Wednesday, November 14, 2012

candy cane tears

Today, for maybe the first time, I was a little bummed about the boys' diet.  We made some major changes pretty much overnight, but I can truly say I have never minded.   It is just so obviously worth it that it seems ridiculous to mourn the crap we used to eat.

Maybe it's because I'm more of an "eat to live" person and not really the "live to eat" type.  Maybe it's because when I had to drop gluten as a teenager, I basically eliminated every one of my favorite foods overnight.  I don't know, it just hasn't felt like that big of a sacrifice.  But today I saw candy canes at the Tops Daily near my school, and I got tears in my eyes.  Just for a second, but real ones.

I like candy canes well enough, but it's not the taste I'm sad the boys are missing.  It's the excitement of seeing them on the shelf and knowing Christmas season is really here.  It's 30 years of trying to eat the whole thing without breaking it, sucking on it until it makes a point and putting the round side in my my mouth whole.  It's chewy, stale ones when we're taking down the tree in February and tempting three-year-old candy canes at the bottom of the Christmas box. Just for a minute, I was bummed that my kids won't grow up with those moments. 

We do have our own Christmas traditions, and we can continue to build them.  But I'm not at all tempted to let them have them, "once in a while."  The thing I keep reminding myself is that the boys- M especially- would never have those magical Christmassy memories anyway.  The only memories he would have of candy canes would be finishing one in time out after stabbing his brother with it.

24 comments:

  1. I gotta tell you, when I read the title I thought one of your boys threw a tantrum. But it's even more sad that it was you.

    Don't worry though, I'm sure you're gonna create wonderful memories for your sons and they will value them dearly :)

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    1. Thank you, Xae. My boys are so good about it... they never complain, so I won't either. I had my moment of mourning, and now it's time to work on those traditions we can do! :)

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  2. You know, it stinks when you realize that you can't pass along some of those traditions and that your kids won't have the same kinds of memories you cherish. I'm glad you are just focusing on other traditions. Still, it's a bummer.

    (I can totally relate. Bobby's peanut allergy makes Halloween a damn nightmare. He never got to have fun and feel carefree. It's a total anxiety provoker until he just stopped dressing up and celebrating because that was the best way to handle it. Total bummer)

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    1. Thanks for understanding. I'm thankful that for my boys, their reactions are not life-threatening. That is something to remember and be grateful for. My boys were ok trick or treating and then not eating any of the candy. :)

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  3. I wonder if you can make a dye free version of your own candy canes? I will have to look into it. My kids like them, too, but having red dye just won't work for us.

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  4. Here's a recipe, but it would need to be modified. I learned a technique today for pecan pie using grade B maple syrup boiled to a certain temperature. You might be able to use grade A which is lighter in color. The only other things would be red coloring. Maybe using beets you could get the color and. I am sure if there is a natural way to get this peppermint flavor.
    http://www.homemademamas.net/2010/12/12-days-of-homemade-christmas.html

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  5. I promise this is my last response. I just want you to have your candy canes. Here is a recipe for invert cane sugar which would be used instead of corn syrup. Also, peppermint oil would work great.
    http://www.thekitchn.com/pantry-staples-diy-cane-sugar-131934

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    1. Thank you so much, BC! Maybe I'll try this over the long weekend. I've been wanting to try using freeze dried strawberries for color, but no idea if it would really work.

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  6. I totally know what you mean. It's more about the feeling of the holidays coming than eating the candy canes itself.

    But making your own traditions are much more fun. It's better to pass along "because my mom/family taught us" than "just because the candy company wants to make money."

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  7. That's true- I never used to think much about 'voting with our dollars" or baht, rather, but it's true. We really don't want to be supporting companies that make foods that cause my boys to be sick. There's other places that money should go. I may try to make homemade ones, or at least some special homemade Christmas treats.

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  8. Food stuff is so hard. My son is gluten-free, and mostly it's okay but certain things get to me, too. It's the nostalgia piece that makes it especially hard, just like you've captured here.

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    1. Thanks for visiting! :) Do you have any great gf alternative recipes for the holidays? We're starting to build more non-food holiday traditions, but there's something to say about tastes and smells that bring in the holiday season. Thank goodness there is always fudge. :)

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  9. My kindergartner has been gluten-free for a year and a half and most of the time, it's no big deal. But occasionally, he'll say something that breaks my heart. A few days ago, he saw me eating Triscuits and he looked at the box for a minute, then at me chewing, and he said, "When I am a grown-up, can I eat these crackers?" I know it's best for him but saying no just made me want to cry. I stopped eating them and put them back in the pantry immediately.

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    1. I don't live in the states anymore, but the last time I visited I felt like the gf market had exploded- that's one good thing. It didn't used to be easy to find decent gf alternatives. Last time I was there I bought all kinds of nice bakery things, like cinnamon rolls. :) probably good for my waistline that we don't have all those treats here. :)

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  10. You will make your own tradition and memories that your boys will carry forward. Cranberry rings, etc., but, I know how difficult it is to say goodbye to something that lives so vividly in your memory and is so associated with your childhood.

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    1. Cranberry rings is a great idea. That just made me think- we could alternate dried cranberry and coconut or something else white and make edible candycane decorations. (If I never muster the courage to try making real ones.)

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  11. Oh my gosh, that would be so hard. I've had gestational diabetes with both my pregnancies, and have only had to experience what's like to give up all the foods you love. And that was a challenge for me.

    I'm sure you guys will build awesome Christmas traditions though!

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  12. You have a had such a journey with all this, but I love what you say in your last paragraph--this is so true. Sad to give up old traditions, but the new ones will be made. You're doing a great job caring for your boys!

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    1. Thanks Meredith. One good thing about not being able to have many store bought treats is that we've had to be more intentional about finding non-food ways to celebrate. And there is nothing wrong with food as a part of celebrations- that's culture after all. But we can have other special things that inly happen around the holidays, too.

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  13. I can see why that'd be sad. I liked the part about trying to suck on it without breaking it.

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    1. That's because you know me and that I'm weird like that.

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  14. I sooo admire you for being strong enough to stick with this. I go in spurts, then I see a treat I know the boys would like (and me, of course) and I break down. Then I totally regret it. You are a great role model for moms like me!

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    1. Thank you, Kathy! :) we get enough bad days by accident that I can't bear to induce one on purpose. ;)

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