New Year’s Eve turned out to be ok. Eventful, but ok. We went off to friends for a party in the pub across the road. I was really excited – the first time my mood really lifted all holiday. My friend T and I were dressing up as nuns, in a Sound of Music fancy dress theme. As we headed off, I realised we had forgotten L’s familiar snacks. I’d planned to stay at home until snacks were over. But L seemed ok. She had cake for pudding and asked if she could have cider as a snack.
Let me be clear about why I said Yes. L is 15 and drinking regularly is obviously a bad idea. Over a year ago she and a friend made themselves very ill drinking smuggled white rum. But despite this, I trust her. And alcohol has calories and is full of fear for her. So I said yes. Because if she didn’t have anorexia and asked for some cider at NYE, I’d say yes.
Off we went to the pub. J stayed in charge. Just before 11, J showed up looking worried. L had been drinking cider. Quite a lot. I rushed back and discovered a young woman with a loud voice, telling everyone she loved them. K and my friend’s daughter had been feeding her bread, trying to sober her up. She told K, she couldn’t hear Ed’s voice. A year ago, I would have been horrified at a drunk teenager. This time I took it in my stride. I sat with her, fed her banana and tea, fetched a bowl when I thought she was going to be sick [she wasn’t ] and told her a thousand times that no, I wasn’t cross and no, I didn’t hate her. Today, I wrapped her in blankets and fed her comfort food, we mixed up the snacks list and meals. We had the first takeaway pizza in a long time and L laughed when I said that while her anorexic voice would be angry about the pizza, her hangover voice would weep tears of gratitude.
In the war being waged by anorexia on L and it seems,on all of us, it is important to recognise the gifts. L got drunk. She also laughed. She squealed with delight and was out of control – out of the control of anorexia. The gift here is Perspective. My daughter got to be a normal teenager for a night – if normal means breaking rules and doing really daft things. We got to spend a lot of sofa time together today. She just brought a snack she chose into the living room and it is Christmas Cake. Perhaps 2013 will be the year she gets better