A Letter of Gratitude from a Food Allergy Mommy

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Dear Fellow Mom, Neighbor, Room Parent, Best Friend,

I want to express how grateful I am for the role you have played in our family. I am not sure that you are aware that I secretly look for hives or any reaction after my son eats a new food or we try a new restaurant. Since my son was one, I have unfortunately (like so many parents) known the anxiety of having a child with a severe food allergy. I also have the opportunity to learn from him and see firsthand how there are so many thoughtful and empathetic people.

You may not know what goes on in my brain, but you are kind enough to make life a little easier for us. I never expect life to change just for my son who has a food allergy. He has learned that life usually will not change just for him and it is a lesson he must learn to manage before going out into the world. I will never forget the day he cried at school because he didn’t have someone to sit with him at his peanut table. It was a teachable moment.

He knows that we need to sort through Halloween candy, he knows to ask you to read a label if I am not there or he is uncertain. He usually reminds me to make sure I have his EpiPen when we leave to go somewhere. We make sure to bring a separate treat for him at parties. He needs these skills to make his life functional even with a food allergy.

However, to these amazing humans that go the extra step….

To the mom who called me during their Valentine’s party because my son really wanted a cookie but knew to ask for help. You FaceTimed me so I could make sure it was okay.  Thank you.

To one of our best friends who packs their kids something different than peanut butter sandwiches when we go out. Thank you.

To the mom I do not even know, who my son told me made sure to pack something for lunch so her son could sit by my son every day. Wow, thank you.

To the allergist who gives us hope, thank you.

To the family members and friends who take time to learn right along with me and ask what my son can have, thank you.

To the parent who reached out during Halloween and asked if there were any allergies.  Thank you.

And if you have a child with a severe food allergy, I hope you are able to surround yourself with others that can help you. It can be especially challenging around the holidays. You know the importance of a plan. I can appreciate the endless hours you have spent researching and learning how to navigate an allergy. You have become a professional room scanner during the holidays, assessing the unknown treats and making sure to talk to the hosts. You think about keeping your kid safe and fill out plans every year. It can be a lot.

Know that you are their mommy for a reason. Take a deep breath. You got this.

It will become second nature.

But for those times you others helped us relax just a little bit more.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

a Worrying, Loving, Appreciative Food Allergy Mommy

peanut allergy

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Melissa Burnett
Melissa Burnett was born in New Jersey but moved to Ohio at the beginning of a school year where she thought her parents forgot her at Kindergarten and spent most of her first day in tears. Since then, she learned to transfer her imagination onto paper and write stories. She taught Title 1 Reading and wrote children’s books before embarking on her journey into parenthood. Melissa is a mother to twin boys and a younger boy who keeps her on her toes. She enjoys Friday stay home movie night with her boys and dreaming up business ideas with her extremely patient and loving husband. When she is not breaking up wrestling matches, Melissa and her husband spend their time working on rental cabins in Hocking Hills. They also enjoy popcorn and coming up with new popcorn flavors. Melissa promises she does not have motherhood figured out, but she does have many funny stories to share and a word of advice “when you go through the car wash with kids…make sure your window lock is on.” Follow her blog: melissaburnett.com

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