My mother was anorexic most of her life. I’m not sure when it started, but in the years before she passed away, she’d look in the mirror and instead of seeing a beautiful woman who had aged with grace, she’d see a fat little girl staring back. I thought anorexia was a plague of teen-aged girls but at 74, my mother was their queen. She was also diabetic which gave her an excuse to count her food: she could eat nine green grapes and eleven French fries at McDonald’s, her favorite, six of this and seven of that. My mother was also a counter–of things and people and ideas. She counted as she walked and talked and talked and talked.
My mother had an affinity for people and sheep. One year around Christmas time, she made stuffed lambs for all of her friends, 27 in all, I believe. She sewed and sewed the sweetest little woolly animals until she was sick of making them. She’d had arthritis, both ostheo and rheumatoid, since her late twenties so her hands were crippled, bent, and swollen. I cannot imagine the pain she suffered to make those little lambs, but I know that she was happy making them right up to the end when the pain in her bones became excruciating and she couldn’t feel her fingers. She never made another one but she poured love (and blood from her pricked fingers) into the ones she made.
My mother’s home was always full of warm and cozy things, sweet things, tiny little things, dolls and clowns and sheep. She had a magnet on her refrigerator, a reminder of her imagined plumpness. It was in the shape of a very woolly sheep and said, “Ewe’s not fat, ewe’s fluffy.” And she was. My mother was fluffy, like a warm blanket or footy-pajamas right out of the dryer on a cold winter’s night.
So today, while my mother’s on my mind and I’m taking a writing break, I wish you peace, love and fluffiness.
I’m into week two of National Novel Writing Month: 50,000 words in 30 days. I’m about half way there and I’m being diligent. Good luck to all of my fellow NaNoWriMos! If you’re reading this, thanks for taking the time! Now, get back to work!
I’ll be back to normal soon, I hope. In about two shakes of a lamb’s tail.