Happy Mother’s Day! and Turning Down Food Gifts

I want to wish all of you women out there a Happy Mother’s Day, even those who fill it in an “unofficial” capacity.  Without mothers, where would we be?

As mothers, we fill so many different roles.  Cab driver, nurse, dresser, hair dresser, teacher, friend, disciplinarian, trampoline (you know it’s true)… the list goes on and on.

Sometimes people want to do nice things for us to show us that we are special, too.  Today, as we arrived home from church, I saw Braden’s scout leader and his wife waiting outside our house.  I was curious as he had his hands behind his back, and she was holding a pie, and I kept thinking “please God, don’t let her give me that pie.”

Why do I feel like that?  Because it is really hard to turn gifts that came with good intentions.

Luckily, he had a big plaster heart with Braden’s handprint that they had made in Boy Scouts last week.  Unluckily, the pie was, in fact, intended for me.  At that point, I just said “thank you very much but we can’t eat that.”  She said something like “ok,” and that was the end of that, but I often wonder how people really feel.  Did I say enough?  Did I say too much?  (Sometimes I really explain the reasons.)

In the past 9+ years, I have had to turn down food A LOT.  With it comes an extremely wide variety of responses and emotions.  I have even had people get angry that I wouldn’t eat their food, because, after all, if I cared about them or their feelings, it shouldn’t hurt me to eat their food.  (Wrong!, of course.)  These people don’t tend to feature prominently in my life.

I have also had many people who are genuinely concerned about my health.  Once a month in the women’s organization at church, somebody brings homemade treats to celebrate all of the birthdays that month.  Knowing that I can’t eat them and that I would be wary of cross contamination even if they tried making something from a gluten-free mix, one of the leaders always makes sure there are some chocolates available that I can have.  When we have a dinner at an event, she will make sure there is a bowl of fresh fruit for me (knowing that I like fruit).  They may not be big things, but it means something big to me.

If I know ahead of time that someone wants to bring me food (like if I’m sick or had a baby or just moved, etc.), I tell them that a fruit basket would be wonderful.

These are delicate emotional waters we tread, but the most important thing to remember is our health.  Are you the type of person who takes the food and then gives it away or throws it in the trash?  I’d prefer for people to understand (it also helps cut down on it happening again).  Do you explain Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance every time?  Do you have a scenario that works with most people?

I love that this lady wanted to bring me a pie.  I really, truly do.  I love that, even though she barely knows me, she thought enough of me to bring me a pie.

I wish I had been able to convey that.

Photo by Angel Rogers

Photo by Angel Rogers

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2 Responses to Happy Mother’s Day! and Turning Down Food Gifts

  1. Cocoa says:

    I struggle with that too, it make you feel so bad to reject a gift that someone is so joyful to give you. I’ve always been taught that it is just as important to be a joyful receiver ans giver, because the joy they get in giving is mostly knowing you are happy receiving and I don’t want to rob someone of that wonderful feeling. So, I want people to know why I’m turning down food but sometimes it’s easier to just accept it happily and give it away. When it’s at work, I usually just accept it gratefully and share with co-workers. But, when it’s personal friends and family, who will probably be faced with gift giving regularly, I just lead with something like, “that is so sweet of you! but…I have celiac disease/food allergies and I can’t ever have foodie presents, but it sure looks delicious!” and let them lead the conversation if they want more details. You’d be surprised how many people will care enough to find out from others that you have celiac and go to the trouble of tracking down something gluten free only to find it’s laced with soy/chicken/corn – my allergies, that’s why I try to steer everyone away from food, full stop.
    I found that people will ask “what can you have, then?” (you know – it’s the catch phrase:), and I can steer them toward something else like telling them I love getting flowers or collect shot glasses etc. I end up with a lot of plants instead of food now, but it’s so much more fun for everyone :)

    • Cassandra says:

      Those are some good ideas. If I hadn’t been so ready to climb back into bed, I probably would have been a little more able to sound accepting of the idea of the gift without accepting the gift.

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