L and I had our first anorexia free evening last night. After I took some deep breaths, got some sleep and just took the time to think things through, it seems that what’s really happening is that her team and her father are taking over the anorexia stuff so we can ignore it for a while. I do have anxieties about her father’s ability to cope – but I need to deal with that and let it happen. This is the fatal trap we often fall into as mothers – our male partners aren’t as good at some tasks as we are so we learn to do them ourselves. Or perhaps we secretly enjoy being better. Possibly we even develop a sense of superiority. Poor men, they’re a bit hopeless, we think as we cook the meals, load dishwashers, clean houses and hold down jobs. And whether the men in these situations use ‘being a bit hopeless’ as an excuse for putting their feet up, after putting the bins out, or secretly resent being sidelined domestically, the result is the same: stressed, tired women on hamster wheels of work and home, always wondering why no one helps.
I digress. So, L and I spend an evening at IKEA. It is down the road from the unit and instead of visiting, I pick her up and we go there. I need boxes for K’s room clearance due to forthcoming replastering and decoration. We are redecorating J’s room too. I tell L my plans and in IKEA, I show her a possible sofa bed for J’s room. I extend it and we lie on it as a bemused elderly couple try and examine it too. L makes the shape of Michelangelo’s David, or “that dude who painted the ceiling – Leonardo somebody?” I forget to get a trolley and L goes to find one. She comes back with one, but takes away some oven gloves in the bottom. “Did you want those?” I ask, thinking why on earth would she put them in there in the first place. “No, they were in the trolley”. she says, stifling a smile. It dawns on me that she simply walks back and took the first trolley she saw and presumably there is now some poor confused customer wondering where their trolley went. She giggles and walks off. We get boxes and as usual I start to think how we could reduce clutter by putting more things in boxes. She tells me to step away.
I ignore her pleas to push her on a flatbed trolley and instead we use the aisles of Self Serve to practice trolley bob-sleighing. She is ridiculously unpracticed at this and it is the first time weight comes into our conversation as I stress the need to balance the weight of the trolley contents, needing to lean forward after jumping on the trolley once you have picked up speed. She manages a perfect run and bows at the end.
It is perfect. Well, as perfect as an evening gets in our situation. When I drop her back, I hug her as tightly as I can. I had told her how worried I was she didn’t want to see me and she told me not to be such a doofus. I have been a bit of a doofus this week, and indeed other weeks, but I think things might get better.