We are food allergy parents. You know the ones, always asking a million questions to the waiters and the school lunch cooks. The people who want to know the ingredients of every darn cookie at the scouts pot-luck dinner. Yeah, that's us. Sorry, we know we're annoying.
In our case it's about tree-nuts. Both my wife and son have severe reactions to tree-nuts. That means we have to carry an Epi-Pen wherever we go, and it also means we've had to explain a hundred times the difference between tree-nuts and peanuts (peanuts aren't nuts; they're legumes).
Today, Lisa had what I call an "allergy parent freak-out." She'd gotten our son a little box of chocolates for Valentine's day, and let him have one on the way to school. Then it hit her. "What if it had a nut in it? What if he's at school, having a reaction right now? Should I call the school?" We read the ingredients. No nuts listed. "But they're wrong sometimes," she insisted, "you hear about that all the time!"
"What brand of candy is this?" I asked.
"Ummm. Elmer? Who's ever heard of Elmer?"
I tried some humor. "We've trusted their glue for years! Surely we can trust their candy!"
I didn't work. Lisa drove back to the grocery store, and bought another box of the same candy. She had to get a new box, because she was sure the one he'd already eaten was the one piece with a nut in it. Shaking with fear now, she got out a knife and sliced open every single candy in the box and closely examined it. Reminded me of dissecting frogs in science class.
As the not-allergic parent, it was my job to taste every suspicious piece. "Nope. Just fudge." Or "No, this is orange cream."
I'm happy to report that there were, apparently, no nuts in this box. Lisa's shaking has stopped. And if you offer me any candy today, I'll say "no, thanks." I've had a lot already!