A skip on the stair

I am hopeful about the menu cards, but cautious too. L talks a good recovery, but real food being consumed can be a different matter. We have chosen three cards for meals and three snacks and today this new way of eating will begin.

I lie in bed waiting for her to get up. I feel really ill, my throat swollen and painful and I am feverish. It would be easy to ask my partner, C to get up and supervise breakfast. L gets up, and I hear her come down the two flights of stairs to the kitchen. Something is different. There is a slight skip to her step. Not the tentative, fearful tread of someone who believes they are entering dangerous territory but a definite skip. I go downstairs. She is making the porridge. She is not standing there anxiously. She asks how much milk and I tell her. We look at the card and choose a smoothie to go with it from three choices on the card. We agreed that every item needed a weight, a precise quantity – a maximum for her, but a minimum for me. I tell her that the smoothie will seem larger than she is used to. I show her what it will look like in water. She falters, just slightly and I tell her that this is what we agreed. She nods. The porridge is ready. She eats it, slowly and deliberately, but she eats it. There are no tears. The smoothie sits there and she drinks that too. It isn’t easy. I see her try to leave some and I tell her in a calm voice that the deal is she finishes it. She does. Still there are no tears. Except I want to cry. I am so proud of her and so relieved and feel so pathetically ill that I just want to weep. But I don’t. I hug her and she gets ready for school. I don’t feel the need to hover outside the bathroom. I joke about checking the cushions as she leaves for school. She laughs too.

Off she goes to school and I go back to bed. I hope she wasn’t like this because I am ill. I know this is an upward swing of the pendulum and sure enough there will be a downward one to come. So I am writing this to remind me of what the upward swing feels like – absolutely wonderful.

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