The Day We Forgot The Allergen-Free Cupcake

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Two of my three children have food allergies, but I feel like we’re seasoned veterans in the game, and not too much throws us for a loop at this point. My five year old got invited to her classmate’s birthday party. When I called to RSVP, I said “No problem” when the mom mentioned there would be pizza and cake — neither of which, in their traditional forms, Sophie can have.

When there’s a birthday at school, Sophie’s teacher gives us a heads up if someone will be bringing in cupcakes or pizza, and my saint of a husband will usually whip up allergen-free pizza and defrost a cupcake the morning of. (We bake “Sophie-safe” cupcakes in bulk and freeze them for such an occasion.)

The day of the party, we all pile into our babe-mobile (my name for our ultra-cool minivan), and drop off my husband and Sophie at the birthday party. I continue on with Remmy (my eldest, 6) and Minnie (my youngest, 3) to a restaurant for a little bonding time.

We order food and sit and color. As the food arrives, I get a text from my husband.

Forgot the cupcake at home.

Oh no.

At this point, we’re all about five bites in, and I relay the message to my daughters. Remmy’s eyes widen. As a food-allergy kid, she knows the disappointment of showing up to a party and not being able to eat anything there. When the diagnoses first came around, we had declined birthday party invitations altogether to avoid wiping away tears because they couldn’t participate in the sundae bar or eat Smores around the campfire.

The Day We Forgot The Allergen-Free Cupcake: Food Allergy Awareness Month

Remmy put her sandwich down. “Mommy, can we leave right now and bring Sophie’s cupcake to her?”

I text my husband back, hand off my credit card to the server, and start wrapping up food. The three of us hustle off back to the babe-mobile, and I get another text.

Everyone’s eating pizza. Will be starting cake in about ten or so.

We drive. As we approach the house, I ask Remmy and Minnie if they need to take a quick bathroom break before heading back to the party — they had pounded water at the restaurant.

“No, Mommy! I can wait. I just really want to get Sophie’s cupcake to her because I don’t want her to feel left out!”

As I pull in the driveway, I shout to my neighbor washing his car that I’ll be right back; our neighbors are really friendly and happy to keep an eye out when needed. I dash inside, stick the cupcake in a Tupperware container, and run back outside.

We pull up to the party, and I hand off the cupcake through the driver’s side window to my husband, who whisks Sophie back inside just in time to sing Happy Birthday and cut into a beautiful Elsa cake (Remmy begged for photos).

Remmy, Minnie, and I hit the local Target for a bathroom break and to kill some time checking out clothes in the girls’ section.

“I’m really glad Sophie was able to have a cupcake,” Remmy sighs thoughtfully in front of a table of leggings.

“Me too,” I say.

Thirty minutes later, Sophie is all smiles and regales us with stories from her friend’s birthday celebration.

I catch a glimpse of Remmy in the rearview mirror. While our journey with food allergies has been a tough one, I am so pleased that because of it or maybe in spite of it, my six-year old acts with compassion and kindness — traits I hope our society can continue to cultivate as food allergy awareness grows.


We’d love it if you shared this post in support of Food Allergy Awareness Month!

Roo Ciambriello

If Scratch or Sniff founder/editor Roo Ciambriello could list all of her favorite things, they'd include her sweet little family, food trucks, and every AMA Snoop Dogg has done on Reddit. Roo is a copywriter out of New Haven, Connecticut, and loves writing fun stories on the backs of potato chip bags and cereal boxes in Whole Foods, Target, Nordstrom, Kroger, y mucho mas. Roo creates voices for brands, ghostwrites for celebrities, writes a personal website, and is (much to the chagrin of those around her) pretty active on Twitter. You can also find her providing commentary on advertising/branding at Adweek and eating fajitas on deadline days.

11 Comments to The Day We Forgot The Allergen-Free Cupcake

    • Roo Ciambriello

      She is a really good sister. :)

    • Roo Ciambriello

      Me too! :D

  1. Kaitlyn

    This seriously brought tears to my eyes. I don’t have kids, and can’t imagine the panic that you felt at that moment, but it just shows what a great mom you are to your girls that they had such compassion to want to help their sister so much. I know it was probably a rough day with all of that running around, but in hindsight it’s a great tribute to you, your husband, and your beautiful girls. Thanks for making my day a little brighter with such a lovely story :)

    • Roo Ciambriello

      Ohh, Kaitlyn, thank you so much for saying that! I’m really lucky to have such a sweet little family. :)

  2. What a thoughtful sister Sophie has. My youngest son has several food allergies and can relate to your story. Luckily, he has supportive brothers who look our for him.

    • Roo Ciambriello

      Awww, so glad that he has his big brothers looking out for him, Desiree. :)

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