When I was just a little babe, my mother noticed that I got especially colicky after she gave me a bottle. She took me in for an allergy test and, sure enough, I turned out to be mildly allergic to dairy across the board. Since then, my allergies have only worsened and multiplied like vampire bunnies. I’ve gotten really used to my allergies, but growing up with them, there are a few things every person with allergies has probably experienced.
1. When someone in your class brought in birthday cupcakes.
2. When someone invites you to dinner in a restaurant that primarily uses ingredients you can’t have.
For me, Mexican and Italian restaurants are pretty much a no-go. The smell of cheese in the air isn’t appealing to me the way it is to...like, everyone else I know.
3. When you end up apologizing profusely to the people at Subway or Blaze or any Build-Your-Own place...
...because you have to ask them to change their gloves and get fresh ingredients and use a new knife and toast your food alone and...oh, God, I’m so sorry.
4. When your server is just like “Oh, yeah, I’m pretty sure there’s no (something you’re allergic to) in that.”
Pretty sure isn’t good enough.
5. When you could not have been more specific about your allergies and then you’re allergic to something and someone says, “I barely used any (something you’re allergic to)!”
6. When you’ve been allergic to the same things for as long as you can remember and family members are still like, “So, what can you eat?”
A lot of stuff, just as long as there’s no dairy, nuts, or kiwi in it, Joan.
7. When you’ve been allergic to the same things for as long as you can remember and still someone lets Paula Deen in on the meal plan for Thanksgiving dinner.
This has happened to me several times. One year, I ate only the stuffing my mother made, the Jell-O my mother made, and the cranberry relish my mother made. My mom is the only one I can count on.
8. When you react to something you know shouldn’t have been a problem and realize you might have a new allergy.
9. When you meet someone new and they’re like “So what are you all allergic to?”
Your friends just groan as you begin the list.
10. When you smell something that smells just absolutely heavenly, only to find out it's something that would probably kill you.
11. When someone’s like, “I hate (whatever you’re allergic to)! I totally know how you feel.”
12. When friends are like “Where do you wanna eat? You have to decide because you can only eat, like, two things.”
13. When people at large functions start to label stuff so you know what you can eat.
I love seeing little signs with “Sophie-friendly” written on them. It warms my dairy-free heart.
14. When you know they tried their hardest, but they missed something.
15. When friends tell you that you’ve changed the way they think about stuff.
Several of my friends are servers, and they all say that being close to someone with an allergy completely changed the way they treat allergies at work.
16. When you’re too non-confrontational to tell someone they made your food wrong, so your friends do it for you.
Thank goodness for perfect little sunflower friends who are not afraid to make sure you get fed at all costs.