Being the parent of an allergic child means constantly being on guard. It means your heart lives in your throat during every meal in a restaurant, because you just really don't know if they'll come in contact with an allergen.
It means being afraid to let your child go on class trips, and nearly passing out from fear when the phone rings and it's the child's school calling. Being the parent of a child with allergies means being prepared, always. It also means being sure everyone around the child is hyper-prepared.
When they're allergic to foods, it means carrying EpiPens and Allerjects and Benadryl and puffers everywhere, always. It means explaining ad nauseam how to care for them when you're not around. It means worrying relentlessly.
It means being that parent—the one who always asks too many questions and seems like the most overprotective parent ever. It means learning about things that you really don't understand at the most basic scientific level.
It means no more spontaneous road trips. It means being nervous on airplanes. It means no carefree stops for ice cream. No adventurous new cuisines. It means reading every single label and every single ingredient and knowing fourteen different words for "milk."
It means becoming an ardent advocate for food allergy awareness, and food labelling. It means so much more than just popping some meds in a bag and carrying on with life.
The fact that you're reading my blog means that the dialogue about food allergies is happening, and that's a great thing. The more we talk about them, the more we understand them, the more we see the faces of those affected by them, the easier it becomes to sympathize and want to support those with allergies. We can do this!
I want to thank Shirley Broback for having me on her Real Parenting show on CFAX 1070 in Victoria. Here's the interview where I talk about what it's like to parent a child with life-threatening food allergies, and how it feels to hear the negative comments about accommodating these allergies. (My segment starts around the 6:30 mark.)