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To the Teachers Who Are There for My Family as I Care for My Son With a Rare Food Allergy

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Five days a week for the past 10 months, we have dropped off and picked up two of our kids at school.

For 32 and a half hours every week, we have put our children in the hands and care of someone else. Someone who started off as a stranger.

Thirty-two and a half hours. 

I’m a stay-at-home mom and our children spend this much time out of my hands. I often feel I’m extra protective of them because our fourth child, Brighton, was diagnosed with a rare disorder called food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) a year and a half ago.

FPIES is a type of food allergy that affects the gastrointestinal tract. Brighton is 2 years old and can only eat 17 foods. FPIES has truly changed our life and what we view as safe for our children.

Even though Brighton isn’t in school, the fact that our child has FPIES has made us appreciate teachers even more because they are committed to being there for our other children.

So to all those dedicated teachers, I want to say thank you.

Thank you for being there for our family and supporting us as we navigated through the diagnosis our our son.

Thank you for being tender-hearted to our daughter the morning after she spent many hours in the hospital during her brother’s reaction. When we were consumed with getting our baby boy healthy, you were there for our daughter and she sure needed that extra love and attention.

Thank you for easing our anxiety when we drop them off at school every day.

Thank you for sharing special moments and pictures with us like when one of them loses a tooth during class and for texting us pictures of our child at a field trip we couldn’t attend.

Thank you for dealing with all of our questions and our constant need to check up on our child’s progress.

Thank you for being understanding of us pulling our children out of school so they could go visit their grandparents.

Thank you for being kind and encouraging to our child on the day we told her we were moving 1,274 miles away. And thank you for going out of your way and being her pen pal as she adjusted to her new home.

Thank you for not getting upset with our child that one day he made a poor decision in the lunch room. Thank you for dealing with the situation in a firm, loving and effective way.

Thank you for not judging us when our kids come to school in too small, too big or mismatched outfits, since they clearly had to dress themselves.

Thank you for accepting our entire family and for not minding we had to drag every child to conferences with us because we had no one to watch them.

Thank you for not caring we had forgotten to sign our child’s folder for the past three weeks. I promise we see it; we just don’t quite have it together.

Thank you for having extra snacks that day I forgot to pack one for our child.

Thank you for not caring we wanted to be the ones who walked our daughter into her kindergarten classroom every morning — usually a few minutes late.

Thank you for making our children feel special on their birthday because every year on those days I so badly want to keep them to myself.

Thank you for being there to ease our daughter’s anxiety that one day I was running a few minutes late for pick up.

Thank you for not just teaching our children math and how to read, but for teaching our children how to be kind, respectful people. We sure can use the help.

Thank you for being a part of our village.

Thank you for loving our children as your own.

Thank you for making school a safe environment for children with disabilities and allergies.

Thank you for bringing awareness to FPIES and educating your entire class on the importance of not only having clean eating areas but also accepting the differences in each other.

We wish we could give you more than a thank you, so you could feel the depths of our gratitude. You constantly do many important little things with such great love.
It may seem like it goes unseen, but we see it. All of it.

From the bottom of our souls, we are forever grateful for the positive influence you have had on not only our children’s lives but every child’s life.

Follow this journey on Mommy’s Love Marks

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Originally published: June 15, 2016
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