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May is Celiac Awareness Month: A Parent's Reflections on Endings, and Beginnings...

Updated: Aug 14, 2019

With our daughter's graduation only a few weeks away, I seem to be in a constant state of nostalgia. All those once-mundane moments have suddenly become precious commodities, punctuated by the tick-tick-ticking of the clock. You know, the usual domestic moments we spend with our children as they're growing up: chatting in the kitchen over tea, making cookies together, strolling the neighborhood, running for school project supplies--under the shadow of this momentous ending, each is as that last drop of honey or that last ray of sunlight at dusk. And for us, the experience of raising Edyth lies framed in the context of gluten-free parenting. How much we've learning through the years; how easy it all seems now in the context of retrospect. At the time, the mountain seemed immense; yet ultimately it turned out to be more of a hill, one worth every moment of the climb.

Remember this as you raise your gluten-free child: You are your child's future guide above all. Every moment, you are modeling an attitude towards her disease that she will carry for the rest of her life (barring a cure). You are showing her how to create a happy and healthy home, how to expand that sense of freedom in a gluten-filled to overcome peer pressure, inconvenience, and even the occasional self-pity and to replace these with perseverance, creativity, and confidence. Your way of handling travel plans will likely be his, as will your reaction to that accidental "glutening" or the lack of communication when ordering at a restaurant.

These moments are fleeting; we must each remember the hill we've climbed and the one set before us. Eventually, the trail we are sharing with our child will split into conduct each day accordingly. Even in this mixed state of excitement (for her) and grief (for my own letting go), I am comforted to know that Edyth is ready for her next journey as a gluten-free young adult. And, when that stone presents itself on her path as a potential hazard, I am certain she will know how to skirt around it and walk confidently forward towards her own North Star.

Edyth the hiking girl, here last fall after 8 years strong on a gluten-free diet.

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