A lot of my co-workers are moms and dads. They work hard with me all day and then go home and take care of their families, help with homework, make dinner, get bathes in, the usual. But one of my co-workers has a little boy with a life threatening food allergy. Peanuts, all nuts really, are the enemy, and having known mom and son for three years now, I can tell you that it is in fact a constant battle. Her son started school this year, and being around so many children and adults has made the fight even harder, especially when she isn’t around to help him make smart choices.
So with Mother’s Day just behind us, and this week being National Food Allergy Awareness Week, the struggles of moms and kids with allergies has definitely been on my mind. And what I’ve learned most is that it’s all about information. Information that moms with food allergy kids are happy to give. And that information often comes with incentives as well, be that treats that are free of whatever allergen is the culprit, or teal awareness ribbons, which will remind the wearer and anyone who sees them to be mindful of what they’re eating when they’re in an area with a food allergy child.
Having a food allergy can be scary until it’s under control. My coworker knows this first hand. She’s had more than one faux heart attack getting a call from school that someone accidentally brought nuts into the classroom. Her son is fine though, and with increased knowledge of his condition, his teachers and classmates have come to not only understand food allergies, but to respect his differences and eagerly go peanut free in his presence.
If you know someone with a food allergy, tell them they have your support. It’s a big world, and awareness isn’t as high as it should be for something as serious as this. Having cards with info of good and bad foods to hand out is always helpful, and including a little “thank you” with awareness ribbons doesn’t hurt. Knowledge is power, and it’s also peace of mind for moms and dads, especially for my co-worker. Cause we want her son around for a long time: he rocks.