Four years ago, I never would have thought watching my child eat a cupcake would make me cry. Silly? Perhaps, but that is exactly what happened a week or so ago. I’ve mentioned before how it is difficult to travel with a child having allergies, but it bears repeating for the sake of this entry. Getting ready to take my little family on our trip to Disney World was exciting, for sure. However, I was prepared to be disappointed by having to pay for our son’s meals that he wouldn’t be able to eat. I was very wrong.
Starting our trip in Buffalo, I thought I would brace myself, prepare for doses of Benadryl, nebulizer treatments, and perhaps even having to use the EpiPen, should some well-meaning server accidentally grab the wrong dessert. I packed the entire allergy kit and then some. I ordered special allergy-free treats and rice milk to be delivered to our hotel room. Surely, this would be a lifesaver.
We had an uneventful flight, and were whisked away to our resort. Having unpacked our luggage, we made our way to the dining area at our place of lodging. I brought along a snack bar and bottle of milk, just in case. We lined up in our line to order lunch, and I mentioned to the server that my son had allergies, multiple and severe. She said, “hold on, let me get the chef”. Still scoffing a bit, and expecting to be handed a bag of potato chips and a hot dog, I waited off to the side while my dear hubby ordered his and my lunch. The chef came out of the kitchen with his checkpad in hand. He greeted M with a big smile and a high five, and asked me, “what would he like to eat today?” I told him ideally, a hamburger, no bun, and some fries. He said that was no problem, but he had a bun if we wanted it.
Our tray came out with a fantastic hamburger, the same buns I have to special order at home, hand cut fries, fried in a separate fryer to protect against cross contamination, carrot sticks, Rice Milk and…chocolate cupcakes with frosting. He lacked for nothing.
This was our dining experience the entire rest of our trip. Not, “let me see IF we can do ANYTHING”, but rather, “would he like beef, chicken or pork? fries? veggies? cookies or cupcakes?” Whole buffets with real options, with flavors and textures!
Dear readers, this was truly a wonderful thing.
We also ran across an amazing bakery while there, and that is how my sweet M* got to taste real donuts, bagels, different kinds of cookies, cornbread and more. It was one of those times when we felt like normal parents, able to offer choices and things that looked just like everyone else’s food. It was amazing.
No lesson here, other than sometimes life is surprising in very good ways. We felt blessed by the options we were given, and now I’m on a mission: make M* donuts- not the ones that tast almost like normal, but like the ones he had on vacation, with the pink frosting. Seeing his eyes light up, and watching him share in a true kid experience was priceless.
This vacation was one of a kind, and will not be forgotten. Hubby and I are still in awe of how well we were cared for, and how happy M* was to be one of the kids, just eating what was on his plate. He didn’t once have to ask us, “may I have this, or will it make me itchy?”
Magical, to say the least.