This week is a big week in our house, it’s a time that we look forward to all year long! Some people have their Super Bowl, family vacations, or the State fair… we have the Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest.
I am not getting paid for this post or anything like that. just my story about a simple trip to the downtown Expo Center that changed our lives.
Last year my husband bought me tickets to the expo as a Mother’s Day gift. I am not going to lie, I was a little annoyed that he bought me tickets to a gluten free event (yet another reminder I have celiac disease, and can’t eat like a “normal” person). I had originally wanted a pair of new running shoes and had bluntly taped a picture to the mirror in the bathroom the week before.
However, this simple purchase made more of an impact on my life then I could have ever expected.
Early that Saturday morning we drove downtown to the expo center, the overly tired toddler in tow. I was 6 months pregnant and feeling my last pair of pants fitting snug on my hips. I did not know what to expect when we arrived, but I was pleasantly surprised!
For those who are not gluten free or have any allergies, here is a bit of insight: my family does not get to enjoy the everyday things that most people are able to enjoy, we sit at birthday parties watching you enjoy the birthday cake, we walk through fairs just smelling the sweet smells of fried foods, we sit there smiling as you enjoy the convenience of a Happy Meal. We live our lives with more planning, preparation, and food prep for the day that few others think of.
When we walked in the doors of the expo that day, it was different. It was the one event where we could take part in the social eating!
I kept hearing myself asking if foods were gluten free as the toddler grabbed the free samples, it took me a while to let my guard down! I did not have to check ingredient lists or second guess what else had been contaminated the food. I was able to relax and eat!
I saw my daughter giggle and smile with great big giant grin as she freely snacked on everything, she did not have to watch others eat sweet treats as she enjoyed her separate snack.
This event allowed us to have the freedom to eat as anyone else would at any other life event. We walked and ate… we discovered new food options and chatted with countless people around us who were all in the same celiac disease boat!
It was the first time in the last six years that I felt normal.
Since that wonderful first expo, we have been counting the days until we could attend again. To eat our hearts out, to load up on samples, try new foods, and enjoy.
It’s a big week for us, we get to go on a relaxing allergy free vacation! Even if it is for only two hours.