Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday, Monday

Monday morning. The weekend’s over. That means we’re back into the daily melee of packing the school lunch, finding the matching socks, flattening the wild bed-head hair so he doesn’t frighten the teachers, reloading the backpack, listening for the carpool honk.

It’s also milk delivery day. I order milk, eggs, and bread from a local dairy because they’re hormone-free (the milk and eggs, that is, not the dairy employees). It’s more expensive, but it makes me feel like I’m doing something healthy for my family. Gotta counter-act the PopTarts and drive-thru burgers somehow!

Over the last couple of years, this dairy has been turning into a grocery store on wheels. They keep adding food to their available stock. First, it was fruit juices and yogurts. Then they added fresh produce. Over the last year, they’ve been adding hormone-free meats (tempting, but way out of my weekly grocery budget because it’s so much more expensive than grocery store choices), as well as Italian and Mexican food, such as pasta sauces and tamales. Last week, I noticed they added coffee beans. (What ARE they feeding those cows, anyway?)

This morning, I got an email survey from them, asking about more food choices and how likely I’d be to purchase them from the dairy. The interesting thing was that the very first question was something like “What dietary choices do you make when buying food for your family?” The options I could check included “Allergy: Nuts,” “Allergy: Milk,” and “Allergy: Wheat,” along with things like “Low Fat” and “Diabetic.”

Food allergy awareness! Yippee!

Five years ago, I felt like Kim and I were the only people in Utah who knew about food allergies. Now I find allergy warnings and information on restaurant menus, door signs at fast food joints, food packaging, and now even consumer surveys!

This makes me happy because… well, you know. I’m selfish. I want everyone to know about allergies so that it will make my son’s life (and mine) easier.

But all this food allergy awareness also makes me sad because… it means a lot more kids have food allergies. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But it’s a fact of life nowadays, so there you go.

At our support group meeting last Wednesday, a new mom came. (New to allergies, I mean, not new to being a mom! I’ve really got to learn to be more specific.) She’d recently discovered her child was allergic to nuts, and she was having a hard time dealing with it because she felt so overwhelmed and alone. She seemed quite glad to find us, and we welcomed her into the “club” with open arms and hopefully enough encouragement and information to help get her through this tough adjustment period.

As hard as it is for anyone to learn they’ve got to deal with allergies, I am so glad that for this mom, life will be just a little easier than it would have been 5 years ago, because awareness is rising. And it’s because of a million other ordinary moms and dads just like us, all across the country, who are quietly having to explain to teachers, relatives, neighbors, restaurant managers, and babysitters that food allergies have to be understood and accommodated.

Amazing what we everyday folk can do, isn’t it? After all that, surviving a Monday morning is a piece of (allergen-free) cake.

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