Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Special Friends

Imaginary play is a normal part of every child's life. My daughters Carlese, 8 and Mia, 6, love to play house, doctor, school, and store. They love creating a world of make believe and it is so beautiful to watch.

My daughter Carlese recently received some stuffed animals as gifts from some friends. She has just fallen in love with these three stuffed animals. They consist of a rooster, a squirrel, a koala bear and a yellow wacky zingo. These new members of our family have their own beds, which she very carefully prepares for them at night.

She meticulously dresses each one of the animals in the perfect outfit everyday. And I have recently found out that they each have their own food allergy. Carlese told me her rooster had a milk allergy, her squirrel had an egg allergy, her koala bear had an allergy to coconuts, and her yellow wacky zingo was allergic to yellow gumdrops.

These special friends of hers have also been accompanying her to school. At recess she and other friends have made it their mission to find as many acorns as possible for "squirrley."

My daughter's imaginary play world is a place where she can care for others with food allergies. I think it is a very good thing for her to have this special time to play. These new family members have grown to mean so much to her.

I think somehow by giving these animals food allergies, she does not feel so alone. Food allergies can be very isolating at times for her. She is always singled out when it comes to not partaking in foods all of the other kids are eating. She also sits at a special table during lunch.

There were times in the past when she sat alone at lunch. As a parent, this is just heartbreaking to know your child is sitting alone at lunch. One of the most social times of the day became the most hurtful and lonely parts of the day. She would sit alone as she watched all of the other kids talking and laughing with their friends.

Now she has a group of committed friends who said they would sit at her table with her all year long. I cannot express the immense gratitude in my heart for these children for this commitment. Carlese is not alone anymore.

I am so thankful for my daughter's new friends, both in her stuffed animals and at school. She can find the courage to make it through another day. Not only to just "make it through" her day, but to smile and have fun. Seeing her smile and enjoy life is a huge gift for her... and for me.

Good friends are a gift to us all.

Stay well, stay safe and be brave.

Debra Denhart

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