When I set out on the adventure of being a mum, I promised myself I would never lie to my children. It didn’t last of course. Along came Father Christmas, a whole complicated lying exercise which involved forging letters, eating mince pies while trying to silently arrange presents late at night and a bit drunk. Magic kisses, the pretence that a kiss from me would make any harm better. Games in the car pretending that blowing at the radio made it louder when really I had a button on the steering wheel. But not real lying, not harmful lying.
Until now. I buy bottles of diet lemonade and normal lemonade, pour the diet lemonade down the sink and fill the bottle with the sugary kind. I add extra olive oil to L’s food, extra cheese in an omelette. She doesn’t know, and I hate deceiving her. But it’s a way to get past the anorexic wall, if she believes it’s sugar free or fat free and it isn’t, we can keep her safe, while her mind heals.
One day I’ll tell her. I just hope it’s not when she’s older, with a daughter struggling in the same way. Here we are on holiday, three generations who have all struggled with food. Eating, drinking and being together, three of us looking anxiously at the one who needs us most.