Look people, I am not really going to slap anyone’s birthday cake out of their hands…
But if I did, I would probably be good at it. No, like really good at it. I’m serious. Okay, I might actually try it.
But seriously ever since my daughter had her first reaction to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I’ve been a nervous wreck about whatever she eats. Every single thing. When we first discovered her allergy it took me two hours to go through everything at the grocery store before finally checking out with about two items. Eventually, over time, I figured it out “oh! just eat actual food!” Our whole family had to make some big adjustments, adjustments that were actually a total blessing and changed the way we look at food in general. For instance we just dialed it way back and ate lots of fruits and vegetables and some meats – I rationalized that there would be very little chance of cross-contamination with broccoli or swiss chard. So, for the past two years we have eaten relatively clean and carried her epi-pen in a little pouch with detailed instructions for anyone who would be caring for her for any period of time.
Of course, I would freak out if one of us forgot the epi-pouch we kept her stuff in and I would make us turn the car around to grab her emergency supplies even if it meant we were late. I pretty much raked my husband over the coals for feeding her an unmarked cake pop from a familiar coffee shop because the teenage worker claimed “yeah, like, I think there are definitely not peanuts in them” after knowing that all of those baked good are prepared off-site and the chance of cross-contamination is extremely high. And there have been electric tantrums when we have to leave a birthday party early or before cake is served just so that we can protect her from eating something of which we cannot confirm the ingredients. It’s stressful. I wish I could say that my neuroses had lessened over time, but…well, not so much.
We have our favorite brands of things we can offer as snacks. We have our “hippie” food and candy that we can give her on occasions such as Christmas (candy canes) and Halloween (Yummy Earth has lollipops and gummi bears that suffice) and our family has gotten used to baked goods that taste like saw dust. And I’m totally okay with that. I am totally okay with making adjustments, because that’s what you do for your kids. You do everything you can to keep them safe and you do whatever it takes to make them better when they are sick. People may not understand food allergies, but I know that deep down every single parent understands that they would do anything for their kids.
So, when I am anxious at your party (i.e. hover over my child like a helicopter, scratch that, military drone) or ask for a list of ingredients, I hope you understand that I’m just protecting my kid. It’s what we do as parents. It just looks different for each of us. I will control what I can control and then I have to leave the rest to God – and truly he is the one in control anyway, He just lets me think I am for some reason.
And, If you ever want me to demonstrate my mad birthday cake slapping skills, I will do that too. I have a pretty good arm, so just be sure to step aside.