Have you ever wanted to be a hero?
I have three children. The oldest, my stepson, is the one I call my child by choice- he is not of my body or blood, but he holds one third of my heart. The middle, my first born, made my heart grow about 10 times it's original size. He has some special needs. The littlest, but by far the biggest personality, is living proof that love can move mountains. Not a single one of them has a peanut allergy. We are very lucky.
We often spend our summer weekends at the beach. This past weekend, I happened to look under the picnic table, and discovered that the ground was covered in peanuts. At first, I was a little annoyed that someone had left their "garbage" on the sand. Then I looked around and saw empty water bottles and a little further up the beach there were a couple of abandoned cans and I thought at least peanuts are biodegradable. The lesser of two evils.
And then it hit me.
The peanuts may not actually be the lesser of two evils because to someone with a severe peanut allergy, they could mean death.
I watched my daughter crawl under the table and wiggle around on her four year old hands and knees and wondered what would happen to a younger child with a peanut allergy that they may or may not be aware of. If you know about it, you most likely have an epi-pen, but if you don't, *what then?
I suddenly couldn't bear to think of the *what then.
I dropped down on my hands and knees and asked my daughter to help me find all of the peanuts. We gathered all of the shells and peanuts I could find and made a mad dash to the garbage pail. I suppose it sounds silly and full of desperation but that is exactly how it happened.
You see, my kids don't have a peanut allergy, but like all children, they need people to show them how to be responsible community members. In my mind that means that not only should I look out for my own, I should also look out for others. I'm not telling you to keep your peanuts at home, I'm just asking you to use them with care. Try not to leave them laying around. We all have a ton of things to worry about when we take our kids to the beach, let's make the load a little easier where we can, and try to take care of each other.
We are quick to call the person that jumps in to the freezing cold water to save a child a hero, but picking up your peanuts makes you a hero too.