My daughter has a “disease”…FOOD ALLERGIES. But that doesn’t make her disabled. That doesn’t mean that we can’t be around people or have people visit us. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to be invited! It doesn’t mean that people have to be scared to come over to our home and play with her. Or have people visit with food. This just means we (her parents) need to be careful. This just means that me, her mother, will be a little more watchful of her when we go places and pay less attention to conversation (my apologies-I may look like I have ADD). It means I’ll have to learn to multi-task. It doesn’t mean that her life is restricted from living it normally like all others without food allergies do. We are learning to LIVE WITH IT! It just means her mom will be anxious, so get used to it. This is the new me…the permanent me. I’m not going to change. It doesn’t mean that I’m not a good friend or fun to hang out with. It just means my senses will be heightened and you may not be used to that. I may be listening to you but staring at my child. It just means that I love my child more then anything in this world and she is NUMBER ONE in everything I decide to do and everywhere I decide to go. Josie is an amazing, fun, loving, sociable, full-of-life little girl. And if you know her, YOU KNOW THAT! And she plays well with EVERYONE, of all ages. She loves to laugh and sing. Dance and dress up. She’s a normal little girl, who loves to play with her friends. Please don’t exclude her because of her food allergies. Trust me when I say that I am always prepared and ready to jump into action if needed. You cannot possibly imagine how my mind spins 24/7 with worry. But more than ever before, it’s now the time to let go just a little bit and it’s time for me to realize that THIS is our life. It is not going to change. THIS is how it will be. THIS is how we are going to have to make it work. I have NO control over curing her. But what I can do is give her the most normal life possible without making her feel left out. I won’t make her feel left out anymore. I won’t keep her home because of MY worry. She’s getting older and starting to realize it. She senses my anxiety, stress and worry. And I can’t help but say shame on me for allowing her to see that. Now I realize that for her sake, I need to step away and find a way to worry without showing her. She’s a smart little girl! So day by day I will give her a little bit more independence…but I’ll never, ever stop hovering. That’s the mother I will always be for Josie. I was meant to be her mom.