About how crazy you are.
(This post was written right after Easter. I have no idea why I haven’t put it up yet, but I still wanted to share these thoughts with you.)
Food intolerances. They change your life. They change the way you always ate and thought about food. They make you paranoid. I was the mom putting gummy bears and apple juice in her kid’s Easter basket, and just one thing of chocolate (peanut butter cups from WholeFoods). And when you move to a new place, it just gets worse.
I annoy my husband fairly frequently about food allergies. Especially when I do things like try to find out about gluten-free options at a food truck. It was laughable really… But after spending my entire life as far back as I can remember being sick all the time, and finally starting to actually feel better (not to mention Eden’s story) excuse me if I’m a bit paranoid.
In Colorado though, it had become normal. All of our friends knew about our issues, and while I did talk about it far more than necessary, they all understood. They lovingly protected my daughter, making sure their kids didn’t share their snacks, or checking that she had the right sippy cup. We were shown such love in such an unlooked for place through the community we were surrounded by. Our friends went out of their way to cook things we could eat, and make treats just for us. And I cannot possibly explain to all of you how much that has meant to me over the past year and a half, as we have learned about the food intolerances Eden and I have. We knew what restaurants to go to, and what to order, without having to ask and check ingredients or ask for allergy pamphlets. No, we aren’t going to die if we eat the wrong thing (I feel truly blessed that we don’t suffer from anaphylactic reactions!) but it definitely won’t be pleasant, and I would really like to just avoid that all together.
Not to mention the fact that some things we are still trying to figure out. Just how bad is my intolerance to gluten? Milk? Will Eden ever grow out of this? There is still a lot of learning we have to do concerning all of this. But it had at least become normal. And then, obviously, we moved. Just to help me realize exactly how crazy I can be about all of this. I already felt like I was a bit of a drama queen about food insensitivities, talking about it all of the time. And frequently apologizing because I was afraid I was coming on too strong about it, all of the time…
Ha! I didn’t really grasp the fact that we were going to have to start at square one once we moved. Now we are finding new restaurants and people we have just met are graciously inviting us into their homes for an Easter get-together and dinner (!!!) and this is what I am obligated to bring up very early on. Every time. I mean, my gracious, I was just in line with a lady chatting as we ordered our breakfast from this adorable little diner, and it came up. She asked such a simple question, if we had tried their cookies yet (which were out as samples). And then she heard probably more than she bargained for about having a kid with milk allergies. But then we swapped information and last week we went to a local farmers market to visit with her family and some of their friends.
So in this weird way, it is definitely opening our lives up to others, and we are once again being shown love in unlooked for places. As I mentioned, we were invited to an Easter celebration at someone’s house after visiting a church for the first time here. And we were so welcomed and so well loved. But since there was food being served, I had to perform my typical paranoid ingredient checking to find out if there was anything for Eden to eat (I had brought back up snacks, just in case). And they had an Easter egg hunt for the kids, which was so fun! Eden was adorable and she had her own special eggs haha!
But this is a very humbling realization. Because relationships are so frequently built around a meal. You open up your home to show people love and to welcome them to a new community. You feed them a meal to show that you care when they are sick, have a new baby, or have lost a loved one. This is so often how cultures across the world and throughout history have shown others love. Through food. And I have felt more loved by people caring enough for our family to help us through this and just listen to our story. Just last night we had dinner with a couple that we met at church on Sunday. They were so sweet and so welcoming! But when she invited us to dinner the other night, I explained to her our food issues, and asked if it would be easier to do something different, maybe just coffee. Instead, she told me about a recipe she just made last week for a gluten free family and said asked if we could bring a salad
Okay, I know I’m rambling a little bit here, so I’ll wrap this up. I just want to tell all of you thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for how you have loved our family. I never in a million years would have pictured me being this crazy mom, but here I am. And for making us dinner. Or for simply listening to me whine. This certainly hasn’t been the easiest thing but you have made it a little easier. If you know someone who has food allergies in their family, don’t be afraid to try to love them in this way. Invite them over for dinner, and welcome them into your home. Even just the invitation will be welcome. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their story, you will only get to know them a little better!