Grateful for

My parents grew up poor. Rationing food, wearing hand-me-downs, and walking to school in broken shoes poor. On Christmas Day, the well-off kids would show off their fancy toys and my parents, ashamed, would hide their knick-knacks and knock-off toys for fear of being teased.

To this day, my mom (now well-off), still hoards plastic bags from the grocery store to re-use in the home. She clips coupons and visits five different stores to find the best deal. She keeps clothing from twenty years ago because, who knows, she might wear it one day.

My father used to collect any money he could to buy a candy bar at the store. Years later, one of my earliest memories is stopping at a gas station to buy a Snickers bar, simply because he could. We snacked on our bars at 11 o’clock at night (this was the 80’s, people, there was less judgment around child-rearing) and listened to music on an 8-track player.

Because my parents grew up poor, they never wanted my brother and I to grow up wanting for anything. We lived in a working class suburb in my early childhood and my parents scrapped together jobs – delivering pizzas, working overnight at a factory, serving as senior home aides – to make money until they could obtain their professional licenses and move into the middle class.

Now that I have kids, my parents spoil them as well. My kids have too many things and we do our best to dwindle down the piles, to explain to our kids why they can’t buy everything, to have them understand that there are children out there who don’t have the opportunity to own allofthethings – ultimately, to have them understand that things are just things, and there is no end to the hedonic treadmill.

In my experience, it’s easier for someone who comes from modest means to understand why they can’t have everything, and to be grateful for what they do have. I wonder how I will teach my children, who are being raised in a bubble, the art of gratitude, grace, modesty.

(Barely) pregnant

So this happened today, on Christmas Eve. I honestly can’t think of a more perfect present!


Yes, I am barely pregnant at this point. And really just maybe pregnant. Maybe it’s a false positive, maybe I’ll miscarry, maybe the baby will have a birth defect that’s incompatible with life, and on and on and on. There are so many unknowns right now, at literally only 4 weeks pregnant, but part of me is already trying to wrap my head around what life could be like in August of 2018. Three little ones – 3, 2, and a newborn. Our house will be packed to the brim. The financial plan we created this week will need to scrapped and redone. My current baby will no longer be a baby – he’ll be a big brother. Will it be (our third) boy or a girl?

Right now, I’m just praying that this barely-there pregnancy sticks and that our baby is healthy.

Merry Christmas!

No longer a salad person

Tonight, we had dinner at a local pub. We sat tables across from my son’s classmate (their family is not very friendly, so this seating was unfortunate). The mom, who is quite slim, ordered a salad and picked at it. For a second, I looked down at my forkfuls of mac n’ cheese (swiped from my kids), veggie burger (I have been vegetarian for 2 decades), and french fries, and felt a bit ashamed. But then I remembered the days of being a salad person, and was overwhelmed with happiness that I am no longer a salad person.

Disclaimer: people who eat salads are good people. And salads are good for you. My concern is with being the type of person who would only order “salad, no bread, and dressing on the side, please” and then lose her shit if the dressing was accidentally mixed into the salad or someone dared throw a bread crumb in there. Or someone who spent 2 hours on the elliptical in college because she had “eaten too much” the day before and then headed to the cafeteria mid-day to eat her one meal of the day – salad.

In college, there was a painfully thin blonde freshman with wavy hair and glasses. All she ate was salad. We (including everyone with an eating disorder who didn’t actually think they had an eating disorder) called her Salad Girl. She would buy two trays full of just greens with nothing on them. Then she would work out next to me on the elliptical for 2 hours. There was a 30 minute limit for the elliptical (a popular machine if you have an eating disorder because you can “work out” while still exerting minimal effort since you’re always running on empty) so we would all sign up with different names. This was in the pre-everything-online days so we had to sign in by hand or call the night before. So if you were signing up twice you had to call twice and make sure you waited a while (sometimes hours) so the front desk wouldn’t catch on. But of course other people would see you on the elliptical for that long and realize you were not both Bridget and Amy.

I am so happy to no longer be a salad girl. Sometimes, I think the pendulum swung the other way – my diet is not the best at the moment. But I try to have a few healthy things sprinkled here and there, and mostly I do my best. And I count my blessings that I am no longer counting every calorie, obsessing over every bite, and mapping out the details of every workout – that shit was exhausting.

If you are struggling with food restriction, I don’t have any great advice for you, but I do want you to feel hopeful that your life will not always be this way. I never imagined I could live the way I do now – but here I am! One day the switch just flipped. The main reason I had an eating disorder was because I thought I needed it to succeed. I thought being thin was the ticket to career advancement, finding a man, getting married, having a family, and owning a white picket fence. I held on to that fantasy for dear life. And then when I was told I had to gain weight if I wanted to get pregnant, I panicked. But what about the rest of my life!? The amazing thing was this: when I gained weight, my life did change – it improved. My career went on, I stayed married, I had children, I bought that white picket fence, and, most importantly, I freed myself from the intense anxiety of choosing french fries over salad.

For the record, I now choose french fries 95% of the time, and despite owning an elliptical, I rarely use it.