About My Family By Savanna Zucker (Age 11)

When people look at my family they think, oh, it must be so hard. But really my allergy to all nuts is the biggest struggle we have. Everytime we go to a restaurant I have to ask what I can and cannot eat. Usually I can never eat the desserts.
When I can I am so happy!  But when I can’t, to make me feel better, my Mom doesn’t have them either so I won’t be the only one. I have been sent to the hospital because of my allergy multiple times. A few years ago the crossing guard at my school gave us Snickers around Easter time so they were covered in a pink wrapping. I had no idea what was inside was filled with nuts! Another time was when my mom and I were having Indian food at home one with nuts the other without. My dad mixed them up and gave me the one with nuts. Yikes!

I have a busy family. My is mom doing extraordinary things, running DHIFI, working at a big
job fighting criminals, and being the best mom in the world. Three out of five people in our family (My mom and brothers) have something called ectrodactyly which is a word meaning missing fingers and toes. But it doesn’t stop them from being the best family ever. We all love going on bike rides together, playing tennis, playing basketball, going to the beach, and swimming in pools. People always ask me questions about it like, “Can they do this or that or something about their abilities.” I’m telling you now they can do most everything and really well. We are all different, and no one is the same, and it could be a difference on the inside like mine or the outside.

Sometimes when I am walking with my family in public I notice people will stare at my mom and brothers—from the corner of their eye thinking I don’t notice but I always do. When I see someone doing that I realize they are curious—and being curious is ok and happens to all of us. I therefore don’t mind it. I think my mom and siblings don’t mind it either. It is even ok if someone asks us why they’re different. Then we get the chance to explain they were just born like that. It is no different to them than everyone being born with ten fingers and ten toes. I love to explain that if suddenly they were given extra fingers—they would have no idea what to do with them and then they might in trouble doing things!

People used to always ask my mom about her differences when she was a kid. Sometimes it made her hide her hands when she was around people she didn’t know. Sometimes people would also just say stupid things and make her feel badly when she was little. This has made me a kinder person because I wouldn’t want to ever make someone feel badly for just being who they are.

One thing that I appreciate my mom does for me is taking me shoe shopping. I realize that many shoes I pick out that I like she cannot wear because her feet are different. But being with her teaches me you can’t have everything you desire and not only can you be happy anyway you can find happiness from someone else’s happiness!

Have you ever heard of the butterfly effect? It is that a small change can cause larger changes in the future. I hope that reading my story will mean you will not assume you know everything about someone’s life just based on the way they look. If you do this—others might do the same thing too. I think my life with my family is actually no different than most people’s life. Well—except my nut allergy can make it hard. Never assume you know what is actually challenging for someone. It may not be what you think!

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