*I learned to Trust my Mother's Intuition. For 9 months, we dealt with dozens of unusual symptoms, issues, and ailments that *seemed* to add up to more than your typical newborn maladies. When we could finally connect all of the dots with One diagnosis of Food Allergies, I felt justified in my repeat visits to the pediatrician and my "overprotectiveness."
*I learned how to cook.
*I learned how to bake.
*If one of my kids ever comes to me at 9pm on the night before a school celebration, with a note requesting baked goods for the class, and I don't have eggs in the fridge...I won't have to go to the store or bug the neighbors. I can think of 6 different ways to substitute for eggs in a recipe now.
*I have learned a lot about what is *in* food. Start reading labels and you may be surprised. And icked out.
*I've also learned about what's NOT in some foods: I don't know how they do it, but Oreos and Hunt's Lemon "pudding" are both dairy-free. Um...sort of ick, but I'll take it!
*My kid is not That Kid, screaming and crying about the injustices of the world when I refuse to flag down the Ice Cream Man as he drives through our neighborhood. (In this house, that magical van is still known as The Music Truck....and it's a mystery as to why the kids go running towards it.....)
*I have become confident in my role as my child's medical advocate. I don't blindly follow the advice of my pediatrician (although I could....she is wonderful), but research, deliberate, and decide what's in our best interest. And it's not always the same answer each time or for each child.
*Evan has been exposed to a much wider variety of foods than he would have been otherwise: quinoa, arrowroot, tapioca flour, coconut milk, and sunflower seed butter, are just a few things that I would never have purchased if not for the allergies.
*I have been touched, time and time again, by the consideration and the kindness of others. From my sister, who went out of her way to make Thanksgiving Dinner safe for my son (and the 21 other guests she hosted!); to my neighbor who is nearly fanatical (in a good way) about hand-washing when our kids play together; to the playgroup mommies who call to verify what my son's allergies are before packing their kids' lunches; to the friends who *don't* bring peanut butter sandwiches and Go-Gurt to my house; to my brothers and sisters (in their teens and 20s) who don't roll their eyes or make fun when I fall all over myself to ensure that they have washed their hands before touching Evan (and now even remember to do it on their own); to the mommies who make safe Birthday Party Goodie Bags for Evan (so I don't have to take half of the goodies away from him when we get home); to the Preschool Director who, when I told her about Evan's allergies said automatically and casually, "Then his classmates will bring fruits or vegetables for snack, no cheese;" to all the people who, when they learn of his allergies, *don't* look at me, or him, with sadness or say things like, "Wow, that poor kid." .......to name a few..................
I am so fortunate to be surrounded by such good people.