This has been a really strange day. We have birthday rituals in our house and for years, L and K have had the same one. Breakfast together, with their father, C and me. After breakfast cards are opened, then presents always in that order. Today it was just K, on her own. J set the table for breakfast and laid six places, taking one away. I phoned L and we all spoke to her. She seemed ok, but it was as if the morning had lost its usual rhythm, although K and I joked about her birthday as a singleton….
We picked L up after lunch. She was so excited. She had her new clothes on, that we bought in Spain, her hair was straightened and she was ready to go. We picked up her friend, R, and went to see Brave, a film with a really strong mother and daughter theme. L and I both wept in the cinema, K and R’s amusement. A home, a second present opening. L is the best person to get presents, she delights in everything. I was pleased I had persuaded her father that a tent for Duke of Edinburgh expeditions might not be the best present and that Top Shop vouchers could give her some more immediate gratification.
She ate her snack without a murmur. Then dinner, the first family meal at home for nearly two weeks. I decided to cook a new lasagne recipe, to make sure food tasted differently in case home cooked food proved a trigger. L looked worried, uncertain. I had shooed her away from cooking. But she kept going, and the plate was emptied and a piece of garlic bread eaten. Then came cake. I had cooked a new cake recipe, with bananas and cinnamon, from the Humming bird recipe book. L ate it, even the icing. Best of all, after dinner we had our own post meal ED group, which essentially consists of us holding on to each other on the sofa and talking about what was hard and how she feels. L was tearful, but mainly because she misses us all so much. Our cat Harry, who loves L best of all came and sat on her knee.
In a moment it is snack time. A third food event in one day. I am worried how she will cope. But I want her to get better so much. She told me when she eats each meal in the unit, she still thinks of her and me against Ed. I tell her as I always do that she needs to get better for her. She needs to want to get better as much as I do. And that is the hardest battle.
So, Happy Birthday L, I am so proud of you in your daily struggle. Just keep on swimming, and one day it will start to get easier, I promise.