Every morning, as I’m sure many of us do, I ritualistically check my social media pages for updates of things that may have happened during my seven hours of slumber. During this routine, I have come to look forward to a particular tweet that is posted on a daily basis by a person that I follow. It is a simple tweet but I find it highly entertaining. Her tweets list all of the celebrations taking place on that day. For example, today (May 1st) in National New Homeowners Day, Mother Goose Day, Lei Day, May Day and School Principals’ Day. There are always at least five reasons to celebrate and it doesn’t stop with just the 24 hour recognitions. It seems that if it is important to our society, we dedicate an entire month to it rather than squeezing all of our celebrations into a single day. Did you know that May is National Barbecue Month, National Bike Month, National Photograph Month and Older Americans Month? How does anyone find the time to celebrate all of this?
For me, May has always been a busy month. I think that every family has that one month where it seems as if it is someone’s birthday almost every other day. For my family, that month is May. My Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle and cousin all have a May birthday (I apologize for forgetting anyone). The month became even more special when thirteen years ago, my wife and I were blessed with our first born, Cam, on May 11th. Throw in Derby Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day and the month is here and gone before you know it. Despite this full agenda though, this year we are adding another thing to celebrate in May. For the first time, we welcome Celiac Awareness Month. Last year at this time, I would have probably read the list of things that are celebrated during the month of May and just glanced over National Celiac Awareness Month without a second thought. That’s what make this first one for us a little more special. It is an indicator of how far we have come and how much our lives have been changed in just eight and a half months. Think about that. In an amount of time less than a full term pregnancy, we have gone from having a full ingredient, flour-flying, labels-schmabels household to knowing where to buy inexpensive xanthan gum (all Celiacs just laughed at that joke). The joy of going out to eat once or twice a week has become a joy with a little more due diligence needed for success. We have had to reteach ourselves how to cook and how to eat. For all of this, we have Cam to thank.
Some of you may read that and feel that I am saying this sarcastically but I sincerely do thank him for doing what he does in the face of this disease. He didn’t choose to have this happen to him (who would) but he has accepted it and meets his daily challenges head-on with a maturity level that many adults would envy. He has become his own advocate, teaching his friends and not shying away from also teaching their parents. He could have given in to the pressures that being a Celiac brings and not been happy with what life has dealt him. But facing that adversity, he hasn’t folded, he has thrived. His condition has opened my eyes and made me want to become a more knowledgeable person when it comes to gluten free living and the Celiac lifestyle. Because of Cam, I now know that Celiac Disease is officially diagnosed in one out of every 133 people. Because of Cam, I have met so many wonderful people in the gluten free community and have been provided with some amazing opportunities these past few months. Because of Cam, I am now aware.
So, during this National Celiac Awareness Month, we ask you to learn something that you didn’t already know about a Celiac (I already gave you Cam’s birthday so that doesn’t count). Find out more about the diagnosis of this disease and how its prevalence has more than quadrupled during the past 60 years. Take the time to discover what is being done in the food industry to make foods safer for strict gluten free diets. We’ll continue to provide our stories, new recipes and possibly some insight from guest voices other than myself to help spread the word. There’s a lot for everyone to learn and we better hurry since June and National Accordion Awareness Month is right around the corner.