we’re five on a couch, eating cookies. my husband will not be pleased. i will have to vacuum, yet again. (i vacuum constantly.) but food is one thing i try not to have many rules about. it makes me happy just to see my children eat.
because once upon a time, i didn’t. i stopped eating when i was nine years old, a shy home-schooled pastor’s daughter, and for four years i was given blood tests and cod liver oil and time-outs and counseling sessions, but all i wanted was love.
i think that’s all any child wants, and i’m learning to bend low and gaze into their old souls. my two biological sons, and two foster. to hold them close while the dust of heaven rubs onto mine because they’re fresh from the other side.
this is not to say i don’t want to rub off on them as well. after all, i’ve been to the other side too. the side which whispers lies into a child’s ears and makes her believe she is less than lovable. the side that makes 80 percent of eight-year-old girls diet. the side which kept me from hugging my parents for two years. (i cling to my boys because they’re flesh of my flesh.)
but there’s going to come a time. there always comes a time, when a mother has to go. not spiritually, but physically. you cannot keep a mother from praying.
and my mother never stopped praying. she may have made mistakes. my father, too, and heaven knows i did. but my parents bent low on their knees morning, noon and night and begged the high heavens to save their little girl, and the nurses marveled at my hypothermic body. i was 13 years old and 60 pounds and dying, but not dead, and i’d seen a vision of a woman running, healthy and strong and muscular and her hair wasn’t falling out and her nails weren’t cracking and i knew: this was no way to live. this was hell.
there are days now when all i can do is pray, with four boys ages four and under. days when i crawl under the coffee-table and wait for the house to fall down on top of us for the way they’re throwing toys down the stairs and pulling toilet paper off the roll and spilling milk on the carpets. days when i just wait for this day to be over. but you can still pray from under a coffee table. you can still pray when your world is falling apart. in fact, that’s pretty much the only thing you can do.
the kids are done with their cookies now, and it’s chaos again, them jumping on the couch and fighting over toys and begging me to read them a story. and i’m looking for that coffee table.
but for a moment, while they ate, it was quiet. for a moment, they were absorbed in how good the cookie tasted, their eyes round with delight, their mouths chewing, and these are the moments that keep a mother believing.
these moments in which her children eat. these moments in which her family is fed.
this week i’m giving away TWO copies of my new book, Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder. to win a copy for yourself, for your church, for your school library or for the family down the street, please leave a comment below telling me ONE THING YOUR MOTHER DID RIGHT.
By Emily, www.emilywierenga.com