Shout Out to Those People Who Rock!

This is a shout-out to the people in my life who have been super supportive and have REALLY gone out of their way to make my life easier because of their kindness. Life can be a little more challenging and complicated when you have food allergies, and people can make it either easier or harder. What inspired this post is an act of kindness today that meant a lot to me.  Today I realized just how big of an impact people in my life can have on me for better or for worse. Some people have shown me what I want to be like and some have shown me what I don’t want to be like.

Food is a part of everyday life. Birthday celebrations, sleepovers, weddings, picnics, holidays, and even family get togethers. Maybe your asking “How can someone have such an impact on someone when it comes to food?” 

People without food allergies don't have to give any of these events a second thought. They don't have to give food a second thought. Their biggest worry is what they are going to wear to these events. I on the other hand have to think about the food served at this events. I have to usually plan ahead and pack a cooler with my own food and somehow blend in without everyone around me asking me why I have my own food OR I have to eat before we go which no fun. If you want to try a really interesting social experiment around food pretend you can't eat the food at any of the events you go to for the next 6 months. The holidays are especially fun!  

My Parents

Since the day we found out I had serious food allergies my mom has always been there for me and has stood by my side. My mom just gets it. If I know there’s going to be a birthday celebration, she always tries to get me a similar treat or now that I’m getting older, even gives me the choice to opt out of an event that involves food. She always reminds me some things are just not worth stressing about and opting out of some things is not the end of the world and I shouldn't feel bad. If she knows I’ve had a “bad food day”, she doesn't ask me 1,000 questions, but is ALWAYS there to listen. She lets me feel in control which feels good because with food allergies, especially in school, I don't feel in control. I just have to go along and pray the teacher and my peers get it. More often than not, at celebrations I usually feel like an outsider because I can't eat the treats and food served. 

She got me a watch that I can text from and I can send her an unhappy emoji if I find myself in an uncomfortable or unsafe food situation and want to be picked up.  She’s there in a heartbeat, wherever, whenever, no questions asked. I know I can always count on her.  As I get older, I will have more control over who I surround myself with and be able to leave an unsafe situation without the teacher's permission. 
My mom has taught me how to keep myself safe. She has taught me to be strong and not feel like I have to apologize for my allergy. She has empowered me to take control and read ingredients and food labels even in our house, without making a big deal of it. She has taught me to read anything that is newly opened even if I know the brand. It has become habit like brushing my teeth. 
She encourages me to advocate for myself when we go out, but I know she always has my back and isn’t afraid to speak up for me. She won’t eat anywhere I can’t and goes out of her way to find new safe allergy lines and safe restaurants to try on allergy forums. 
Both of my parents do everything in their power to make sure I'm exposed to as much as I can be, while being as safe and healthy. I truly have not seen better parents then them. They will go out of their way to buy from allergy free food lines, eat at all the restaurants possible, and cook the best meals.
My dad is always encouraging me to expand my palette and is always looking for new tasty recipes online that he can try for me. In second grade, he got up really early to make me the coolest pancake ever with a bunch of chocolate chips so that I wouldn’t feel left out when all of the kids made pancakes the next morning.
My parents have made our house a safe haven and won’t allow anyone to bring any egg products in the house. I know our home will always be the one place I don’t have to worry or think about my food allergies. I remember when they stayed up till midnight trying to make me my own egg free, dairy free, wheat free St. Lucia bread roll so that I wouldn’t feel left out the next day in school when the class celebrated by making St. Lucia rolls, only mine looked like a cow patty because it didn’t rise like it was supposed to. I think a lot of rolls ended up in the garbage before my parents final 'masterpiece' which was a little scary looking, but I really appreciated their effort.

My Sister
My sister is the sassiest of them all. She will yell at anyone with egg who comes within a 10 ft. radius of me with egg and isn't afraid to speak up. She won’t eat anything with egg even when I’m not around. She will even report when someone in her class eats egg:) Along with my parents, she is one of the most thoughtful and kind people I have ever met. She told me when she gets older, she won't have any eggs in her house either so I will always have a safe place.

One Of My Best Friends, Kate
Kate is one of the most kind hearted people I know. Whenever and whatever Kate's doing she'll drop everything to help you and has the ability to put herself in someone else's shoes and knows what it feels like. She rearranged her Christmas party plans from cookie decorating to a fun art project that didn't involve food, and that means a lot to me. Not many think to do that. I'm very appreciative and grateful for these moments and this friendship. She even went as far as telling me that she wouldn't eat the snacks at the class Christmas party if I couldn't eat them. My mom calls that compassion and empathy and tells me that's a true gift when you find it in a friend. That to me is a true friend. It's people like that that make my food allergies not so bad.

My Grandma, Mimi
Mimi doesn’t have ANY eggs or anything with eggs in it in her house. If you try to enter her house with one she will slap it out of your hands and throw it away. When she makes my favorite German dish, she ALWAYS makes sure to make me extra, so I have something yummy to eat for the rest of the week. She reminds everyone it's mine and nobody else can touch it๐Ÿ˜. She is always looking for new baking recipes to bake with me. I remember when we attempted to make an apple pie. She doesn't even like to bake, but does it with me because she knows then I'll feel more comfortable eating it. It's very entertaining to watch her๐Ÿ˜.
My Grandma, Grammy
Whenever we visit Grammy, she makes an effort to make me feel safe and included. The last time we were there for lunch, she left all the food packaging on the counter so my mom and I could read through them together, which made me feel safe, and I REALLY enjoyed the meal. Letting people with food allergies read the packaging themselves is a really big deal, and we're able to let our guard down while eating the meal. And I have to say my grandma is a great cook!

The Fishers, Good Family Friends
Mr. and Mrs. Fisher are also two of the kindest human beings I have met. They have always made me feel included and special. Mr. Fisher inspired me to look at my allergies like some sort of super power, that sure I was different but in such a cool way. They have always gone out of their way to make me feel safe and have even sent me personal messages on not so great school food days. Mr. Fisher even got us to try a new restaurant because he talked to the owner of the restaurant and made sure everything that came to our table was egg and peanut/nut free and safe.  Everything that Mrs. Fisher has ever brought into our house is ‘Keira approved’. She has my mom and I reread the labels. Mr. Fisher even looks out for me at school, one of the few people who genuinely cares about my safety at school.

My Dance Instructor, Bianca
My dance instructor absolutely rocks! She is ALWAYS making me feel included. In the intro I said that an act of true kindness was shown to me today. Thank you Bianca!
Today when I was in dance class out of the blue, Bianca showed me a bag of cookies. At first I though 'I can’t eat those', because in school and at birthday and holiday parties, that is usually the case but she explained that she got them from an allergy free line called "Lucy‘s" and then let both my mom AND I read the ingredients to make sure they were safe. That in itself was sooooo kind, but she even let me take home the leftovers. There is NO way for me to say just how kind it was, and how these little things make a HUGE difference in people with allergy’s lives.
This was not the only time Bianca has gone out of her way for me. About a month ago, she brought in these super cute YumEarth Halloween gummies for everyone, knowing I could also eat them. Once again she let my mom and I read the ingredients. It isn't about the actual treat, but about the act of kindness and making me feel included and not different. Bianca, thank you SOOOOO much for your kindness. I will NEVER, EVER forget how kind and thoughtful you are!

Rusty, A Good Family Friend
Rusty is a good family friend who we visited in Oregon. I remember when we went out to eat, he made a point of pulling the server aside and telling them nothing with egg was to come to the table. We stayed on his property and he asked us how he could accommodate us. He had chickens on his property and asked if that was a problem. When he made dinner he made sure it was a meal that I felt safe eating. Rusty was all about what made me feel safe. People that have known me for nearly my entire life are not as considerate as he was so it really stood out to me and my mom. Rusty, with NO food allergies in his family, showed more compassion than most teachers I have had who are with kids all the time.

My Kindergarten and First grade Teacher 
Most kids don’t remember much from Kindergarten and first grade, but I do. I remember both my teachers very well because I always felt safe in their classroom. I remember my first grade teacher throwing away another kids hard boiled egg saying we can’t have eggs in class because we want everyone to feel safe. They both took my allergies very serious, but never made me stick out like a sore thumb. They never made a big deal about my allergy in front of the other kids, but would pull me aside quietly to check in. They had food free celebrations or had snacks that I could eat. They never made me feel different or made me feel like my food allergies were a problem. 
And of course, there have been other people who have been thoughtful and kind when it comes to my food allergies and I am really appreciative. Small considerations around food are a BIG deal for people with food allergies so thank you to all you awesome people.


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