It's the lady at the pool that practically pushes my child aside to go up the steps. No excuse me or even eye contact even though we are the only other people in the pool. Its the woman at the grocery store berating the lady waiting in her car for her grocery delivery because she has been parked there too long and the other woman wants her to move. No, please could you move up or can I get in here. Just a barrage of verbal abuse.
It's also the lack of compassion from others when dealing with those with food allergies. Its the parents of another child in my son's class. As the teacher is explaining that there is one child in the class with severe food allergies the parent spews out "So everyone else has to suffer because of one child." If he had let the teacher finish he would have realized that her comments would have ended in "You can still bring what you want and the parent of the food allergic child will provide a separate snack."
It's the same teacher a month later refusing to change her plans to make cookies using both milk and eggs in the classroom, even though I have offered to make cookie dough for the whole class, because "We do not deprive the other children because of one child." They had made no other plan for my child, he was just not going to be allowed to participate in the cookie making.
It's a woman in one of my former playgroups that would continuously bring unsafe snacks not just to our playgroups but to my house. An eggy milk, based dip one time. A snickers cheesecake to another. That time the playgroup wasn't at my house it was at another members house who had just found out her son had a severe peanut allergy. I could never understand if she just didn't get it or just didn't care.
It is the Washington Post printing an editorial response (in very large print) to an article about peanut free sections at baseball games. "I'll give up my peanut butter and jelly sandwich when you pry it from my cold, dead hands."
I realize that all these incidents may seem very minor. But I have dozens more. They one by one add up and make me wary of people's reactions to me, to my children and to their food allergies. I honestly didn't make up their problems or cause them or want to even burden YOU with them. But we all live in this world together and we all, in one way of the other, too often look the other way and say "That is not my problem." We lack compassion for another person's burdens and instead focus on how their problem encroaches upon my rights.
I am not asking you to change the way you live. But if you are my neighbor, I think it is kind if you look me in the eye and say hello. If you are my son's teacher, I expect you to make him feel included and keep him out of dangers way. If you are parents of other kids at my children's' school I wish you could see us as part of your community and not as "the child who deprives others."
Just walk a day in my shoes. I am striving to walk a day in yours.