The last few months have been difficult. I have missed my mom’s wisdom and guidance. It has been gone ever since she was diagnosed with memory loss so my guess is that her guidance has been gone for about ten years. Not that I took her advice every time, but more than likely she was correct about what ever problem I was struggling with.
My second born and my girl who thinks she looks “large”. It was early this year that she told me she looks fat. Fat. My girl thinks she looks fat. My long-legged, brown-eyed girl thinks she looks fat. I cringe to even hear or type the word.
I’ve heard her say a few times that she doesn’t look right. After her birthday party in July she looked at her party pictures and stated, “I’m the largest one in the picture”. I’m quiet, trying to think of the words to say to her that will get her to understand how worthy she is. How I see her. A beauty with the kindest heart for animals and who had the greatest understanding of her grandma’s memory loss. She was like the memory loss whisperer. All the residents loved her.
I use the words…perfect. Strong. Healthy. Everyone is different. I can hardly get past the thought that she doesn’t like how she looks at nine.
I don’t talk about people’s weight. I have girls and I know how easy it is for people to point out how people look. Sophia and Emme are different shaped but I don’t draw attention to that. They are two different human beings just like all humans are. As Emme sits in my lap, I tell her none of us are built the same. None of us.
Last month, she had her nine-year check up. I was trying to put on her intake sheet what my concerns were but I could tell Emme was looking at what I was writing. In small letters on the bottom of the page, I asked her doctor if she would talk to Emme about how she is feeling.
The conversation went like this with me in the background:
Dr. J. : Emme, I checked your height and weight and you are right on track with where you should be. I’m glad to see that you are still playing soccer and hockey. Your mom tells me that you played flag football last year! I love that you play sports. Your body is strong!
Emme: blank stare
Dr. J. : How do you feel about everything? Anything you want to tell me?
Emme: I look big. (me tearing)
Dr.: Emme, you are the strongest girl I have seen this week. You have muscles, you’re tall, strong and your weight is perfect. All of this (points to her own belly) is normal to have. Skin and fat protects our organs. We need that to survive. Emme, you are athletic and you are exactly where you need to be. If I was worried about you, I would tell you.
Fast forward to this week and Emme comes home with this:
In school, she was asked to describe herself and she had to write it down. She came through the door on Friday and set it down on the table. I took one look at it and I knew where that statement came from.
I loved the doctor’s conversation with her. Casual, non-threatening, direct and poignant. Emme got it. I got it. I think she made her feel worthy again. Even though I had been supportive and loving, it was the best ten minutes.
Worth. I hope she never loses that feeling of being worthy.
Emme hasn’t mentioned anything since her visit with Dr. Jennings. I sent a message to her the week after the visit to tell her thank you and her words were perfect.
Half the time I have no idea what I’m doing right as a parent. Highs and lows. Good and the bad. I wonder how often my mother felt this way and how she got past it. I wonder if the things I said made her sad.
I know that she always made me feel worthy. And I hope I do the same things for my girls.