In the last 30 years of the 20th century a new malady has developed that afflicts mostly women. It causes heartbreak for many parents and serious concern for many more. That malady is anorexia and every mother with teenage daughters was on alert for this and other eating disorders that might do serious physical and emotional damage to their daughters. I paid attention to media discussions on the subject and kept a sharp eye on my girls, especially Rebekah because she was in ballet where eating disorders go with the territory. And by the way, those Italian genes which craved pizza and pasta, along with the Irish genes which craved beer, are what sunk any hope for me of ever having a career in ballet when I was younger. All the other ballerinas headed home after class to eat some carrot sticks while I was planning on meeting my girlfriends for beer and pizza. I was hopeless.
I learned to cook from my Italian mother and, with a little tweaking to accommodate updated health and well being information, we had decent eating habits. My kids were all physically active so none of them was overweight. Still I was always keeping tabs of any changes in their diets. The dilemma occurs when your happy healthy daughter is starting to maybe eat more than she should and you, the Mom, has to figure a way to curb her enthusiasm for food without sending her over to the dark side. One day while Rebekah was helping herself to a second slice of blueberry pie at dinner, I realized that I was going to have to stop this without trashing her self-esteem. I watched her and I pondered this for about 30 seconds before I said, "You know, you’re past the point where you are growing up. From now on you’ll just grow out. So, if I were you, I’d quit eating a second piece of dessert." How’s that for sensitivity? Stellar isn’t it.
That is one of those Mommy moments that haunts me although 13 years later I have not seen any damage. In fact I wonder if Rebekah even remembers me ever saying anything to her. Ironically there is one incident that she and Rachel do remember vividly and I have no recollection. It was another great moment in mothering history. I think I will let them have the privilege of telling that story sometime soon.
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