Sunday, May 8, 2011

my mom...

...makes this pie. this chocolate chip pie. i grew up on it and several other staples- one of them being egg and cheese sandwiches.

mom's pie is a big deal. sometimes i feel like other moms only bring us Christmas gifts to ensure that their yearly pie will appear all wrapped in green and red cellophane on their doorsteps. and then they end up fighting their kids and husbands for it.

one thing i never did give up for my eating disorder was my mom's pie. i think deep down i always knew that i would look back one day and hate myself for having an eating disorder for so long, but i didn't ever want to look back on time with family and wish i'd invested myself better. so whenever that pie was around i took one for the team and i ate a piece. granted- i somehow managed to keep my caloric intake vastly beneath what i needed- even on the days i ate the pie. and if not, i always made up for it afterwards- sometimes one piece of pie projected implications as far as a week ahead for my diet and exercise. but it was worth it to me to be present with my mom and her deep-dish chocolatey masterpiece surrounded by steam swirls from coffee, beneath the kitchen lights at our raw wood table.

my mom is a lot like her pie. this pie- it's got a layer of dark, dark chocolate chips and then another layer of some other-worldly kind of goodness. my mom is the same way in that she isn't just one flavor of woman.

she's got a heart so vast it's intimidating- she nurtures and she loves with an artful brilliance- but she's completely willing to say what needs to be said- even if that means telling someone close to her that they're being an idiot. she takes life seriously enough to know that laughter is sometimes the only appropriate resort. she is gentle and kind but genuine and real. she is sweet, but never so much so she is limitedly tolerable.

eating disorders are often stereotyped as being rooted in the mother/daughter relationship, but recent research does not support such stereotypes. although the idea that a mother could play an integral role in the development of her daughter's eating disorder is more than valid, it is hardly generalizable across the entire eating disorder population. and it certainly is not generalizable to ginger wade.

i remember being a little girl, walking down the sidewalk in my red mary-janes after school. i was in awe of how beautiful the autumn leaves were, and i noticed two or three that i just couldn't bear to leave behind. i picked them up and put them in my backpack. in the moments that followed i became so overwhelmed by the beauty of the leaves that i realized i was going to have to save as many as i could. i ended up 20 or so feet behind my class, stepping and pausing, stepping and pausing, putting flame-colored leaves into my backpack until it was full. when i got home, i ran inside, opened my backpack and dumped the pile of leaves onto the living room couch. mom asked me please not to do that again, but not before she thanked me for bringing the leaves home so she could see them and for appreciating fall because it was the best season.

when i was in second grade or so, i had this smelly red slicker. it had navy blue lining and big pockets. my mom has always loved cinnamon rolls and i somehow knew that. mom made my lunch almost everyday, and they were the best lunches, so when they served cinnamon rolls one day at school i had an easy time trading some kid something for his. i wrapped it in about 30 napkins and tucked it safely into the pocket of my slicker. i tapped my foot and bounced in my chair the rest of the day because i was so excited to hand my mom the sticky white package and watch her open it. i didn't take off my slicker until i walked inside my house, just to make sure the cinnamon roll would be safe. when my mom pulled the sugar saturated napkin away from the gold-brown roll, her face lit up and she went on and on, thanking me as if i'd just presented her with a gift she'd been wanting all her life. she had this soft yellow sweatshirt with red writing on it and that it seemed like she wore more often than not when we were around the house. i remember her standing there in that sweatshirt, microwaving the cinnamon roll and then eating it. she told me it was the most delicious thing she'd ever had. she ate a cinnamon roll that had made its way from an elementary school cafeteria tray to the pocket of a second grader's rain slicker to her kitchen counter, just so i could feel like she appreciated me thinking of her. years later, she told me she didn't even mind eating it- all germ-covered and tasting like wet rubber- she was just so touched by me bringing it to her she was happy to eat every bite.

i remember my mom coaching my basketball team and getting so into it. all the girls loved her because she was perfectly real with them. there was this one girl who was really tall, but just a little bit slow. my mom told her all the things that made her good at basketball, and that if she would just anticipate what was going to happen, that she could intercept any pass she wanted. i don't think there was a game that followed that the girl didn't end up with 4 or 5 steals. one practice, my mom sat the whole team down and told them about Jesus.

when i turned 16, my mom found a barn some way or another and she planned the most magical surprise birthday anyone has ever had. it was perfectly chilly and the barn's wooden beams glowed with white twinkle lights. music was playing and there was fire for roasting marshmallows. she had gotten me this wonderful poncho, woven in a million colors of yarn and i felt special and beautiful and loved. it was the best birthday i've ever had.

it was roughly three months after the surprise party that my eating disorder started.

my mom always says that having a child is like pulling your heart out of your chest and letting it walk all around outside your body. i suppose it was for that reason that my mom fought when i wouldn't fight, ate when i wouldn't eat and loved me when i wouldn't love myself.

even when recovery felt unnatural and all wrong, and i couldnt think of any reason i wanted to keep going, knowing that i was giving my mom her daughter back made perseverance worth all the struggle.

thank you, mom.

i love you.

happy mothers day.

in Christ,


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