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….”

Posted on April 10, 2012, in Diabetes, Personal and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Aw man. We all have at least one relative like that. They mean well. But you’re right – it usually ends up causing more damage than if you’d eaten the good stuff along with everyone else. :/


  2. Fortunately, most of my family gets the food stuff. I have a neighbor that doesn’t though and she is helping a T2 woman that doesn’t understand it is the carbs either. The helper is making all kinds of carby things using Spenda and thinks it is OK because it doesn’t have sugar in.

    Maybe next time just take a small piece of the good dessert and say you ate so much, you only have room for a little bit and really wanted a piece of what it is you took.


    • Kelly, I’ve been thinking a lot about that advice, but I know that if I eat the cookies and not the “special” stuff, I’ll get lectured on how I’m not taking care of myself, then my mom will send me emails to outdated internet articles and clippings from Diabetes Forecast telling me how bad I am. I’m kind of choosing the easier path here.


  3. lovehatediabetes

    SWAG (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess)……LOVE IT! I’m sorry you had to go through that this holiday. Like you said, it really makes you feel more exposed rather than them just leaving it alone and thinking they’re helping. It’s such a bummer that people aren’t informed. But how are they supposed to know? My grandma used to do this all the time. At least she has a kind heart.


    • Thanks Lovehate (is that what I should call you?) but I really shouldn’t take credit for coming up with the SWAG term. It’s used in conjunction with carb-counting all over the ‘net. Even my boss uses that term when trying to figure out how much it would cost to do certain types of work (which is probably why he’s lost money on every single job he’s done). But sometimes I feel I need to humor them; make them feel like they’re still needed, even though, at the age of 38, I can pretty much take care of myself now.


      • lovehatediabetes

        Well I still thank you for posting it so I can laugh about it and use it in the future 🙂 You can call me Leah! I don’t know how to make it say Leah D. instead of my website name when I comment. You can call me whatever you wish though, I won’t expect you to remember it’s Leah! 🙂


    • The option to change your name is pretty well hidden in WordPress. When you’re signed into your WordPress.com account (you see the gray bar on top with your blog name on the left), click on your profile pic on the top-right, next to the search icon. Under there, click on “Edit my Profile”, then put in “Leah D” (or whatever you want) in the “Display name publicly as” field. This should, I think, change it on all of the WordPress blogs you comment on, including your own. (Unfortunately, the Blogger/Blogspot ones will still use your blog name if you sign in using WordPress – I haven’t figured out how to change that! I have a separate Blogger ID for those)


  4. This made me laugh out loud. My husband has experienced the sugar free dessert phenomenon at my family gatherings for years. His comment “I’m forced to take a slice of the sugar free crap, when I really just wanted the normal cake”. Well-meaning relatives…haha!


  1. Pingback: I’m the only one « Rolling in the D


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