Feeding Eden, Susan Weissman
The first time I had dinner with Susan and her husband Andy they told me about their kids and that one of them had severe allergies. My response, I believe, was that sucks. I know how hard it is because I had seen with two families that we knew live with severe food allergy kids.
The constant fear of something terrible happening looms over head at all times. Something terrible could mean death. I learned how to administer an eppi pen so that I could walk one of the kids to Hebrew school on occasion. I watched as they packed a special meal for their child everyday including a special snack. Most of their food was baked with loving hands at home. I heard the stories of going to the hospital every year to get tested again and again to see if they had grown out of their allergies.
One of the kids actually did grow out of most of their allergies, the other did not. Along with those allergies come other things such a eczema and for this particular kid ocular issues. What was fascinating to me is how so many people disregard their fears as if having life threatening allergies wasn't real. Like serving salty nuts at a party where kids are running around with that on their skin or handing a slice of pizza to their kid at a party. So not ok and so disrespectful not having any regard for what that family goes through. Just plain stupid and perhaps uninformed.
Susan writes about the trials and triumphs of having a food allergy family. It is not a deck you want to be dealt. She is honest and transparent about the difficulties and the frustrations that she encountered. As kids with allergies has become less rare and more prevelant in our society, this is a book that every parent should read. It really helps you understand exactly the dynamics of living with life threatening allergies. Every teacher should read it too. It is a book that needed to be written…and should be read.
(Feeding Eden can pre-order the book on Amazon – it comes out on March 6).
people can be so ignorant. If something doesn’t affect them, they have no empathy.
so true. i am amazed that people have no understanding of this particular topic.
Hear, hear! One of my dearest friends has a little boy with a peanut allergy + has had to endure years of ignorance and callous comments. The most powerful thing she said is that having a peanuts in school is the equivalent of having a gun in school for her child.That is chilling.
wow. our school is totally peanut free and they take it very seriously. the one kid i wrote about who never grew out of his allergies ate lunch every day in the cafeteria with the nurse, just in case. our school, i will say, is very aware of this particular issue.
Hi Joanne,Great Post – we have three wonderful children. Lizzie – our oldest had no food allergies, our next two Lauren and Jimmy had food allergies and recently outgrew them.My Darling wife had to prepare special meals for them; prepare & pack school lunches each day…if we ever went out to dinner – we have to prepare, pack and bring meals for the two children – and then apologize to the server that we were only buying three dinners even though we had a table for five. There was always issues w/ going away on family vacations.Health Care – my view on health care changed after taking multiple ambulance rides to the ER. One time my poor Lauren thought she was dying. We are fortunate enough to be able to afford health care – I worry for the people who can not afford health coverage and wondered what they do!PEACEJohn
We have lots to be thankful for. 🙂
Thank you my friend
you are very lucky on all counts particularly that your kids outgrew the allergies
I like ‘wake up’ posts like this every once a while. Reminds us to pause and thank god for all that we have.
My business is a camp for kids, so I deal with a lot of allergies / health concerns. My enrollment is more fluid than regular school so it’s more difficult to set the stage for no extra snacks, ect. I have a few parents who will surprise me by making cupcakes and bringing pizzas.These food is love and treats makers often ask me to serve all the other kids and find something else to give the allergic kids. ( leaving me inadequate time to find a allergy free cupcake for example) I felt terrible sending the homemade treats back… because the food as love parents feel a little rebuffed. More universal knowledge around this issue would be great and save me from the thing I like least, saying no!
Universal knowledge is the key to making it easier on everyone. It is about community here. You should get this book and give it to all the counselors to read.
A daughter of my very close friend (and my daughter’s former classmate) has very severe allergies to nut, milk and egg. Adding milk + egg to the ‘unsafe’ mix is, no exaggeration, petrifying. An inhaled airborne cheese flake from Pirate Booty could end in the worst.I remember meeting Kim for the very first time and all I have to say is thank God this little kid was matched with her mom. She is a huge bridge-builder and when you meet her she puts it out right there. “Hi — it’s so nice to meet you. You may have heard about me. My daughter is a great kid with life-threatening allergies. I’d really appreciate your help in working with me to keep her safe, and helping your child be aware, too.” A woman who gets shit done. This girl didn’t have a meal without her mom watching her directly until she was 4. Her grandparents mean well but don’t totally ‘get it’. Traveling to visit them is a stress-bomb because of course their house isn’t totally safe. We’re all epi-trained. The extra logistics she has to deal with on top of all the regular life stuff boggles your mind. She struggled to get her very bright daughter into an elementary school due to the severity. Communal food events pretty much require that Kim *run* them to make sure they’re safe for her daughter. Lindsay is 8 now and really wants to feel normal. Who can blame her? Anyway, it takes a village and Kim’s built her village. But some days the pressure is off the charts and as strong as she is she needs a shoulder to cry on. You do the best you can and frankly pray for the best.Looking forward to reading the book.
wow. i know a few people like your friend and i believe susan is one of them. not an easy road to deal with but the consequences could be death. to have that hanging in the air everyday has to be just overwhelming.