In 20 years, we’ll look back, and the Mother’s Day present will be adorable. I hope. Crafted at school, it’s a letter to mom, complete with lines for kids to “fill in the blanks” with details about THEIR mom.
My kid filled in my weight with a guess of 20 pounds. Twenty pounds. Looking at the number, I realize what it means. I’d be dead.
But when I unfolded the piece of paper, a grin swept across my face before I thought better of it. I saw 20 pounds, and I loved it. Hello, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, my old friend. I haven’t missed you.
I’ve never kidded myself that I would get “beyond bulimia.” I am, and forever shall be, a bulimic. Not throwing up does not change that. That I now actually weigh more than I ever have in my adult life, save for when I was ready to deliver my child, does not change that.
But I thought for awhile that I’d at least gotten past the insanity. The place where 20 pounds sounds good, where that evil part of my brain doesn’t bounce up and down saying “who cares if it’s unhealthy, woohoooooooo, woohooo.”
Perhaps the worst part is that the grin spread wide in front of her as I read the words out loud. She has the most beautiful belly. A little birthmark at the base, just above the line to those little girl undies. A little pooch. Not much, just enough to show that she eats a nutritious diet. It’s a pooch that comes and goes. When she’s about to sprout up, it grows along with her appetite. In the days directly following a sudden spurt in height, it’s non-existent. And then it comes back, a perfect little roundness from sitting comfortably, watching TV shirtless at home.
I would never.
I sit here, even now, today, in my own home, in a room by myself, with a pillow cross my lap. I’m dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, but I feel the much larger roll of my belly, and I cover it.
She asks why, and I tell her I grabbed the pillow for my ankle. I lie.
Just as I lied when she asked why I was smiling so widely at her present I was nearly smirking. “Oh, Mommy’s just happy,” I said, burying my nose in her neck as I pull her in for a hug. “Mommy is just so lucky to have you.”
Lucky because so far, by the grace of something, I have been able to separate the woman who stares into the mirror and shudders from the woman who stares into those big blue eyes and says “I love you, baby girl.” So far.
I’m trying. Oh God, am I trying. I just don’t know how much longer. Because if 20 pounds makes me smile like a maniac, what little devil is waiting behind the next corner, just waiting for me to grab hold and dive off the bulimic cliff with it?
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