In our family there are many different allergies present.
This reality basically shapes our entire lifestyle.
It has been a major motivator in the drive to grow our own fruit and vegetables, corn and herbs, to raise our own meat, and to cook everything from scratch.
It is actually frightening to me, as a mother of a child with celiac disease and other food allergies, to be in an environment outside of our home where there is food present. Even the tiniest, microscopic speck of gluten can make my son dreadfully ill.
We have come back from both friends' and families' homes, only to have my son work through the effects of the contamination for up to a week or more. These people know how severe his celiac is and are very supportive and sensitive about the issue, but their homes are just not gluten-free and therefore, not safe for us. We bring our own food and always make sure the eating area has been freshly cleaned, but that doesn't account for the gluten that is likely strewn throughout every room, on furniture, floors, toys and clothes, etc..
We don't eat out at restaurants, and being a part of community get-togethers and homeschool group activities just ignites panic in me because of the inevitable pot lucks and shared meals.
I may very well come off as one of those paranoid, helicopter parents but it really only comes from a place of extreme necessity, and I feel badly for my son because he is seven now and knows only too well what is going on. He'll have to find his way through life and it will be hard.
For now though, I make the kids' advent calendars.
It may seem like a little thing in a world full of indulgence and treats, but for us in our simple, homesteading life it is a big deal. I make the calendars by hand and fill them with safe, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free treats.
Every day when the boys open up the paper pocket and get their one candy each they thank me many times and tell me they love me. Their gratitude is real, and this makes my heart happy :)