She really has no idea what a positive source of inspiration and comfort she is for me when it comes to dealing with Georgia's food allergies. When my mind starts swirling with all of this stuff, or starts slipping towards greater anxiety, I can remind myself of my friend, who is of course a normal, happy, well adjusted adult despite having to put up with food allergies. Also, she has had multiple scares during her life - awful incidents requiring EpiPen injenctions and trips to the ER. You would think that would make me feel worse, but the fact that she has always come out okay is what makes me feel better. That's the part I choose to focus on.
Anyway, I'll share a few lines of her email, and you'll know why this person helps me stay grounded:
"For what it is worth... ...it will always be harder for you than it is for her."
Another tip she gave me that brought a smile to my face was to always pack Georgia a good lunch for school field trips, so that she wouldn't have to eat a soggy turkey sandwich. To me this highlighted an interesting difference in perspective -- as the parent, you may be worrying about impending doom, when all your kid is really concerned with is avoiding a soggy substitute box lunch.
"The allergies are just going to be part of her life, and she won't know life without them-- I know that sounds hard for a parent, but to her it is all she will know and she will learn to adapt."
Friendship is a two way street, though. While I may not be giving back to my friend as much as I feel like I'm receiving from her right now, she did at least confess to me that hearing about our family's experience is making her see her own food allergies from her mom's perspective for the first time. So, there is that, which is nice.