It's the constant battle of what's fair and not fair at my house. My oldest daughter Julia is allergic to Milk, Eggs and Peanuts and obviously avoiding those three allergens can be difficult. My youngest Emma is not allergic to the same foods and of course that poses a big problem in our home!
The other day when we were at Costco, Emma wanted a sample of the carmel popcorn that was being handed out. Julia immediately gets this look of anger on her face, as if she resents Emma for being able to eat the popcorn. The usual reaction is her shutting down, getting angry with me and her sister. I get it and I understand why she's angry. I just hopes that she understands that it isn't her sisters fault or my fault either. I always make treats that are allergy free at home so that Julia can have something special whenever she wants. I know that those moments come up where she can't eat what others are having and I always like to have something available for her that is safe. I would hope that she would understand that sometimes her sister is going to want to eat something with milk or eggs. After all, she isn't allergic to the same foods why should she be deprived from what she wants.
I don't know when she'll stop being angry. I just hope that she begins to understand that food allergies are just a small part of what she is. I try to remind her of all the wonderful things going on with her life.
As her mother, I feel so torn about how to handle this at times. Yes, her food allergies are a very serious thing but I don't want her to constantly fear life. I want to see that carefree look on her face like I see on Emma's face. It's a fine line because I want her to be concerned and always be on top of it although, I don't want her to feel as though she's up against a brick wall. I want her to see the glass half full. Sometimes I have to pull the "other kids have it worse than you card". Yes, I try to make her realize that life isn't so bad after all and there are children out there with life threatening illnesses. I hate to do that but, it's only then when her big brown eyes open wide and realize that she doesn't have it as bad as she thinks she does.
I always get upset when people turn to me and tell me that they feel sorry for my daughter, calling her a "poor thing". It kills me to have people feel sorry for Julia! Please don't feel sorry for her. She has a mother who diligently cares for her and lives for her every need, and I think that makes her quite lucky in many ways. She eats mainly homemade food, everything made especially from her mommy. How many children can say that? I don't mean to toot my own horn but come on people, I spend a huge portion of my day in the kitchen and I'm happy to say that I would do forever if it meant keeping her safe! Please never say that you feel sorry for children with food allergies, I believe that I can speak for most parents of children with food allergies in that we don't want your pity. We would like your compassion and understanding.
I think more than anything, I want Julia to stop feeling sorry for herself. It really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks but her. I want so badly for her to feel more confident and less scared.
On the way home from Costco, I remember telling her that my wish for her would be that she stops feeling angry. I know that's easier said than done, but that's my wish.