A Chocolate Bar

My oldest is allergic to a lot of different things. In addition to various environmental triggers, she is allergic to milk and all dairy products, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts, as well as anything that has any of those items in it.

We’ve known she’s been allergic to this litany since she was eight months old. We’ve had blood tests done annually. Skin tests at least as often. Tried a food challenge of a muffin baked with an egg once. She’s not any less allergic now and we’re over a year past the magic age of five that her allergist hoped would see her outgrow them.

She handles it well. She likes to wear her medical alert bracelet, a fun kid food allergy one. She rolls with the extra doctor appointments and blood tests. She gets through birthday parties and school.

School has been hard—obviously we make her lunch everyday, we try to send her with homemade vegan baked goods on days they’re celebrating a birthday or to a birthday party. Everything is rewarded with a pizza party. Thankfully, there is one place in town that has a vegan cheese option, but she’s still the kid with the different pizza

People do try—the mom at school who runs the ice cream sales started stocking a frozen fruit option, so she can join in with her classmates who buy a treat the couple times a month they do it.

But, we forget sometimes. And sometimes, she just is tired of being different. Oreo’s are an easy-to-find O-friendly sweet, but it isn’t cake. It isn’t what the other kids eat. She very, very rarely complains about it though.

Tonight, we asked the girls what they would want as their Santa gift. O is old enough that she knows Santa as a game—she is a St. Nicholas helper now. MC asked for a princess this-or-that. T asked for a bike. Normal kid stuff.

O asked for a chocolate bar.

“I never really get to eat a chocolate bar”, she said. Vegan chocolate bars aren’t cheap and so we’ve bought, perhaps, one for her once. It’s easier and more cost-efficient to find the one kind of chocolate chips at the store that she can eat and make cookies out of them, or something like that.

But, all that said, she’s been given candy bars for Halloween that she had to surrender. Her friends and sisters can eat candy bars, Hershey kisses, and anything else without the slightest care. Her thought when someone offers her something sweet is to ask what is in it, and almost every time, decline.

I asked her if she wanted one with almonds or not. Almonds—despite being a tree nut—is one thing she can eat. She didn’t care. She said she could pick out the almonds if she didn’t like them.

I feel like we’re in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and our home on Christmas will be like Charlie’s. All of the excitement in the house will be watching a kid eat a single piece of candy.

It breaks my heart that all my little girl wants for Christmas is a piece of chocolate. 💔 🎄🍫

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