Saturday, December 03, 2011

In Which We Find a Heavy Heart..

Having never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner before, I felt pretty awesome about that fact that I could choose whatever dishes I wanted to make and created a completely gluten free dinner. That, aside from any epic cooking failures, I could put delicious food on the table and start a new family tradition that wasn't overshadowed by memories of years gone by. There would be no discussion of "too bad we can't have _____ this year" and "isn't it a shame mom can't eat _____". Which, even with the burnt cornbread muffins and my foolish oversight that caused a doubling of the gravy recipe, I feel was a huge success. I put a lot of mental energy into planning Thanksgiving, because in my heart I was dreading what was to follow.

We have a lot of food history tied up in Christmas and the weeks leading up to it. Some of it we have created in the past 10 years since we've lived in our house, some of it dates back to when I was a child, and all of it contains gluten. From the cookies and meatball subs that we have to celebrate Uncle Christmas (we won't even talk about the Peanut Butter Blossoms and 7-Layer Bars that are no longer on the table since Ashley's food allergy diagnosis last winter), to the Homemade Cinnamon Rolls I make in the bread machine every Christmas morning, to my Meme's French Meat-pie that we enjoy each year for Christmas dinner. It's all out there, like an elephant in the room, with a big huge "What About...?" placard hanging around it's neck. I of course have had this on my mind for months now. Ever since early fall when it first dawned on me that all of this was going to be an issue this year. It's funny how you can go along not thinking about it, and all of a sudden there it is.

We worked so hard to create traditions with the kids when they were little, that they could have to take with them when they grew up and got older. Something that they could have to remember, or share with their own children one day. I can't even put into words how brokenhearted I feel about all of this. Not that it's my fault exactly, because there wasn't anything I could have done to prevent any of it, but it is because of me, and so I have that good old Catholic guilt over it. Silly, yes. But I can't help it. I can't help feeling awful about the whole thing and now that December is here and it's all staring me in the face it's like a lead weight crushing my heart.

Due to my Grampa's illness, and the likeliness that this will be his last Christmas with us, and how far away we are from everyone, my SIL is hosting Uncle Christmas this year and so that works out a little better. I'm going to bring Baked Zitti (it won't be zitti), a batch of cookies and fudge (all g.f) and she will ensure the rest of what she makes is safe for Ashley to eat and everything will work out OK. That buys me another year to figure out the logistics of making that work. Christmas Eve we celebrate at The Boy's™ parents house, and I'll likely bring something to eat and just make sure his mom has food that is Ashley safe and it's easier that way. Christmas will be here, and somehow, I'll manage around our traditions. I'm on the hunt for a new meat-pie recipe, even if it won't be the one that has been passed down in our family, and I am not quite sure what to do about breakfast. I offered to make the cinnamon rolls for my family anyhow, and got a lot of flack from them regarding it. We'll have to wait and see.

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