As my daughter fast approaches her 18th Birthday, prepares to sit her A Levels, looks forward to a holiday in Spain with friends and anticipates her life at University,
I find myself daily wondering how I will learn to adapt to ‘letting go’.
Since the age of 11 when Allergy hit like a bolt of lightning, life has been one long whirlwind of emotions. Initially I grieved a life I thought my daughter wouldn’t have. I anticipated so many barriers that would stop her from reaching her goals. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We are told that allergy shouldn’t define the child but yet we battle at times to stop this happening. It can be discriminatory policies at school, issues when attempting to eat out or travel abroad. Exclusion being the choice rather than inclusion. However our kids are pretty special. They experience discrimination and anxiety yes but their determination and empathy to others is amazing. My daughter faced her allergy with a maturity I didn’t expect to see from one so young, it was she that calmed me down on many an occasion, particularly in the early years. No one can truely understand, unless they walk in our shoes, the anxiety of how something so many take daily for granted, food, could cause so much harm to a loved one. My daughter taught me how to control the fear by showing me she understood risks and made informed choices off her own back.
Support groups have been my saviour. Without the help of virtual allergy friends in the early years I without a doubt would have broken down. To know with one hit of the post button someone somewhere is happy to lend an ear, provide support and share very similar experiences is beyond measurable.
So here I am 7 years on. Four support groups, three petitions & two nationwide Allergy campaigns run with other equally determined allergy mums. Who would have thought that life would turn out this way? I didn’t do any of these things for anything more than trying provide support where I saw a gap, Campaign where I saw an injustice, I was horrified when I was once accused of being on a ‘ power trip’ by another allergy parent! who would want to gain ‘attention’ from life threatening allergy? Beggars belief they could say this. This is just me. Determined and stubborn yes but ultimately trying to be’ useful ‘.
The reason I created this post was to thank all of my ‘ allergy family ‘ and the constant support you give me. There are amazing social media support groups for allergy out there that have their place in supporting us. I have read comments from medical ‘experts’ claiming all our groups do is increase anxiety and fear monger. Absolute nonsense. These ‘experts’ need to walk in our shoes for a week, they might well view them differently.
So please bear with me if I’m a little absent at times over the next few months . There will be times I won’t want to face the reality of my daughter flying the ‘ nest’. ( although she constantly reminds me University term times are shorter than I remember ). I have recruited amazing Admins to support the largest two of my pages and together we will have it covered I’m sure.
My daughter once put into a phrase how I wanted to sum up Nutfreeliving. Why I had created the groups‘’ ....
“ Sometimes life can be a little too nutty”,
....from some questionable medical policies on #alwayscarrytwo and practices, food labeling, to the heavily marketed nut based products the general public loves to consume, she wasn’t wrong!