Posted in Life Lessons

I CAN Have My Cupcake and Eat It Too!

That’s right…today is another red-letter day in my life. Before we get to why, let’s backtrack. When last I left you, I was off on phase 1 of my summer adventures. I traveled as far north as the Poconos and as far south as Alabama. I efficiently packed weeks of Katie-safe meals/snacks to sustain me for the journey and I came to a remarkable realization:  it really isn’t that hard anymore! I thought back to my camp experience last year (which you may remember came about 2 weeks after my corn diagnosis) and I laughed to myself thinking about just how far I’ve come in a year. Granted I also think it may have something to do with the fact that the world has also evolved in allergy-friendliness. I mean the Walmart in Alabama had a gluten-free section: I was literally rendered speechless. Then the restaurant I went to with my mom and sister in the Poconos had both gluten-free and vegan menus. Now I am by no means trying to sound elitist here…but seriously if it’s reached the Poconos and rural Alabama you know that’s something! Kudos, world, on becoming more and more safe for people like me 🙂

Now I know you’re probably sitting there thinking, “Of course, Katie, you had the most perfect magical trip and you were SO happy every minute of every day. That’s just not real.” And to that I’d say, yes, you are absolutely correct. I’ll be the first to admit that amongst the countless amazing moments, I of course had my moments of weakness (i.e. jealousy) too. After all, I’m only human. I would be lying if I told you that the question “Why me?” didn’t cross my mind a few times. There was a morning when I watched dozens of people file through the various food lines and devour French toast sticks  and then Uncrustables later in the day and I couldn’t help but think “How is it that I’m 1 of only 2 people at this entire camp who had to pack their own food to survive the week??”. And as I watched an entire gymnasium full of people process up to Communion during mass not 1, not 2, but 3 different times, I couldn’t help but think “How is it that every other person can just walk up to receive the Eucharist without a second thought about its effect on their digestive tract/immune system and yet I’m the one who had to remember to add 3 low-gluten hosts to my camp packing list??” And as I sat watching the other wedding guests devour multiple helpings of the most delicious-smelling BBQ, macaroni&cheese, peach cobbler, and of course, wedding cake…well, my plate of fruit and carefully-chosen Katie-safe snack foods just seemed so lonely. Of course don’t think these fleeting moments were enough to dampen the overarching joy of these weeks…I just want to be honest and let you know that you’re not alone if you have some “Why me??” moments of your own.

However, then something remarkable happened yesterday which made me stop and reevaluate the “Why me” scenarios of the past few weeks. I spent yesterday afternoon at Johns Hopkins (the hospital not the school). A former co-teacher of mine has been a patient there for a few weeks now and due to my US travel adventures I haven’t had a chance to pay her a visit. For reasons I cannot understand she is on the one floor in the Children’s Hospital wing that is not actually for children…but in order to reach her, I passed countless children who were patients. Since yesterday was a beautiful one here in Baltimore, many of the kids were given an opportunity to travel outside to a courtyard with their families. There were several adorable kids decked out in face masks, oversized medical booties and grins that even those giant protective masks couldn’t hide as they made their way outside to the courtyard. As I walked out of the hospital after my visit into the glorious summer sun, I was struck by a simlar thought: “Why me?? Why do I get to walk out of this hospital and go enjoy the rest of this beautiful day while these young children and their families are stuck inside this sterile world day in and day out?”

As I sat in mass an hour later I found myself reflecting on “Why Me??” moments in a whole new light. Instead of the ones mentioned above regarding my trip, I found myself pondering other moments. How did I get to be one of only 10 people to lead a USA-themed conga line/dance party with senior citizens in Magnolia, Delaware? How did I get to travel to a small town in Alabama and witness two good friends declare their love as the Saint in the Bow Tie married the Saint in Running Shoes (seriously she’s up to 10 marathons under her belt. 10! She’s incredible!) How was I the one who got to share both laughter and dances under an Alabama sunset with the ACE boys who have become like my brothers?? How did I get to spend a fun-filled 4th of July with family and then 5th of July with friends who have become family under beautiful fireworks…when just 3 years ago I was one of those patients spending the 4th in the hospital with my mom and sister as company?

ACE love 🙂

 Yes, I think it’s human nature to have “Why me??” moments…and to be honest I think we’re all entitled to them once in awhile. However I also think our lives are filled with amazing “Why me?” moments that often go unnoticed or at least uncelebrated amidst the craziness of life. So my message today is two-fold: 1) If you find yourself having a bitter “Why me?” moment, whether it’s food-related or not, know that you’re not alone and it’s normal BUT 2) don’t get so focused on those moments that you fail to appreciate the amazing “Why me??” moments which no doubt populate your life too!! So in light of these reflections, which were only further reinforced by my July calendar page, life with all its trials and tribulations, high and lows, roses and thorns etc. is truly worth celebrating.

That Mary Engelbreit knows what she’s doing 🙂

 So what did I do tonight?? I finally made one of the treats I’ve been most missing for over a year now: a vanilla “funfetti” cupcake. I’d like to thank Pinterest, the freedom of summer vacation, Mom’s Organic Market, and my lovely students for their generous end-of-year gift card which enabled me to stock up on the necessary supplies. Now don’t get too excited: I’m not posting the recipe quite yet because I need to tweak it a little and make the texture a little more cupcake-y and a little less muffin-y…but stay tuned and I promise it’s coming.

The beautiful finished product: pre-frosting…
…and post-frosting 🙂

In the meantime I’ll be savoring every remaining bite of this little delicacy with a smile plastered on my face. And I’ll be looking out for those beautiful “Why me?” moments which remind me just how truly unique and blessed I am.

…like gluten, dairy, soy, and corn 😉
courtesy of: http://www.storypeople.com/storypeople/Home.do

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