Monday, February 18, 2008
This month we celebrated Kitty's birthday. She was bummed because she got a lot of homework on the actual day, but she handled it well. We had one of her favorite dinners--takeout Indian, because our kitchen is in the midst of a renovation project and we have no kitchen sink, which makes washing up difficult. We had ice cream cake for dessert, by her request, and opened presents.
I couldn't help thinking back to her birthday two years ago, when we were in the midst of re-feeding. And that led me to thinking about where we would be today if we hadn't done what we did, if we'd followed a more conventional treatment plan for Kitty's anorexia. Would she be happy and healthy and as fully recovered as she is now? Would she be in a hospital or residential care program somewhere? Would she be at home, struggling and tormented as she was when she was ill? What would her life be like? What would our family's lives be like?
I looked at her younger sister, Lulu, her face shining with vicarious pleasure at the celebration (and also digging that cake). I looked at my husband, saw the lines at his eyes, the kind of lines that come from both laughing and crying. I looked into the mirrror and saw my own gray hairs, the new lines etched in my face.
And I smiled. I smiled into the mirror, and then I went back into the dining room and smiled at my family. At my beloved, imperfect family. We make lots of mistakes. We mess up. We say the wrong things. But at the end of the day we love one another. We fight for one another. We are stubborn and stupid and persistent as hell.
And our daughter is well.
Happy birthday, Kitty.