Though I typically write on themes of a more Biblical and pastoral theology nature, at times I take a stab at more creative writing. As I'm enjoying some holiday time with my family this week, I thought I'd repost this article first published nearly sixteen years ago. With grandchildren in the house, what I feared might happen has indeed taken place. For my Celiaism condition, which never entirely fell dormant, has kicked back in.
I thought I would use this blog site to announce that recently I have been diagnosed with a condition known as "Celiaism." Perhaps I should have called each of you personally to break the news more gently, but then again if you have observed me lately you already knew. Celiaism is a disorder that takes an otherwise sane, healthy man in his early 40's and renders him googly-eyed, weak-kneed, and unable to say "no" without severe stuttering. They tell me it's a genetic issue caused by being the father of an adorable, precocious, attention-grabbing three year-old girl who (ironically, come to think of it) is named Celia. They also tell me remission can occur over time but usually only lasts until grandchildren arrive, where "Celiaism Relapse" is probable.
Anyway, as hard as I have tried to overcome my Celiaism, I struggle and fail. I pledged that I would treat all of my six children the same as I raised them, and I know they were all just as cute at this age. Yet there's something about being over 40 and living in the same house with this chattering doll with curls that just makes it impossible to fight. So please don't laugh at me when you observe me sneaking into the church kitchen trying not to be seen by her mother and then giving her another "lem-o-lade in a big girl's cup" (that's just how she says it). Remember, I cannot help it. For consider some of the other symptoms of my Celiaism.
Blabbering speech - I go around saying such things as "hip-po-PO-MA-ta-mus," "cheer-chos", "pot-chick" and "purple-E" to describe the African water animal, common breakfast cereal, stuff you put on your chapped lips, and her toothbrush (so named for teaching her to say "eee" in order to brush her teeth). I have developed almost a strange dialect, putting the ending "ey" on way too many words. I say such things as "birdey," "doggey," "huggey," "kissey," "lappey," "nappey," and "sockey," when one syllable would be just fine.
Uncontrollable fixation patterns - I wave and blow kisses at my front door EVERY time I drive away because she's standing there, which has caused more than one neighbor to wonder about me. EVERY time we brush teeth I play "Dentist Chair," where she gets on my lap as I sit on the floor and my nose button is pushed, automatically causing my legs to draw up behind her so she can recline while we brush. When done, she pushes the nose button and the legs proceed to dump her sideways. EVERY time I play "Go Fish" I cheat so she can win. EVERY Sunday I struggle whether to raise my hands while singing, not because of some deep charismatic urge but what do you do when that golden-haired beauty is standing on the back of the pew in her mother's arms smiling and waving at you?
Infantile behavior reversions - I play with dolls. I ask grown men if they need to go potty. I crawl around on the floor acting like a horse (my favorite part is bucking). Today I'm wearing a little kitty, giraffe, and lion stickers on my dress shirt pocket so "we can match," for she has the same ones. I get under the blankets on her bed and hide because I imagine dinosaurs are coming. I enjoy watching Madeline and Goofy cartoons.
Is there any hope for me? The bad news is that my wife says it's incurable (actually, she says I'm impossible but I know what she means). The good news is that I have found many others suffer from Celiaism as well, though it is often called by other names. And, fortunately for me, the Lord has helped me to adapt to my situation so well I cannot remember life any other way.