Today, we finally held Libby’s birthday party. It wasn’t anything huge, we just went to a trampoline park, with 6 kids total.
One of Libby’s friends has a severe nut allergy. Her mom offered to send her own cupcake, as that’s what they usually do. I’m fortunate that none of my family has a food allergy, so I can’t pretend to fully understand, but I made sure I picked up cupcakes that were guaranteed nut free, and let her mom know ahead of time.
This woman thanked me over and over again, for my “trouble”, as she put it. The thing is, it isn’t trouble. I wasn’t baking this time around, so I was already planning to buy cupcakes or a cake, so how is it trouble for me to go to a different store, and maybe spend a few more dollars? I understand that for some, that extra cost isn’t feasible, but for us it was.
I’ve talked to other allergy parents, and the going theme seems to be “Don’t worry, we’re used to sending our own baked goods.” What bothers me about that is the fact that others have obviously made them feel like a burden. I’ve seen people complain about not being allowed to send a peanut butter sandwich in their child’s school lunch, so I can only imagine how they’d react to having to serve something nut free at a birthday party!
This isn’t the first time I’ve come across this, either. When Peter was in preschool, a girl in his class was gluten free (for valid medical reasons, not for “trendy” purposes). Parents had to provide snack for the class on their child’s birthday, and it was the same thing. We’d tell the teacher what we were bringing, and she’d let girls mom know so she could send something similar. I did the same thing then, too. I was just using a cake mix, so I bought gluten free instead, and made sure her mom okayed the ingredients (I really need to work on reading labels).
Imagine being 4 years old and only getting to have something similar to what all your friends are having. I’m sure these kids understand why they have their own treats sent, but it probably sucks anyway.
In both instances, the looks on these girls faces said it all. They got to take part in the same treat their friends were having. Something that so many of us take for granted was so appreciated by these girls and their families.
I understand that kids need to learn that the world isn’t always so accommodating, especially later in life, but when they’re 4, or 8, show them some kindness! Show them that others are thinking of them; that others aren’t always so selfish.
When we show our kids compassion, they become compassionate people.