Thursday 3 November 2011

Liar liar pants on fire!

Celiacs is a part of my life but there are still moments that I HATE telling people that I have it. The hardest is telling people who have never heard of the disease. I have the choice to either let it go or to go into a bunch of details and it’s exhausting. For example, my older Spawn Ethan was invited to the birthday party of a kid at school. He is finally at the age when I can leave him alone at a party and get a fair representation from him as to what happened. I won’t find out that he ate seventeen marshmallow bananas but I think he would certainly tell me if he played the naked movie star game.

So I drop him off at this party and the family has just moved here from another country, one that clearly believes in community and caring and neighbors, because the mom basically forces me to stay. She does this by physically pulling on my scarf until I stumbled into her home. She was really quite sweet and deceptively strong. So I wish a wistful goodbye to 90 min of mindless shopping and slip into the kitchen. I see that I was not the first victim, there are 3 other moms gathered around the kitchen and some lovely old ladies, I assumed aunties, grannies and the like.  The table was PACKED with food. It was so full; they had to put the napkins on a chair. The mom sweeps her arm over the table and says “eat!” She is so proud, she has worked her ass off for days, she is bursting with love and goodness and kindness and my heart sank. There was literally nothing on the table that I could even remotely eat. The other moms dug in and the aunties and grannies did too. I sipped my coke. There wasn’t a veggie tray which is usually my saving grace or even a bowl of chips. The food was all huge casserole dishes bursting with meat and noodles and gravies and breaded goodness. The food was gorgeous stuff, but sheer poison for me.

They were persistent those aunties, they could not let a woman go hungry; they asked and asked and asked and motioned to the food. I feigned that I had eaten already which could not matter less to them. I changed the subject many times, asking about their old home and how they liked Canada but they just kept going back to the food. One even starting to make me a plate by taking charge and spooning piles of food on the red plastic disc like my life depended on it. For a split second, I thought about cheating but I didn’t think that I would be gone from the party before my symptoms started, actually, with that much gluten, I would probably have started to react immediately. And why should I really? Cause my body damage to avoid looking rude? But what to do?

There was a discussion about how I should have more meat on my bones; I should not be skinny in this cold cold place. I didn’t know what to do so I just kept shaking my head but it wasn’t doing any good. I looked so rude and there was no escape. Finally I said, “It all looks so good but I have a severe allergy and I can’t eat it, but thank you so much.” That was in no way sufficient. These were not stupid women, they were smart and strong and had kicked ass on more than one continent, I was not going to sneak out of this.

“ALL?” they ask incredulously, “You can’t have ALL these different dishes?” They shake their heads and tisk.

And then I say it, I say it right out, “I have Celiac’s disease" and of course I get a blank stare so I go on,  "so bascially, I can’t have flour.”

I saw it happen slowly, those lovely weathered faces hardened one at a time and their eyes cooled and lost a twinkle. They thought I was lying so I wouldn’t have to eat the food…. they thought I was a liar. It was a horrid moment. Even though another mom jumped in and said that her friend’s kids had Celiac and it was such a struggle and the other moms nodded, the aunties turned from me and were cool for the rest of the time. It was awful.

I made it through the rest of the time by changing the subject and saying some funny shit but really, the tone of the day was tainted and there was nothing I could have done. And no, it doesn’t matter that these old ladies think I am a liar, it really doesn’t but at first, I admit, it stung a little. I was tempted to bring up all my info on the phone or ask for a computer to show them that Celiacs was real and to prove myself true. I could have shown them all the education on Celiacs but really, do they need to know? Do these gorgeous women who have lived ten lives more than me need to know about my shitty disease? Nope, they do not. I would rather look like a liar than a self righteous snit any day.

My kid had a great time at the party and really I did to, I’m glad I didn’t go shopping.  I still love those ladies and I hated disappointing them but this disease isn’t part time and I would rather be asshole, than feel like an asshole because I cheated.

My kid ate 19 gummy worms and said he felt gross, I told him I knew how he felt.

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