t want to live this life. But we have to. So please, I beg you – be gracious. Be understanding. Be considerate. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I don’t expect you to know everything about food allergies. I know I sure didn’t before we had Asa. I’m still learning everyday. But just know, it’s awkward when we have to ask people to help us keep her safe. And it means the world to us when you try to be accommodating and helpful! It means way more than you know!