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.


Anonymous said...

Happy birthday to your dear girl. I'm happy for all of your family. Congratulations, and here's to a fabulous year ahead!

Unknown said...

Happy, happy, happy birthday and whole year to the whole family!!

Isn't normal SWEET!

Kate Harding said...

Happy birthday, Kitty! And yay for the whole family.

mary said...

Happy Birthday Kitty!

Don't wonder how it might have been different had you allowed the ED to decide for itself when it was ready to let go, or that you didn't hand her over to experts that excluded you, KNOW that you took the path that led to today. It's quite sad how many sufferers lack the support that helps them battle their ED the way you helped Kitty. You all did good!
BTW, it can get better and better.

Rachel said...

Send my happy birthday regards!

Carrie Arnold said...

Happy birthday, Kitty!

That was beautiful, Harriet. It's good to remember that there are no perfect families, and it's all just okay. Hope your kitchen is back in action soon.

samsi77 said...

What a wonderful posting! I hope that Kitty had a terrific birthday and that her year is filled with love, luck, happiness, and qually importantly health and family! What an amazing picture you painted of you and your girls, Kitty and Lulu celebrating, keep smiling! Steph

Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz said...

Oh, Harriet. This was so very beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Happiest of Birthday's to Dear Kitty! What a day filled with courageous memories and accomplishment!

And way to go Harriet- your daughter/family is so very fortunate to have your love and strength!

All the Best-

Harriet said...

Thank you, one and all. Right back at ya.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes to Kitty the birthday girl and family.

(I'm sorry it's belated - I'm a bit work-distracted - but personally I think birthdays should last at least a week.)