I deal with my feelings of jealousy daily.
I am jealous of families who do not have to deal with food allergies.
Those families can take a break from cooking and go out for a meal at a restaurant or pick something up on the way home. They can plan a vacation without checking in to the location of the closest hospital or booking a place with a full kitchen and grocery stores nearby. They don’t need to request to pre-board the airplane to wipe down the seats or just book vacations to places to which they can drive to avoid air travel and being seated next to someone eating their kids’ allergens. They can send their kids to school and camp and not have to worry about the foods other kids eat around them or offer to them. They don’t have to buy epi-pens and monitor expiration dates and ensure the medical bag is stocked and ready to go each time they go out. They can go to a buffet or a potluck and not have to pack their own food. Their kids can stay for the whole birthday party instead of having to leave when the cake and pizza are served. They post pictures of all the food they eat and the places they can go.
They don’t have the stress of constant vigilance to ensure that their children are not mistakenly exposed to their allergens.
They can be spontaneous and care free.
They don’t have to worry about their children as they grow up being excluded from social events, not being able to go to the local coffee place to hang out or tell them to ask their partner what they ate before kissing them. They don’t have to worry about someone deliberately trying to hurt them with their allergens.
I am jealous of those people who don’t have to read labels, check ingredients, call companies requesting information about shared lines, or what natural flavours or spices mean. They don’t have to monitor their child every time they cough or get a hive, epi-pen at the ready. They don’t have to watch their son left out – not invited to his friend’s birthday party at the Mandarin or watch their daughter’s sad, disappointed face – leaving a birthday party early as she watches her friends laughingly enjoying themselves while eating pizza and ice cream cake. They don’t have to sit anxiously in a movie theatre, wiping down seats and hand rests in case there is food residue from the previous occupant.
They don’t live with the fear of an unguarded moment, a forgotten epi-pen, a bite of unsafe food, an anaphylactic reaction, seeing their child not able to breathe, a 911 call, an ambulance to the ER. They don’t live with the fear of losing their child before being able to say good-bye.