Just for you
Holiday family meals always make me feel like I’m a contestant on The Newlywed Game. We laugh. We argue. Someone may inadvertently reveal a personal secret about another. Someone may get upset, another betrayed, yet another embarrassed.
But none of that matters. Because by the time the delicious(-looking) dessert is served, we’re up to the twenty-five point bonus question, worth twenty-five points, that makes everything that was said during the main course of the meal irrelevant. And, of course, my mother/grandmother/aunt/uncle presents me with the Grand Sugar-free Dessert, which they proudly exclaim, they prepared “just for you.”
Our Saturday Passover seder, attended by fifteen but with enough food for fifty, was no exception. My mother must have slaved for days to prepare this feast. And of course, she went the extra mile to prepare “something special”. Just for me (actually, anybody could have helped themselves to it, but no one did).
I appreciate the gesture, I really do, but I wish they wouldn’t do that. While this odd concoction of dough, fruit, and Sweet-n-Low is supposed to make me feel like I can be “normal” and forget that I have diabetes for the next ten minutes, it actually does the opposite. It brings to the forefront the one thing that makes me different from the rest of the family. It implies that I have to settle for “second-best”. But worst of all, it obligates me to take a slice, a square, or a scoop of that stuff; and I have no idea what it is or what’s in it.
“But it’s sugar-free, you can eat it,” I always hear.
I can eat a regular cookie, too. Since most cookies are pretty much the same, I can take a SWAG (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess) at the carb-count, too. But this stuff seems to be heavy on the flour-based ingredients. It tastes a bit sweet, but I can’t tell if that’s from natural, countable-carb sugars (fruit, jelly, applesauce) or artificial no-carb sugars (Splenda, the upset-stomach maker, seems to be in the lead these days). And when I ask, the answer is always the same: “Don’t worry. It’s okay, there’s no sugar in it. You can have it.”
So I take the obligatory serving, knowing full well that I probably won’t enjoy it, and that the unscientific WAG at the carb-count is more likely to mess with my numbers than the scientific guess I could use for the cookie. Then, because I ate it, I get sent home with the leftovers and they make more of the same for the next time.
I’ve tried, repeatedly, to politely explain how grateful I am that they’re trying to help, but it really makes it harder than serving regular desserts. I try to explain that carbs are carbs, and whether they come from sugar, starch, or spaghetti sauce, it’s all the same. But nothing ever changes.
My wife, a native New Yorker and a prodigy of the attitude that comes along with it, thinks I should just throw sensitivity to the wind and lay down the law, exclaiming that enough is enough. I can’t bring myself to do that.
Perhaps I should just deliver the message in a way that they won’t forget it: “And now, the twenty-five point bonus question. For twenty five points, Mom, during your last whoopee-session….”