Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Birthday baby daughter!

My littlest girl turned 9! (The four babies after her were all boys, which I used too think quite unfair of God, but after dealing with oldest girl, I am GRATEFUL for boys!!!) Belle is a ray of sunshine, compassionate, intuitive, optimistic. Neat kid! Happy birthday, darling!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Punching bag

You can say all you want that anorexia is just as much a disease as, say, cancer..... but I have never herd a cancer patient blame her mother... say she has no attachment for her mother.... prefer that her mother kept out of her life. Cancer patients rally to their support systems. Anorexics push them away and use them as punching bags. Cancer is a disease we group together to fight, and we want the disease to lose. Anorexia is a disease that divides the family, and the patient herself wants it to be triumphant.

I feel like a punching bag. My dd's cool, calm, "stick-the-knife-in" pronouncements during therapy make me question if I am, or can ever be, a good parent to my remaining children. I hate second guessing myself, and dd seems to have some legitimate memories of times I failed her.

All parents fail. None are perfect. But why did it have to be THIS disease that came out?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Homeschooling causes eating disorders?

My dear daughter is obsessed with getting back to her social life. Her social life, and all the anxiety and obsession that come with being a "modern" teen in a non-Christian setting, was one of the things that launched her into an eating disorder. Yet just a few short months ago, she was so THANKFUL I had homeschooled her, and she hadn't had to deal with the hell of middle school.

So dad and mom say shes not going back to her old high school. What I got in reply was a diatribe against homeschooling- how poorly socialized she was, how she can't be "normal" and date and hang out with her friends 6 days a week, how unhealthy it is to grow up surrounded by (gasp!) FAMILY instead of peers. How homeschooling caused her E.D. basically.

I say bull. She had a superior moral education (wether she chooses to follow it is her choice). She had family who loved her. She got to spend extra time in intergenerational relationships (grandparents and younger siblings) and not be so peer obsessed. She had the freedom to develop interests beyond the Disney channel and the mall. She had time at park days, scout meetings, field trips, 4H and birthday parties with peers, but she didn't get to be engineered by their expectations of her.

I am sad to hear her say this. I hope one day, when she grows up, she'll change her tune. Till then, I need to remember I am talking to an eating disorder, and it won't let my daughter hear me. She's a hostage. But she's a willing one, and she is dying to disolve herself in the peer culture and lose her identity and the responsibility of being thoughtful and Christian in her actions.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

3 weeks in!

It's been 3 weeks since we took Zoe to Remuda. Are things better? Well, she's eating! Thats a VAST improvement! And she says they are teaching her how to cope with anxiety (a major issue we JUST learned she had.) She says we had the attitude towards her of "be perfect or get out of the way." (her perception) She says we have left her unable to attach to anything or anyone because we always use it to threaten her into good behavior (her perception). She says she's believed her head was too small for her body since she was eight years old (MAJOR body misperception!)

Do I still think I made her sick? Well, a little. But the more she opens up about her thoughts and feelings and goals, the more I realize I am talking to a mentally ill person. You can't actually talk to her, she doesn't listen. Magnify basic adolescent deafness, insecurities, and irresponsibility by about a thousandfold, and you see how a conversation about reality is impossible.

She loves Remuda. The focus is all about her. I wonder how she'll take having to leave?

Monday, October 13, 2008


We spoke to Z's therapist this morning. She says Z is rather bossy and know-it-all with her peers there at Remuda. Oldest son, Pavel asked us when we got off the phone "So, hows Zoe doing?"
"Well, they said she's being bossy to the other girls."
"That's GREAT news!" says oldest boy.
"Huh?" we ask.
"Well, these past few months, the anorexia has made her cry and collapse all the time... if she's being bossy, it means shes getting back to normal!"

Saturday, October 4, 2008

suffering produces... endurance (Romans 5)

I looked for and found this image years ago, when a dear woman friend was going through a messy family situation. I know we all have times when it seems Christ is asleep, and our little boat is sinking. Lord, wake UP or we shall perish! Yet I know He will not give us more than we can handle. And we only APPEAR alone. He is still with us, still in charge.

Christ's passion and death didn't save US from suffering, but allowed our suffering to be united with His, and have value because of His Divine Power to unify it all. He was not a SUBSTITUTE for our sinful humanity, but He was our representative. He has suffered, innocently, for all the sins of the world. Yet the storm didn't break Him.

This is a storm for our family. The storm metaphor is all around us! It started because of what Matt and I call "the perfect storm." Zoe was getting older, needing a different type of relationship from me. I was very busy running the household, and more comfortable meeting everyone's physical and academic needs. Her new on-line school was a source of companionship for her, but it quickly became a peer-obsession, with all of the futile high-school romances and catty friendships of a typical teen soap opera. She dived right in. At public school the next year, she attached to some really nice teachers- as if they were her parents, and found the same type of peer drama. It didn't help that both of her grandmothers have food/ weight issues- one is Jack Spratt... and the other is not. The skinny, weight-obsessed grandmother told her she needed to lose weight when she was 13. Matt and I knew she was carrying around an extra 15 pounds or so, but most kids do before they hit puberty, and we were sure it would melt off. At away school, she was both pleased with her newfound beauty and it's power... and scared by it. And I wasn't there, as a good mom, to guide her through it. And her dad was angry she was so lazy around the house. So she was alone, to figure out life without a guide except herself and some friends who were as rudderless as herself.

I'm learning right now- how to connect better with the kids. Making time to play more. Praising more. But even though Zoe is away at Remuda Ranch, there is still the storm damage of my negligence and the injuries she left behind.