Monday, February 14, 2011

The Book of Love

215.6lbs. On Sunday's weigh in it was 217lbs. It was a much smaller gain than what I was expecting really. But if I just looked at the numbers it made complete sense. Each spike is getting smaller as we go! I took the differences between lowest weight for a week and compared it to the highest one (post binge day) and there was a progression, roughly: 7,6,5,4,3. I wonder if the binging will almost have no effect at all, pound wise, shortly. That would be kind of wild. I can't say that it is absolutely definitive as of yet (correlation is not causation) but it would be weird to see what effect it has overall with daily losses.

I watched something incredible happen over the weekend. Some things touch you in an indescribable way and leave their fingerprints on your soul forever. Such heart shaking events happen in the most unlikeliest of places. They can happen while staring at the edge of an open sea, toes massaged by sand. They can happen in a well lit downtown vista of lights and sounds. They can happen in the stillness of a snow filled winter night. You know these moments when they touch you and they stay with you until you die. If we are lucky, we have too many to count on our deathbeds. If unfortunate, we cling to the very few we have had. My latest moment happened in a department store on a Saturday afternoon and even writing this makes me tear up about it.

My daughter Madison has struggled with her weight for awhile. I can relate to Madison, having been an overweight boy, at her age. At 10 years old, I had to lose weight to play football. It wasn't like I was a huge kid, or so I thought, but even the Parks and Rec equipment guy had a hard time finding stuff that would fit me. I had to diet at the age of 10 (almost 11 - like my daughter) to be able to play football with kids my age. I didn't understand it, it confused me. I was perfectly fine the way I was, thank you very much. But looking back, I was either in denial or people had been hiding the truth from me.

I really should have noticed when my parents couldn't find pants that fit me. We went to Sears one day to get jeans and all they had where toughskins - husky. Husky was the nice way of saying fat in the 70's. What made matters worse was the only pair my parents could find were green! I wore that pair of pants for years. My parents never understood that once I was able to wear something different like the bell bottoms I could finally fit into, I never wanted to let them go. I would probably still be wearing them today, if they would even remotely fit me.

Madison is the same way with her clothes, if something fits (or doesn't in some cases) she will wear it until it rots off. Sometimes, she will try to sneak out in the same thing she wore the day before. But this particular Saturday, we were going to go buy some new clothes. You see, my Maddi Bear has watched what she eats and has had a healthy breakfast every morning and, in doing so, has lost quite a bit of weight. She is smaller and happier now but nothing prepared me for Saturday.

Usually when we buy her clothes, we have to go straight for the plus girls sections and we are limited to mainly one store, JC Penney's. We have tried other stores but nothing seemed to fit our girl. We even took to taking the kids clothes shopping separately. It's hard when your siblings are fit or skinny and you aren't, trust me on this one.

Now the one thing Maddi Bear and I have bonded over was clothes shopping. I felt proud because I was always able to pick out the things she liked and she was happy that we had such a thing in common, taste. But on this particular Saturday, this did not hold true, she wanted skinny jeans like all the other kids wore and she wanted them in a size that was appropriate for her age. I held my breath. I didn't want my girl to be disappointed again. Christy and I would often look at each other knowingly and tear up because we knew nothing would fit our girl. But like I said, today was different. Very much so.

As Maddi trotted off with Christy to the dressing room with her skinny jeans and small skirts, I paced the floor. Christy or Maddi never sees this but I pace, I get nervous. I want the best for Maddi and I hope and hope and hope. And I waited.

After a shorter period of time than usual, Maddi trotted out beaming. The light inside of her beamed through her smiling eyes beckoning me to look. There she was: skinny jeans and all. Each successive fitting was better than the last. "Honey, I think that is actually too big for you." She would trot back to the dressing room with her mom and I would try not to fall to my knees crying from the joy I saw on her face.

My mind flew back 33 years ago to another department store and the last pair of green huskies on a rack at Sears. There I was, a little boy in a cavernous hall of clothes that would never fit me though I desperately wanted them to. Frustrated parents were standing over the boy not knowing what to say or do. The boy understood none of this. Just as I suspected my daughter never knew why it seemed such a stressful time for us when we went shopping before.

Maddi spent the rest of the weekend wearing her clothes, twirling her skirt in the kitchen over and over again; putting on her skinny jeans and parading around the house. I love that kid so much. As she says, "We are a lot alike."

I look back today, Valentine's Day, and think about the nature of love and it's many odd and wonderful manifestations. Love has sent me sailing over rooftops and has driven me into the ground. I imagine the song for today is correct in its assessment. There is so much love in the world and if there was a book that contained all there was to say about it, it would be huge, boring and inscrutable. It would also certainly contain instructions for dancing.

Watching my daughter surreptitiously (the one who says she never dances) while she twirled and danced in our small kitchen, filled my heart with such joy. I will never understand why I have been deemed worthy of such moments, it is beyond me. All I know is that love is all encompassing, from our lovers to our parents to our children to our fellow man. I love my wife and my children and just seeing them happy amplifies my love for them even more, it shakes me. I never knew such a thing was possible.

Happy Valentine's Day. John.

"The book of love is long and boring
And written very long ago
It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes
And things we're all too young to know"

1 comment:

  1. As I sit here after finishing one of the most touching and beautiful things I have ever read and wiping away tears, I have to tell you on this day of all days, you are my everything. Everything I am is more so because you are in my life. I see anew through your eyes the wonder that is every day and am amazed at the color, texture, and taste of real life. I hope that I bring you as much joy as you bring to me...