When I walk into any event with my children, whether it's a birthday party, school event, really anywhere, I scan the room. I'm not looking at the decorations or even the people who are there. I'm looking to see what kind of food is there. Not for the reasons you think. I'm looking to see what I have plan for and keep my son safe from. He has food allergies, not the kind that just upset your stomach. The kind that will kill you. He is allergic to several things, dairy, eggs, some tree nuts and peanuts.
So when I enter somewhere with him, all I see are allergens. I don't expect that everyone will understand the eminent fear that I have when food is envolved. I see the child who ate ice cream who didn't wash their hands after eating and fear they will touch my child. He has to ingest the allergen to require his epipen. But is there isresidue somewhere and if gets on his hands, he touches his eye, then his eye starts to swell. Or the child who brought Doritos to school and then touched the railing. Ugh!
We don't live in a bubble. We have always managed his alleries very well, he knows them, wears his epipen and is an advocate for himself. I am the parent who has taught his son not to touch the railings and open a push door with his elbow. Food allergies have taken a toll on me. I worry. I worry for his future, for things that most others don't have too. I worry about his first kiss and pray that he knows she couldn't have eaten his allergens. I worry that he is ALWAYS diligent about reading labels as we are together. I worry about his teenage and college years, I can't always be there for him to protect him. Those years have the highest deaths of children with food allergies. I love him so much! I am certain I have created an anxiety discorder for myself due to this worry. But he is worth it.
He is so brave. He owns his allergies and is remarkabley proud of them. He says they make him who he is. I tell him that God new he would a messanger to bring awareness and he is just that a messanger.
I can tell that being around food outside of our house makes him nervous. You may not be able to tell, but I can. If he declines your nice spread, even though you have reassured him it's safe, please don't be offended. He is doing his job of being safe. People who don't walk in our shoes have the best of intentions, but a little oversight can cost him his life. He will always accept Oreos, those are safe for him! (I always double check when I buy a new pack, just to be safe!!)