A Heartfelt Thanks

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The older I get, the more I value real, genuine friendships. The kind where you don’t even feel the need to apologize for the mess in your basement – when you know you wouldn’t be caught dead allowing most people even near the lowest level in the house.

I’m lucky enough to have these types of friends. As our friendships have grown, and as Zachary has gotten older and more socially independent, I find myself appreciating having friends like Heather – someone without food allergies in her own family, but who is willing to learn, grow, and include kids like my son in both the big and small things.

So, on behalf of allergy parents everywhere, I’d like to take a moment to thank you, our friends and family members, whose care and thoughtfulness is noticed at every turn. You’ll never know the depth of our gratitude.

Thank you for asking me about my son’s allergies and what foods would be safe for him to eat. Know this: I fully expect to bring food to each occasion. When you go out of your way to include him – even just a little bit – I *will* cry the teensiest amount when we talk. I just can’t help it.

Thank You Friends and FamilyThank you for not rolling your eyes when I ask what brand of noodles you used in your lasagna. You’d be surprised what labels won’t tell you.

Speaking of labels, thank you for allowing me to dig through your trash to review the label one last time before saying it’s okay to eat.

Thank you for listening to my inane chatter about cross contamination, and how using a baking stone could cause our food to come into contact with allergens and that aluminum pans are safest for us. (Side note: I’m always happy to provide baking dishes and utensils, or even make the whole darn dish. I pretty much live in the kitchen anyway, and I’d be happy to make that contribution.)

Thank you for the times you’ve shown me how you moved all the peanut and tree nut products onto a higher shelf so that my son wouldn’t accidentally grab and eat something so very dangerous to him.

Thank you for being willing to learn. You have no idea the amount of trust I have in you just because you are willing to learn to read labels, learn about (and find on your own!) safe brands, and text me to double check that a particular food is safe.

Thank you for including my son. To be sure, he is more than used to bringing his own food pretty much everywhere. So, to be a part of the crowd as a “regular kid” for even just one event? Well, it may be that even I don’t know how good that feels.

You must understand, we families that live with food allergies expect none of this. We know it’s a stretch and a learning curve and all that. So, we don’t expect a single thing. And because we expect nothing, your generous giving makes our time with you that much sweeter.

I wish there were more eloquent words to say thank you. Thank you seems so trite and small when something big, and loud, and bold seems much more appropriate.

But since I can’t seem to find those words and I can’t make it more colorful and meaningful, I say: Thank you.

You are a friend I would show my basement to.

Thank You

Tiffany Self

Tiffany Self is a wife, mom to "Z", and a lover of words. In an ironic twist, she is an English class dropout who now writes for a living. Tiffany is a freelancer in the Chicago suburbs by way of Seattle and Southern Oregon. She writes about her journey of parenting a child with multiple severe food allergies, asthma, and environmental allergies. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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