I was reminded of this story about my sweet Samuel from a couple years ago. In the two years since we read the Richard Scarry book “Things that Go” Samuel has grown. He’s now an almost five year old who has lived his entire life really only being aware of eating only gluten free.
He doesn’t complain to me ever. He truly just sees all the amazing things that he can have everyday. He’s thankful for the raisin bread from Udi’s or the chocolate chip cookies that I’ve learned to bake that actually rise. He loves freezie pops and ice cream and french fries that are gluten free.
For him life isn’t about limits. It’s simply life.
I think that’s the benefit of him being diagnosed with Celiac Disease at such a young age. His palate never discovered the real taste of gluten and for most of his talking years he’s learned to say “gluten free”. Now it’s not that cute “gwoo-ten” free from years past, but is a more articulate gluten free from a five year old.
I do wonder about him when he gets in school. How will he adapt in a classroom that is used to using gluten as examples? His older brother Caleb came home with a worksheet called Cheez It math. I wish I could tell you I was thrilled about it, but rather, rather I had this pang of wondering how in the world Samuel will adapt. But, here’s the thing. He’ll adapt. He’ll grow. He’ll learn.
Here’s a bit of the story from two years ago. Why do I share it? It’s a reminder of how our children can so often teach us to see the world with a different lens.
Oh yes, and here’s a video we just made today. Can he get any cuter?
It was about three in the afternoon and Samuel was sitting on my lap. We were reading – the Richard Scarry book Things that Go. Page after page we read, searching for the elusive goldbug in the process, laughing at the silly antics of the Pig family. And then, we get to the page where the Pig family visits the farm.
At Grandma Pig’s farm, all the farmhands are very busy. They are picking corn, gathering hay, and delivering milk. They are harvesting wheat to be made into bread.
I pause. Just for a moment, glance at Samuel, and then keep reading.
Grandpa is cutting the grass and Grandma is clanking…
That’s gluten, Momma.
It was Samuel pointing at the picture of the red grain harvester harvesting wheat.
That’s gluten. Yucky. Gluten hurts my tummy.
And sigh. Like a knife in my mother’s heart he utters the words that two years ago I never would have thought twice about. I could have avoided reading those lines about harvesting wheat to make bread or I could have changed them that it was going to be gluten free bread. But, I knew I couldn’t. I knew that I needed to read it word for word because despite how easy I make Samuel’s life there is no hiding that he is forced to live gluten free in a very gluten full world. And that? That stings. Deep.
Especially now. Now, during Christmastime with the abundance of pastries, cookies, pies, and treats. And I know that most of them Samuel can never ever not even a tiny bit of cheating ever have to eat. And, honestly, my friends? I hate that reality for him. I know, I know, it could be worse. But, it’s still not a fair reality for him. No matter what. This world? It’s not perfect.
Yes, Samuel, that’s gluten.
Me gluten free. Read momma.
And that’s it. For me it’s a pondering moment about life, and for him it’s just an acknowledgement of the fact that there is gluten on the page and that he can’t have it. I know I’ve said it before, but the boy teaches me so much about contentment in life. Again – he focuses on everything he can have and refuses to dwell on what he cannot.
For me to learn from him. For such a time as this.
So we sat there and read. Me with tears brimming my eyes – tears of gratitude for his health and still tears of sadness for all I know he can never have – and him, content to sit in my lap on a Wednesday afternoon and to read.
Celiac Disease can be hard. Plain and simple it’s hard. I look at labels constantly. I call companies. I watch and watch and watch. But, he is healthy. He is thriving. And he is content.
I am constantly learning from him. He goes to bed at night grateful for all he can have and never complains to me about the many things he cannot eat. He’s grateful for the good.
I not eat gluten, Momma.
And he is content.
And I am humbled. Again.
I am humbled almost every day by that spitfire of a boy that never eats a speck of gluten. Every single day.
So today I made a little video to show you Samuel and how, well, he’s absolutely normal.
Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/community
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.