I’ve also come to realize that I need to focus my energy on the topics that are necessary to his safety and let go of the rest, hoping we can educate on other things along the way – needs vs wants! Would I love it if every teacher understood that he feels excluded when food is used as a reward? Of course, but that’s not realistic. It would be great if anytime the school called my house during school hours they prefaced the conversation with “everything’s fine” so I don’t have a heart attack, but I also realize that’s not always going to happen. You have to walk this life to really understand it - while we live it with every breath, the rest of the world doesn’t. I’m sure there are lots of other families dealing with medical conditions that feel the same way, just without the stigma that food allergies seem to have. I’ve also learned to let go of caring about the stigma – we’ll do what works for us and not worry about the rest. It’s been very freeing to stop worrying what we look like toting our bag of medications in on the first day of school. And then I’ll see another mom with her box of epis and feel a little lighter. Even though this is the club no one wants to join, it’s nice to know you’re not the only one in it!
Gabrielle Gessner is a Mom of 2 boys, ages 10 (no allergies) and 8 (anaphylactic to peanuts and tree nuts), who works in clinical trials intelligence in infectious diseases. I'm a proud hockey and lacrosse mom, and die-hard Boston Bruins fan. When I'm not at the rink/field and the Bruins aren't playing, I enjoy reading, video games, and general geekiness.