great worrying

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.

10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by intrepideddie on January 30, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I get freaked out every time I imagine what it will be like when my kids are a few years older (now 5 and 2). Too bad they can’t stay little and (relatively) obedient.


  2. That would be very tough for your friend (the dad). When we’re young, we don’t have the perspective of understanding what worries our parents, or how our actions really impact them on emotional, mental, spiritual and even physical levels. But as parents, we *do* remember the positive times that our parents spent (or didn’t) with us, if we genuinely felt like we could lean on them, and if they believed in us in spite of our negative behaviors. I think THAT is what’s important to keep in mind, big picture-wise–being there for our kids and believing in them.


  3. We have been through this too, only with our boy. It is so hard, and it makes you question, as a parent, whether you can get anything right. Back in 2007, we’d moved to a new place, Z had a new school and only one friend at that school. He became extremely germophobic and would only eat food he’d seen prepared OR that he prepared himself. I suppose the upside of all that was that he learned how to cook! Anyway, here are a couple of links to turning points in our journey. Share them with your friend if you think they might help him know that he is not alone.


  4. (this sounds obnoxious…)
    good thing we can’t do anything about the future or I’d start locking up my kids today to keep them ‘safe’ from high school… really. i would. but we can’t do anything except give them what we can right now, right? oh geez. i can’t think about it or my heart will explode.


  5. I’m so sorry to hear about Red’s friend. I pray that she’s on the short side of this phobia. I worry constantly about the ‘horrors” of growing up. I can only imagine what our kids have in store in this crazy world we live in right now. Makes me go crazy thinking about it.


  6. Belle was having issues worrying about dying. She was extremely afraid to fall asleep thinking she wouldn’t wake up in the morning. After bumping her head at the playground she remembered a story that a sub teacher had told their class about a kid who hit their head and died. I would have to check her heart before she fell asleep every single night at the end of last summer for a few months. Then an aunt (meaning well) told her that if she had hit her head that hard her pupils would be different sizes. So then it became checking her eyes and heart before going to sleep. The eyes thing would throw her off when she would look at them herself because since she was born one pupil has always been ever so slightly a different size so then I had to explain that too. Eventually she stopped asking me to do that. I thought thank goodness.

    But it just started up again.

    I could only imagine how hard it must be if that little girl isn’t eating at all but hopefully she will get over her phobia and be able to move on.


  7. It does get tough when they get older. The issues are so much bigger. You will work through it, though. And the pay-off is that the older they get, the more you get to see what amazing people they’re becoming…I just wish I could experience all the bad stuff for them, but I guess that’s not how it works.


  8. I’ve always said that the best thing I can do for my girls is to teach them to bounce back. We can’t protect them forever…

    I feel bad for that girl. Hope she finds her strength!


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