Today is my daughter’s birthday. She’s delightful and strong and ornery and every good thing that a 10 year old should be. So, when she chose a national chain restaurant for her birthday dinner and I had to say “no, I can’t eat anything there,” or at her second choice either, AIP broke my heart.
There are so many occasions when we find ourselves on this journey not being able to walk it with those who are close to us. We want to join in on the celebrations, the camaraderie of going out with co-workers, the quiet evenings of just being with the one you love and not having to make a big deal of it. Of not saying something that ends up feeling so picky and high maintenance, “No, I can’t eat anything there.” And suddenly this way of eating starts to break your heart. You find yourself left out of invitations to dinner parties because the hosts don’t want you to feel uncomfortable around all the food you can’t eat, you are refusing food prepared by your future in-laws and hopefully not causing offense, standing around at receptions where everything on the buffet is a pitfall of autoimmune reactions just keeping warm in the chaffing dishes.
It’s not an easy path. There are times when tears will be shed, or choked back, or the anger of what seems like your body’s betrayal will come to the fore. I won’t lie to you. And even though you know that what you are doing is for the utmost good, it can still hurt when you disappoint others. When you tell your daughter that she can’t eat somewhere she really wants to for her tenth birthday. And you know that when she tearfully chooses someplace that you actually can eat, and gives you a hug and says “It’s OK Mommy,” when you apologize, that it won’t last forever, this disappointment she feels. It likely won’t even last until tomorrow. But it leaves just a little bit of a scar on your heart just the same.
So, what keeps me from letting this get to me, this collection of scars I’m accumulating?
Knowing that if I didn’t choose this more difficult path that I still wouldn’t be able to participate in the celebrations, the camaraderie, or the quiet evenings. I would be sick, in pain, tired, not thinking straight and at times housebound because of the myriad of reactions I would experience from eating where I shouldn’t. And most of all, I would likely shorten my life drastically and not be around for my daughter’s future birthdays.