When my son was diagnosed with food allergies in December 2014, it changed all of our lives, including our 9 year old daughter. For over a year now, I have been amazed at the way she has handled her brother’s diagnosis. She never complains about all of the sacrifices she must make, and she takes such good care of him.
I wanted to write a letter to her and to all of the siblings of those with food allergies, to thank them for all they do, and to let them know how special they are.
To All The Siblings of Those Who Have Food Allergies:
You must have been a little worried when your siblings were diagnosed with food allergies. You may have wondered what that diagnosis meant, or how it would affect you. You may have been scared for your brother or sister because you love them, and don’t want anything bad to happen to them.
You may have had to stop eating out at restaurants, or going away on vacations until things were sorted out. You may have had to give up favorite foods, snacks or desserts until your parents figured out what they could feed your sibling safely.
You may have missed a party or two, a ballgame, or some play-dates that included your brother or sister.
You may have had to start using weird new toothpaste, shampoo, lotion and art supplies. You probably wondered what on earth they had to do with food allergies.
Your holidays and certain traditions may have been altered.
You may have had to tag along to many emergency room or doctor’s office visits.
You may have wanted to cry, and have things go back to the way they were before food allergies.
But, you didn’t.
Because you are amazing.
You have a sibling with a life-threatening allergy and you know it. You do all that you can to help them, to protect them, and to comfort them.
You make sure their EpiPens are always taken on all trips outside of the home.
You hold their hand every time they have to get a scratch test or a blood test.
You help them put on their buttons, shirts or bracelets that identify their allergy.
You learn the names of their allergens, and make sure everyone else knows them too.
You can spot their allergen a mile away, and you can identify them on food labels.
You sit with them in another section when they are separated from everyone else, you eat whatever dessert they must eat at a party so they don’t feel different.
You comfort them when they are afraid, you are their best friend when other kids don’t understand or bully them.
You defend them when you need to, you teach them how to stand up for themselves.
You are compassionate, trustworthy and kind.
You care about others, you love your sibling who has food allergies with all of your heart.
Never forget how special you are. Never forget how loved you are.
You are the best brother or sister in the world.