Monday, September 12, 2011

Meeting the Family- Protecting the Innocent

I’m going to get a little sentimental, I’ll warn you now…  September 11, 2001 scared the dookie out of me, and I get a little jittery each year on the anniversary.  Additionally, I am listening to a book called The Hiding Place, which is about what one family endured as part of the Dutch resistance during World War II.  And I’m about to become and aunt again- like, any second now, so family has really been on my mind lately.  Being a little sentimental is going to allow me to do a few things:  1. I can give my brothers the “blog names” that I brilliantly came up with this weekend (because we must protect the innocent you know…) 2. I can process a little bit about what I am feeling right now and 3. I can get to my actual point.  Let’s start at the top.  Hehehehe…

Protecting the Innocent...

If you haven’t figured it out by now, family is very, very important to me.  Although I don’t see my brothers as often as I would like (or should, with one living 7 miles away…) they are a huge part of my life and I am ridiculously proud of them.  You haven’t heard much about my oldest younger brother yet- but his wife is the one that made some seriously good GF cupcakes when I went to her Tupperware Party (If you want to have a party, email me and I’ll hook you up- she’s an amazing Tupperware lady!)  He is a fireman in a town very close to me, so we are going to call him “Fireman Sam.”  Fireman Sam was on my mind a lot yesterday, with all the 9/11 stuff happening.  Frankly, what he does terrifies me to no end, but it doesn’t surprise me that it’s what he chose to do.  We come from a long line of firemen on both sides of the family- and he does his job really, really well.   I’ve often thought that I am thankful that I got the allergies and not him- allergy cooking at firehouse probably wouldn’t go well.  The first time he brought them tofu, they probably would have thrown him down the fire pole chute!  I don’t tell him enough, but I’m very proud of “Sammie.”

You’ve heard a little bit more about my youngest brother.  He just recently switched jobs and is now a park ranger, so we will call him “Ranger Rick.”  Ranger Rick often teases me about all the  unusual stuff that I eat, but he is always the first to help me figure out how to make what we are eating work for me (“They’ve got rice…”)  He often calls me with recipes that he or his wife have made that are free of allergens for me, or can be converted easily.  And he’s always on the lookout for desserts for me.  Seriously, you can’t beat that!

So, as I contemplated my family, I started to realize how many people in my family have gluten intolerances.  I don’t remember how I got hooked up with her, but when I found out about my food allergies my dad’s cousin became a walking gluten library and all-around life saver for me- she and her son are both GF.  Then my mom figured out that she is gluten intolerant.  Then my cousin let me know that they are trying her son on a GF diet.  Then just the other day my husband’s cousin emailed me for help with gluten because her son was diagnosed with Celiac disease.  As I am telling my mom about that, she tells me that two more of my extended family has discovered gluten intolerances.  And we won’t even count the number of people that I know but aren’t related to who have GF issues- it’s depressing!   It’s a freaking epidemic, I’m telling you! 

It really is heading toward being an epidemic.  The number of cases of Celiac Disease and gluten intolerances has grown exponentially over the last few years, and no one knows why.  There are theories that include everything from better medical information and diagnosis to the idea that the wheat that we eat now has been so altered from its original state to allow for multiple harvestings in a year that it has so much more gluten in it.  I really don’t know- all I know is that I can’t eat it, and that stinks.

What terrifies me is that it is hereditary and often affects multiple members of families- ask my mom.  My poor boys have GF people on both sides of their gene pool.  My 5 (soon to be 6!) nieces and nephews have just as much of a chance of inheriting it.  And if any of them had to deal with this, it would break my heart. 

So, I often thank God that he gave this to me.  Yes, you read that right- I’m thankful for this crap. But I can’t always say that I’m happy about it.  And sometimes I get downright cranky about it…  However, I was raised to believe that you are never given anything you can’t handle.  And already I have been able to give information, advice and comfort to people who are lost or confused or don’t know exactly how begin- both in and out of my family.  That has to be the reason I was given this, ahem, gift, right?  So, if the day ever comes that one of my nieces or nephew has to give up their Cheerios and Oreos, they will know that Aunt Val has got their back- and a cookie that they can eat, too!

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