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Sometimes I just love strangers

As hard as AirBnBing can be and how much stress can be involved, sometimes the guests are amazing and just make your lives better.

Not sure how many have read or remember awhile back and the stress I went through when we decided to do AirBnB in our home and some siblings were mad that we turned the family home into a hotel (My husband and I bought the house and property I grew up in).

Well, I’ve been going through depression, sadness over many different things, stress, and just a lot of crap especially over the past week or so. And the people who have brought joy to my life have been some recent guests and many of you here who even though I’ve just mostly been lurking lately say something funny or thoughtful or PM me or whatever.

Today the huge drama has been a new allergy in my son. And my family questioning the diagnosis and saying I need to get him tested for an eating disorder and other crap. And people out there in internet land are more supportive and loving than family.

And while I’m crying and dealing with all this my phone rings while I’m crying and since I don’t know the number I decide to pull it all together and answer and it’s my current guest needing to update her reservation since she put in the days wrong and she asks how my day was and I lose my composure and start crying again and she offers to pray for me. And offers love and support that I’ve been desperately needing and telling me it will be okay and I’m making hard decisions that will turn out to be the best for my whole family. And meanwhile my family members are messaging me with questions and doubts about my doctor’s diagnosis and my decisions to cut things out for the whole family and asking them to make these holidays enjoyable for my son by cutting out those foods for the upcoming gatherings over the next 2 months.

So kinda sorry for dumping all this here, but my family doesn’t read it and sometimes strangers who get it offer the best support.

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Awe… I think I know what you are referring to and I am depressed for the same reasons. You are not alone.

As for your interfering family, one thing that might work is to say: “thanks, that’s one way of doing it.” And then proceed to do it your way.

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What’s hard is that I asked them to be supportive of him and maybe this year we can try to do the holidays without any focus on the desserts and maybe even have one gathering without any, and then one person says I need to test him for an eating disorder and another starts questioning the diagnosis…

Why can’t people just support a hurting 11 year old?

Here’s what I’m thinking…are you possibly sharing too much information with them?
You are under no obligation to share any personal medical Dx with anyone, and he is old enough to know that if he eats certain foods it will cause an allergic reaction.

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With food allergies, you need to tell people who will be feeding the child. Many times an ingredient isn’t obvious. For example, I have a neighbor who is allergic to corn. This means that I can’t offer her any baked goods with cornstarch, corn syrup or powdered sugar which contains cornstarch. Also, there are many people who try to force children to eat specific things. As most children are taught to obey adults this can pose grave danger.

@Sarah_Warren, I’m sorry to hear of your son’s diagnosis. I know from friends that food allergies suck. They can make your child feel left out and can make it do difficult to navigate restaurants and meals at others’ homes. I fear for you if your relatives question the diagnosis as I’ve heard of people who try to “prove” that the diagnosis is incorrect by sneaking the allergic person some of the allergen.

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Hang in their my friend - sending you virtual hugs.

I hear you, I hear you - family is supposed to bring us joy, provide support, etc. - not bring us down and cause unnecessary stress. I’m going to send you a PM.

I am sorry to hear about your son’s allergy…as I know it has to be so very time consuming/stressful with having to make all these new adjustments. But don’t feel the least bit guilty if you make the decision to just enjoy the holidays with your own family. You just concern yourself with making YOU happy, and nobody else. Plan something fun and different with the kids. Relatives who really want to see your family can make an appointment on YOUR terms only.

If they aren’t willing to sacrifice cutting the foods out…at least until your son fully adjusts - then too bad for them. They made the selfish decision and they will only be excluding themselves from your life.

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I’m sorry you are having such a hard time.

I know this diagnosis is new so you will be worried.

But also think of it from your families point of view it is their holidays and their children’s holidays too so asking them to cut out a whole raft of things is a little unreasonable.

My sister can’t eat wheat, potatoes as she has a severe reaction and can’t eat chocolate or cheese as it triggers severe migraines.

When I cook meals I take this into account for example using sweet potatoes rather than potatoes and not putting flour into a sauce, but will also serve bread rolls which she doesn’t eat .

You and your family don’t have to cut out a whole raft of things to have an enjoyable time eating together. You can just give them suggestions for meals he can enjoy with the family and make sure you point out to him anything he can’t eat.

Happy festivities.

So glad you got some surprise comfort from a guest! I agree that it’s lovely when strangers (or anyone) bring us caring connections! Regarding your family, you will eventually find a place of compromise where you can accept the connections that are still good and release what doesn’t work.

For 12 years now, I have been vegan for ethical reasons, and I have seen a lot of different reactions over the years when people learn this about me. If your son can’t have desserts, then I imagine there may be two typical reactions from your guests: 1 - They don’t want to change their own ways by adjusting what they bring to a gathering. This is especially true around the holidays when people cling to old traditions. 2 - They project their own imagined loss onto your child, imagining how sad it would be not to be able to enjoy an item that brought them much pleasure.

When I was raising young vegan children, instead of requesting special consideration from others, I would work extra hard to compensate for my children to ensure their needs (and wants) were met. So, in the case of public gatherings where inappropriate food was offered, I would bring with me an appropriate substitute. For example, we did an event where kids were making gingerbread houses. We baked our own vegan gingerbread. In the case of trick or treating, we would go door to door with the other kids, but when we got back home, they could swap out each piece of inappropriate candy for something special from “Mommy’s golden bag of treats.” (We donated unused candy to the local Boys’ and Girls’ Club.)

I hope this is helpful… :slight_smile:

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Great advice @Asheville

I can’t imagine many diets for health reasons where you can’t have deserts even if you are a diabetic.

It probably just needs some research for appropriate recipes.

I am happy to work around my sister’s diet and I have other friends that are vegetarian, vegan (I make a great chocolate cake) and who are diabetic - all fairly easily catered for - the internet is a great source of inspiration for recipes for special diets.

I don’t want them to think I can’t adapt for their needs but I like your idea of also making and bringing your own. That way @Sarah_Warren you can celebrate as a family and make sure that your little one only eats what is safe

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I mainly asked that we not focus on the desserts over the holidays, I worded the above thing wrong. I did ask we maybe have one meal that we adjust recipes so that he can eat everything, but that the main focus was us being together and not desserts.

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And that’s what bothered me. When I asked during this time of figuring it all out and supporting him during this time that is really hard for him that we find ways to make him feel included instead of feeling left out. When I told my mom that I was hoping we could do maybe one meal where he could eat anything he wanted since the last gathering we went to after eating what he could, he snuck some normal desserts. When I saw him and reminded him it was going to make him sick he started crying and eating it as fast as he could. And when I told my mom all this she said that I needed to get him evaluated for an eating disorder because that was probably what was wrong. At 11. This is already a hard emotional time for him. And now this is something else that makes him feel different and awkward. And I don’t want him around family members who will be questioning him, making him feel bad emotionally which might cause him to sneak more food. I want him to feel safe with family.

It’s just sad that strangers tend to get it and the ones who are supposed to love you start questioning and doubting and not just supporting you. I didn’t come to you for advice or possible cures. I came to you to tell you what your grandchild is dealing with and can you be someone else to support and encourage him.

I am sorry to hear this @Sarah_Warren Howver sometimes when people are fearful or don’t understand it can make them seem intransigent.

Is it only deserts he has issues with?

If so, could you not provide all your family members with some recipes that they could use of family favourites that have been adapted so he can eat them? They get family favourites. He gets to eat what he likes. Everybody wins.

However as a side note at 11 he will have to learn to be careful about what he eats and what he doesn’t as he will be in many situations where he has to make choices around this if he is to enjoy everyday life as a child ie children’s parties, school outings. You may need to take responsibility for watching him around this until he does this naturally.

If you want to private message me with ideas of what he can’t eat and your family favourite deserts, I would be happy to do some research for you and come up with some recipe ideas.

By the way actually children of 11 and younger can and do unfortunately have eating disorders (most prevalent in the West with body image and obesity being such a big issue)

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@Sarah_Warren I completely relate to the point of your post. I am just so appreciative when a guest comes home and tells us about their day (I love to hear their stories) and then takes time to ask how MY day was.

And yes, sometimes I’ve felt more support on this forum than I have from the people in my life, and/or my family. Interesting. Maybe that’s because we’ve all, in some way, decided to open our homes to others.

I’m sorry your family is being crappy about things. It sounds so stressful. I think the important thing is to stop having any expectations that they will be different from who they are. We all have a dream of what our family should be, we hold onto it for so long. Both with extended, and with our own kids. Sometimes it’s just got to go.

I saw a movie once an a woman’s future in-laws welcomed her with great enthusiasm and open arms. Made me so sad. My in-laws are nice and all but basically ignored me. But - we just gotta pull up those big-girl panties and choose to love. Ick. ; )

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Oh yes I know, my mother and a doctor actually gave my sister one… Thankfully in this case it’s not the case!

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