Food Allergies, Awareness and Gratitude

This week is Food Allergy Awareness Week and I’d like to take a moment to thank the people at Daughter’s school, who have been incredible this school year…
To Mr. K.–cowboy principal,
When I first met you, I nicknamed you our cowboy principal because you’re more concerned with what’s best for the students, rather than the politics.  While our school has strong guidelines for handling food allergies, you reinforced how important it was to uphold.  No exceptions.  No how.  You cannot imagine the peace of mind that gives me. Thank you. 
To Ms. H. and Mrs. E.–teacher extraordinaires,
Daughter adores the both of you and will miss you terribly when she moves on to second grade.  Words cannot express my appreciation for the care and consideration you have had for Daughter.  I’ve noticed the things you do for Daughter…You act immediately when Daughter looks uncomfortable.  You make sure the children wash their hands after their snacks and lunch.  If Daughter’s eczema flares at school, you’ve made efforts to isolate the problem and work out a solution.  You’ve helped keep my child safe and for that I will always be grateful. Thank you.  

To Mrs. G.–most amazing school nurse,

I cannot thank you enough for your kindness and care of my daughter this school year.  For most parents, first grade is a walk in the park.  Even though there’s fast learning, first grade should still be fun and carefree.  But for me, every day has been stressful, wondering how Daughter fared with snack and lunch time.  Crazy, isn’t it?  But, Daughter’s food allergies make life a challenge and even though she’s confident, it doesn’t calm the recent development of her fears.
As you know, I fell apart when Daughter came to me a few weeks ago and said, “I could die if I eat the wrong food.” She is finally aware of the dangerous reality certain foods pose to her, and it is heartbreaking.  
Why?  Because food ingredients are difficult to monitor and people won’t always be so understanding.  Because one wrong move could cause a devastating situation.  Because I am her parent and I’m supposed to be able to protect her.  And in this one area, I’m at the mercy of every single person who has contact with my child.  And that puts me on edge.        
You were so kind listening to my concerns about this.  You emphasized how Daughter should feel safe in school and told me you would do everything to help her.  Do you know what your words meant to me?  You are simply a godsend.  Thank you. 
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Vivian Lee Mahoney

Consider yourself warned: I write books about rebels. I'm also a postergirlz for readergirlz, a literary advisory group for teens. Who knew going back to the teenage years would be so rewarding?

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