Last year on Thanksgiving my food-challenged child was still nursing which meant that I was eating the only eight foods I knew for sure kept her safe. An extended family gathering was out of the question based on my need to keep my head in the elimination diet game. I was able to sustain Lemon by the grace of God and that grace did not extend to sitting at a table full of my favorite foods and politely saying "no thank you." That was my limit. So for the sake of my baby's and my preservation we laid low.
I know many parents of food-challenged kids find themselves in a double bind around the holidays. You're aware that any change in routine means an increased risk to your child. Unfortunately no one else will know this the same way that you do, so you have some work to do in getting clear on what the priorities are and where your limits stand.
I feel so grateful for our family members who may not understand what we are going through, but they listen. They are scared shitless by the state of Lemon's world, but they show up anyway. They aren't even sure what questions to ask and that's okay. The biggest gift they can offer is trusting us. In that there is validation of how hard it is, empathy for our struggles, and a sense of belonging.
This Thanksgiving we were able to spend the day surrounded by family, some new and some old. I am no longer nursing and Lemon has made enough gains to be able to spend half a day away from home. We were overwhelmed by the sense of community and love we felt. My sweet girl sat in my lap at the table and ate her bowl of cauliflower and broccoli like a rockstar. She sucked down her lamb broth bottles. I named all of the beautiful foods to her and told her they were yummy and that she would be able to eat some of them next year. And she will.