Red has a very good friend, they are the sweetest together, watching out for each other, true partners at school and every year they are put together, seated together, partnered, and even paired together with others who need additional moral support in class.
It makes me really proud of both of them.
Last year, when the “swine” flu was the most common subject in the news and on the street, I struggled a bit with Red, who suddenly became immensely phobic of germs. I wrote about it on my previous blog “Movin’ Down the Road.”
It got so bad and I was so worried, but eventually, especially once summer hit, the phase and worry passed on her part and therefore I was relieved of it.
Red’s little friend has suddenly developed this anxiety thing at school, and it causes her not to eat, especially in the cafeteria. Just the other day, I saw her drinking “Ensure” because I know her dad is trying to just be sure she gets the nutrients she needs into her, fast, throughout the day, until they resolve this issue. J and I are good friends with her dad, who has custody of his kids, and does an amazing job parenting his two girls.
It’s horrible and they are getting a handle on it, even though this little eight year old is seemingly disappearing, physically, but her personality is big, her presence is huge when she is here in this house and she shines at school. But she still just doesn’t eat.
I got her to eat with us the other night though, when she was here visiting, a few completely dry pancakes, which is more than she has eaten in a while, apparently. Anyway, at school, the cafeteria is too crazy for her for eating, so her dad asked if Red would be willing to eat with his daughter somewhere quieter. He arranged it with the faculty, so Red eats with her friend in the principal’s office (which is apparently a really fun and exciting special thing to them!) It seems to be helping, but not sure what will happen when re-introducing her to the cafeteria.
This whole thing has really affected me. I feel bad his little girl is going through it and that he is going through it. He even has her going to a therapist who specializes in eating disorders and the last time I talked to him, he was horrified and sad and struggling.
It makes me think about the kind of kid I was and what I put my parents through. I never did anything REALLY bad, but there were times I didn’t eat, times I stole candy from my sister and her clothes when she went to college. I stayed out past my curfew but I wasn’t out partying, I was making out with this cute guy I adored, out on the front lawn. I didn’t study and got b’s and c’s, and they knew that if I studied just a tiny bit, I would have gotten a’s. I faked cleaning the house when I was supposed to and shoved my dinner under the rug, often enough. (we didn’t have a pet). I also screamed and yelled and butted heads with my mom, on a daily basis. About what, I have no idea, but all I know is we were both stubborn and over the years I have had to let go of it, for my sake, for my own behavior, and for her sake.
Although the things I worry about now are minor, like how Red is doing with math (tutoring starts next week) or if Blue is lying to me about small things, I realize these will be teenage girls, going to middle school in a few years and then high school. I think about what I saw or what I experienced as I got older and cringe to think of my kids in similar situations. We can’t always protect them, but we can be there when the come to us, needing help to fix something or just be comforted.