Today is Field Day for my kids. They are super excited. There is also a school-wide celebration because the school met their goal for collecting box tops. They are having a school-wide ice cream party. I almost forgot to tell my son. I believe it's supposed to be a surprise for the kids. It works better for me to prepare him.
There is a good chance that the ice cream the school ordered through food services won't be safe for him to eat.
I remember right as he was walking out the door. I tell him about the ice cream. To which he says, "What if it isn't safe?" I tell him that I went to the store and bought safe ice cream. I tell him that I even made sure it is the kind of ice cream in a cup with a little spoon attached. I prepare him that it won't be the same kind as every one else. He nods. He's satisfied. He will have ice cream and it will be safe. Out the door they go. My oldest is armed with knowing ahead of time about the school surprise. My peanut allergy kid is prepared for another school celebration involving food.
I watched them leave for school. I walked back in the house wondering when I should head to the school. I couldn't help but think about how adaptable my son's food allergy has made my family. We do what we can, when we can. We try to explain to others as best as we can. Above all, we protect what my son eats.
On Wednesday, my son went to a birthday party. We got the invite late. It came home in his school folder on Tuesday. I didn't see it until Wednesday morning. I had a full day planned and no way to make alternate dessert preparations. I spent the day trying to get in touch with the kid's mom to no avail. My son had to make a choice. Did he want to go to the party, even if he couldn't have dessert? He did. He wanted to go celebrate with his school friend. I brought him a bunch of candy to enjoy while the other kids had cake. As it turned out, they had ice cream that was safe for him. He was delighted to be a part of the party and didn't mind missing out on cake.
My son constantly teaches me the value of being flexible.
He is teaching me.
I teach him about the necessity of reading food labels and how not everyone understands to look for allergy warnings. I teach about the seriousness of his food allergy.
He teaches me that it's possible to enjoy life being different. He shows me that you don't have to have what everyone else has to have a good time. He reminds me that just being people don't consider your circumstances that doesn't mean they don't care.
These lessons learned are a beautiful fallout from my son's peanut allergy. This is a silver lining on the gray cloud of food allergies.