By Liljia Polo-Richards
… and keep them forever! This is the advice I would give to anyone coping with food allergies.
What do I mean by this?
When Francesco was first diagnosed with his tree nuts allergy, we felt totally lost. For a few weeks we avoided seeing anybody, as we were adjusting to our new reality. Then we started opening up with all our friends, and their response and support was simply incredible!
Fast forward two and a bit years, and those very friends are still around, still caring for our boy and doing everything they can to keep him safe and make him feel welcome.
Recently we’d been invited to three birthday parties. First thing to come to my mind was “will there be anything safe for him to eat?” a very natural thought that any parent has when coping with food allergies.
Then I messaged my friends to ask if it was ok not to serve any food containing nuts, I even offered to bring some food to the party, and the response from all of them was “there will be absolutely nothing dangerous for Francesco, we’d already thought about it”. One friend even apologised for not telling me this sooner…!
I had a little tear as I read their messages, and realised how very lucky we are to have surrounded ourselves with the best of friends, the kindest people you can think of.
I worry about next September, when Francesco starts school, he will meet new friends and confront himself with a new reality. Then I think about all the incredible people we have met and how much they’ve done to make my boy feel included, and never different… and my hope is that he continues to make friends with more wonderful people. We will deal with awkward situations at some point, I’m sure.
Not today though. Today I am simply counting my blessings.