Friday, May 3, 2013

Please Don't Exclude Us

Food allergies are isolating.  We fully understand what exclusion means.  And it is so very hurtful sometimes!

I fear that Bee will be excluded from important events or from things she'd like to attend.  I fear being left out of parties and fun events.  I fear that people will refuse to invite us because we are hard to accommodate.

The fear of exclusion is real.  We've experienced what it's like to be excluded.

Years ago, another family was having a get together at their house.  We were the only family in this little group of friends who were not invited.  We heard about the party after the fact and were surprised that we were not invited.  We saw the host a few days later and the party somehow came up in conversation.  He looked sheepish and rather embarrassed; it was then he admitted that they didn't bother inviting us because they assumed we wouldn't be able to safely come.

True, we probably could not have attended, but it was quite a snub to not even be invited.  It did hurt my feelings.  Thankfully, the kids never knew.  But I worry about when this happens between kids.  What will we do when we experience our first birthday party snub?  How will Bee handle other kids talking about an event that she couldn't attend or wasn't invited to?  How will I comfort her and explain our differences?  Will this ever get easier?

It's so hard to walk away and leave events because of the food.  It's hard to turn down invitations because of the food that will be present there.  It's heartbreaking to know that we are so limited.

Some will exclude us because we are difficult to accommodate.
Some will exclude us based on fear - they are fearful that we will come and something could happen.
Some will exclude us because they refuse to acknowledge the food allergies and they are tired of hearing about them and dealing with them.

It's easier to exclude us.  We know this.  But how wonderful when someone makes the effort to include us.  How special it makes things knowing that others truly want us to be there and are willing to make sacrifices so Bee can attend.

My fear is that she'll experience more exclusion than loving inclusion during her little life.  I am fearful of explaining to her the reasons why.  I am sad to think that she will have her little heart hurt as she faces the exclusion that has already happened and is bound to happen again. 

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