Tribute to Super Hero Dads

As Father’s Day approaches it got me thinking about the super hero dads who visit my cafe, deli and bakery and I thought about what sets them apart from other dads. What is it that they do that makes them so different from other fathers?  What sets them apart and makes me put them into a “Super Hero” category? In this blog post I will tell you exactly what the difference is.

All boys grow up identifying with some form of a super hero.  There is Batman and Robin, Spider Man, X Men, Power Rangers, etc. What elevates the dads who come in here above these super heroes?  Well, it is the simple fact that the super heroes previously mentioned were fighting a known enemy. With Batman; his arch nemesis was The Joker or Cat Woman; known enemies.  They were fighting known enemies or enemies that were identifiable with a few clues.  The enemies that the super hero dad’s of One Dish Cuisine face are not always known and often impossible to identify due to the inadequate labeling of our food and inadequate education of restaurants, schools and the public in general!

These fathers have to inspect every morsel of food that they feed their child due to the fear of death, severe reactions, behavioral changes or severe illness from accidental exposure to certain foods. Welcome to the world of a Dad with a child who has Food Allergies, Celiac Disease and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Imagine yourself as a Dad in the following situations:

-You are on your way into Synagogue with your son and as you are walking in another dad is walking in with his child and they are sharing a bag of peanut candies.  You see this and politely ask that they not bring them in and explain that your child has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts. The response you get is “well it is not my problem and my son is hungry”.  What do you do? Go in or go home?

-You take your son to the beach for a weekend and pick up his favorite instant oatmeal. As soon as you feed it to him the reaction begins and he ends up in a medivac helicopter in order to save his life. How did this happen when your son has an anaphylactic allergy to milk and the brand was always safe? In your panicked state; you read the label and find that the manufacturer had changed the ingredients. You don’t know how to forgive yourself and wish there was a One Dish Cuisine at the beach.

-Every Sunday, there are so many things you would like to be doing, maybe watch the ball game with friends, go to a ball game, etc.  But instead you choose to make the long drive to One Dish Cuisine to pick up safe food for your daughters for the week.

-Father’s Day is here and you can go anywhere that you want but you choose to come to One Dish Cuisine so that your child can eat safely.

-You are coaching your child’s sports team and other kids and parents refer to your child as a “sissy” because of his or her food allergies, celiac or autism.  You have to bite your tongue knowing that you and your child have more courage and determination than those who are demeaning your child. How do you make this a teachable moment and help encourage your child to ignore the bullying?

-You are on a business trip and your child has a severe food reaction and is hospitalized and you can’t get home to be with him or her.  You wonder, if you were there; could you have prevented this from happening? You would give anything to be there for your child, but can’t get there.

-You are a stay at home Dad and you fight the daily battles with schools, sports activities, making meals. In addition to trying to keep your children safe, you also have the responsibility of educating those who come in contact with your children  who don’t have a clue or just think that all of it is some sort of fad!

-Your child has 9 life threatening food allergies and the head of nurses for the county you live in says that that they don’t utilize 504 plans that will keep your child safe.  So, basically, you will have to home school your child.

-You take your daughter to doctor after doctor because she is not gaining weight and vomits when you feed her. You have been telling your doctor this since birth.  You have taken her to so many doctors that you have lost count. You are accused of making it all up and starving your child in order to get attention for yourself and they have sent child protective services to investigate you! Finally, she is near death and you do your own research and find a doctor to test her for Celiac Disease. She is 3 years old and finally diagnosed with what was causing all of her problems. Now, two years later, she is thriving and healthy and loves eating at One Dish Cuisine.

Yes, these dads fight unknown allergens, ignorant people and in some cases, many ignorant doctors! The fight never ends, from sun up to sun down, these dads spend more time actively loving and fighting for their children in order to prevent tragedy. If that is not super hero status, then I don’t know what is.

Father’s Day would not be complete without acknowledging the other great Dad’s in my life. My brother in laws are all great dads and do so much for their children and handle life’s challenges so well and set great examples for their children.

My ex-husband, Dave, is a super hero dad too! When we learned that his young children, my step-children, were in a an abusive environment with their birth mother, he and I fought together to win a custody battle (even when we were told that “Dad’s never win”). We won that battle and I am thankful for having been able to raise those children. Thanks to my ex husband Dave, we overcame challenges and still worked together and co-parented the children after our divorce and he still acknowledges me as their “Mom”, even now that they are grown. Thank You.

My husband, also named Dave, understands, accepts and fully supports my relationship with my step-children and even had one live with us for a while. Thanks for your love and support of my children.

To my dad, Ed, who gave up on many of his dreams to have a family and many children! His military career influenced his parenting style; which was not always effective when I was a young child. But as an adult, I know that I learned many valuable lessons. He taught me that nothing in life is free and that nobody owes me anything. I learned that respect is earned, not mandated.  Another lesson learned was that if you have dreams; the time to follow them is now because regret can ruin your life.

I had so many nicknames growing up, “sister handful”, or people would say I was “fearless”. I just knew that I would rather regret the things that I actually did than regret what I did not have the courage to do. Later in life; I had to take psychology tests for my sales and marketing career, I always came out with the decision making ability of General Patton (gee, I wonder where I got that from?) What they looked at was the ability to make sound decisions and the ability to quickly assess a situation or failure and make appropriate changes swiftly. I always got the job!

I also learned to look at failures as an experiment, “I did not fail, I just found 10,000 ways that did not work”.  Also, that life is and always will be about what you put into it; focus your energies on one thing at a time. When that first thing is accomplished, then move onto something else. I also learned that if I have to work, I may as well actually “work” during those 8 hours and have something to show for it (in my case 11-12 hours).

Lastly, I learned that in the end, all I will have to show for myself is a tombstone with my date of birth, a dash in the center, and my date of death.  Nobody cares about those dates! What people care about is what I did with the “dash” in between those dates; people will remember what I actually did in between my birth and death.  (See Dad, I was listening and when not listening; I made lots of observations.)

Thanks to my super hero dad and all of you super hero dad’s out there, Happy Father’s Day!

family photo

Brain-Immune System Link is Found!

June 1, 2015: Researchers at University of Virginia’s Center for Brain Immunology and Gila have found a previously undetected brain-immune system link that is made up of lymph vessels in the membranes of the brain. This changes previous viewpoints which thought that the immune system had very little connection to the brain.

Now there is evidence that there is a lot more interaction between our lymph system and our brains than previously thought and this is a must read article for those with Autism, Autoimmune Diseases, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, etc.  (this could explain why so many people with Celiac Disease have Neuropathy or other neurological complications after ingesting gluten)

“We believe that for every neurological disease that has an immune component to it, these vessels may play a major role,” says senior study author Jonathan Kipnis, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia.

I am so happy to hear about this because this is the number one complaint I hear in our cafe from Celiac and Autism customers. I am one of them and most of us commonly complain of Ataxia, Neuropathy and other brain, vision, balance and coordination issues; especially when they get “glutened”.  If you experience these issues, you will join me in saying, “I knew it!” So, the next time a doctor says to you….”it’s all in your head” you can say, “I know and I am so glad that you know about the link between your brain and immune system” and then hand them this information.

Below are links to the article and a link to the study published.