I sit across from her as she bites into the chewy crust topped with everything from sausage to green peppers. She smiles at me, cheese creating a bridge from her slice of pizza to her pink lips. "This is so good!" she says. I nod and take another bite of my naked hot dog. What I would do for a bite of that yummy looking slice. I never knew the poisoned apple could look like pizza.
"I can't believe it! I have missed this so much!" In a way, I wish she would stop saying that, at least until I swallow this sauceless, bunless, tin foil wrapped lunch. "I bet," I managed to say.
I am happy for her really. Who knew pizza could bring so much joy and so much agony at the same time. I smile and think, I can't believe she bailed!
It is true. Cinnamon bailed. After over a year, she left the gluten free life. Well, not exactly, but we will get to that in a minute. When Paprika and I became gluten free out of necessity, Cinnamon joined the cause. At first she didn't think she felt different, and then she thought maybe, and finally she decided that she was definitely affected. Being gluten free is hard enough when the results are drastic, but it is even harder when doubt creeps in because the results are sketchy.
As a teenager, Cinnamon felt left out when the youth group ate pizza or her friends stopped for a burger. She got tired of explaining why she wasn't eating. She started feeling like she was missing out. So, she cheated. Nothing happened. So, she tried it again. Still nothing. Then she realized that maybe it was never that she needed to be gluten free for herself, but maybe for her sister. It's easier when you are not alone.
So, there we were in Costco. Cinnamon munching on that dreamed of slice of pizza and me with my plain pity-inducing hot dog. I knew what was bugging me. I wasn't jealous over the pizza. I realized that I was suddenly feeling very alone in this struggle. Suddenly the teams in our house had switched; it was gf 2 and the nons 3. How would this change everything I had come to know over the last year.
There were so many questions. I was making dinner gf for everyone and most of the food in the house was gf, but now what? Do I now make two pots of spaghetti? Do I stop baking gf bread and just buy it for Paprika and myself to save money? Would cross contamination increase and possibly make Paprika more susceptible to problems? What would happen to my system, my order, my very way of doing things? I didn't have the answers.
I still don't. I guess I will be trying to figure all that out, but meanwhile, Cinnamon has discovered that she likes gluten free foods better. She likes wraps better than sandwiches, my homemade gf bread better than regular, corn tortillas better than flour, and all the special gf foods we buy. We have tried so many new things since going gluten free and Cinnamon has found some new favorites. Actually we all have. Then I thought, perhaps things don't really need to change at all.
I had a talk with Cinnamon tonight about her big decision. "You know mom, I still want to have a gluten free bakery," she said. "And, I still want to make donuts!" Then she paused, "Do you think I will have to eat the regular donuts? Because I like the gluten free ones I make much better."
In the end, we decided to just keep traveling the same path, at least for now. It was a bit of a surprise to me when a look of complete relief came over Cinnamon's face. "I am so glad," she said. "I was feeling kind of alone." I guess you can feel that way on both sides of the fence.
So, for now, I guess there is one team. Two gf eaters out of necessity and three out of choice. One team, one family, all loving and supporting each other on this journey. We were never really alone.