By Bracha Zan Bar, Client Services Manager, Food Allergy Concierge
As a child, I never realized how challenging allergies can be for the allergic child's mom.
My mom never complained about not going out or about being afraid every time my sister took a bite of anything or every time she left the house. I remember my mom always cooking, and not wanting to eat out at friends' houses on weekends, always hosting, but in my eyes as a child, I never felt that she was frustrated.
The allergies were there. And my mom just dealt with them. She never dared to dream of a reality where they did not exist, were she could just sit down at a dinner table, at friend's house or at a restaurant, just ordering and thinking of her own fun and meal.
For quite a while, I have been supervising and monitoring meals and baking days as a food allergy specialist. For the past 9 days, I have been on my first full trip, travelling with my wonderful clients from hotel to hotel, restaurant to restaurant, preparing, sterilizing, supervising, and monitoring all food production for their beautiful teenage daughter.
This trip was very emotional for me, for so many reasons.
Every day, after I served my client's sterile food, I noticed the mom walking around the dining room, looking for something SHE would like to eat. Not worrying and trying to work out what she can bring her daughter to eat while keeping her safe and alive. I noticed how, from day to day, she relaxed more and more, getting used to the idea of acting as if there are no allergies - since all the meals her child ate were safe.
I have never seen my mom acting so peacefully around food when my sister was around. Never.
I couldn’t resist thinking of my mom during this trip. Watching the transformation my client's mom was going through, just learning how to relax and enjoy her vacation, I kept thinking how much I wish my mom could have had one day off from all the worrying and fear.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that the fear didn't exist. It did. But it was me who was carrying the fear for her, fear and concern that made me focus even more in the kitchen, while preparing her daughter’s meals.
What made this week so emotional for me? Was it thinking of my mom, imagining her having one proper stress-free day? Was it just the fact that I totally fell in love with this incredible family and didn’t want this to end? Is it just me being overwhelmed by the success of the trip? Leaving, knowing the child is safe, happy, gained a few pounds since she ate so well, and that her beautiful mom will not need a holiday from her vacation, due to the hard work that was put in to provide her a stress-free vacation?
All the above are true. But I am starting to realize that my job is not only technical, providing safe food. It's much more than that. I took away the fear, pain, and stress from the mom, and carried it for her. This is the biggest soft spot for a mother to a child with allergies, and she chose our company to carry that heavy bag for her and solve it, for a week.
That is such a privilege. Can you even imagine knowing you are providing a once-in-a-lifetime stress-free vacation? I just feel very overwhelmed. I am so proud to say that this is what I do for a living.
I am on a plane to LA now, on my way to another client. Thinking how lucky I am, to work for a company with such an amazing goal- providing stress free vacations, for mothers and families with food allergies.