Sometimes as parents of children with allergies we are faced with having difficult conversations with kids and parents about allergies. Some go really well and people understand and empathize and others go really, really bad! This can cause major stress for parents. I am finding as I navigate through this journey with Zoe that I tend to think every conversation is going to be bad but they don’t have to be.
Last week I was waiting for Zoe at her school and I noticed a parent snacking in the waiting area. It looked like she was eating nuts and I had a full on internal reaction. I had been speaking to another parent and my brain just turned that conversation off and laser beamed straight into *danger *danger*warning- NUTS!!! I didn't know 100% but I did have a couple parents say to me that they thought they were. I breathed through it because I didn’t know for sure but my mind was spinning with thoughts of how, as parents, we should be so careful. We know the majority of classrooms are nut free so let’s try and keep the ALL areas of school as safe as possible.
I waited one day after this happened to gather thoughts and courage. I didn’t want to create tension or any stress because I really like this parent and I know if they were nuts it was just an oversight. So, I sent an email asking if they were nuts. I also reiterated the severity of Zoe’s allergies and my fear around this. Here is the response:
Yes, I'm guilty! I do appreciate you reaching out and making me aware.
Honestly I was just oblivious and was thinking "I'm going to be here until 9:30, I need to eat something".
I will definitely be more mindful in the future. Truly, I can't imagine your daily concerns. In general, I only pack nut free for school but that needs to extend to me too!
Phew! I can’t even tell you how incredibly grateful I am to receive this response. It makes an allergy parent’s life so much less stressful when we are able to approach and discuss with true concern without the fear of any kind of negative reaction.
So, don’t be afraid of those difficult conversations. From these talks comes more awareness and safety for our kids. And if you are not an allergy parent and someone comes to speak to you about their concerns, please be patient and kind. We fear for our kids everyday and are just looking to create a safer environment for them.