Posted by: Amy | April 3, 2009

Food Allergies and the Social World

I know, the title is a bit strange. I just need to write about something that has been on my mind.

I have written previously that my son with the life threatening food allergies started kindergarten this year. I have been amazed at how wonderful his teacher has been about following our guidelines in regards to keeping him safe. She has called me several times with questions when she wasn’t sure about something. I think this is great. It makes me feel like she is really on top of things. It is not really anything to do with the school that bothers me. It is that meeting new people with children at the school who are new to the world of food allergies.

I didn’t realize until recently that I have been living in a “safe” world of friendship for quite awhile now. A few years ago when we moved into our new house, I went through the exhausting task of teaching our new friends in the neighborhood about little R’s food allergies and explaining to them how his life can be truly threatened in a matter of minutes. They have all come to truly understand the situation and are very supportive.

Just recently, through school, we have started making new friends. They are wonderful people. I really enjoy the company of these moms, and my son likes playing with their children. I have found, though, that I have had a hard time making it clear that little R’s food allergies are pretty severe.

There are many other children at the school who have peanut allergies and they do fine there. I think that it is too easy to get lumped in a group in which it seems easy to assume that we are all the same. As a food allergy mom I know that each child’s situation is different, though. What may work for these other children may not work for us. It is hard to explain that to someone on the outside.

I have made the final decision to homeschool starting next year. Though the food allergies play a part in my decision, there are many other reasons as well. The point is that I have made the decision known, and I think some of these other moms may fell I am being overprotective. I am sure that looking in from the outside, it may appear to look that way. But, when it comes to my dear chlidren, I feel that my ultimate job as a parent… before anything else… is to keep them safe.

I know that parents in the food allergy world will understand where I am coming from. I guess that is why I needed to write this post. I sometimes feel very alone in this world of food allergies, and right now I could use some words of encouragement.

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