Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Big (Green) Weekend

Last weekend was a big weekend – an important weekend. My son Patrick graduated from Dartmouth College. He is the younger of my two, and accordingly the last to graduate.

The Dartmouth campus is beautiful (one you really should plan to visit some time) and it was a beautiful, sunny, warm, weekend. I would have liked to post a picture of myself with my son, but the truth is I really messed up. By the time graduation concluded on Sunday around 1 pm, I had the worst sunburn I have had since I was a teenager living on Cape Cod.

The ceremony is held outdoors, rain or shine. I was prepared for a chilly day. I was prepared for a rainy day – the commencement website warned us to bring rain gear and umbrellas. I even thought to wear sensible shoes because the seating was on the lawn. I was ready for everything except a perfect sunny day. I did have a visor, but no sunscreen. (Why didn’t the commencement website warn us about that?) I should have known better.

But enough about me; it was Patrick’s weekend, and a spectacular one at that. On Friday, we learned that he had been named salutatorian (one of four who had 3.99 GPAs). He was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa (an academic fraternity), and received Summa Cum Laude honors. He graduated with a major in math and minors in linguistics and physics.

Yes, I am bragging about him, because I’m his Mom (and hence entitled to) and because I am spectacularly proud of him.

I could go on about all of the activities he was involved – President of the Men’s Water polo team, a student government officer, an officer of Mentors Against Violence, etc. I am so happy that he made very good use of his time on campus.

Now, you may be wondering what any of this has to do with food allergies. The answer is – absolutely nothing. And that is precisely the point of this post.

I could talk about the great food we ate during the weekend, and the fabulous restaurants in the area that accommodated my son’s food restrictions, but the weekend wasn’t about that. It was about celebrating accomplishments, and recognizing achievements.

Lately, members of the food allergy community have been talking about how to define their food-allergic children as more than just “the kid with food allergies.” Whether your child is the athlete, the dancer, the artist, the bookworm, or the math whiz, there are many unique qualities that define him or her. Be sure to celebrate them.

Congratulations Pat!


Lynda Mitchell said...

Congratulations, Patrick! As the mom of an older son with food allergies, you serve as a beacon of wisdom and hope for parents who have younger children and worry about their futures. Yes, children with food allergies can grow up to have full and happy lives, they can have a safe and healthy future. It's our job as mom/dad to give them the tools to succeed - teach them well about food allergy management, just like you'd do to teach them to drive a car. Thank you for sharing and congratulations to Patrick's mom and dad! What an accomplished young man.

Colette said...

Lynda, thanks so much! And I forgot to mention, he has the summer off before he starts working, so I have my favorite recipe tester home!

Unknown said...

Congratulations! Thank you for sharing this story. We're celebrating navigating the first year of middle school successfully with food allergies. Each transition brings new challenges, but hearing from moms like you means so much each step of the way.

Looking forward to more of your yummy recipes too!

Colette said...

Food Allergy Assistant, yes, every year brings new challenges. I wonder if I will ever stop worrying...

Kathryn at Mamacado said...

Thank you for sharing your son's wonderful accomplishments so far. I have a two year old son and dream of him also accomplishing wonderful things despite food allergies.

You bring up a good point of the importance of not being defined by food allergies, and I hope I can help my son find his "niche" without being labeled as a food allergic child. Thank you!

Loratadine said...

Nice review on food allergy, Thank you for making such type healthy tips on food allergy.