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My Unforgettable Spring Break…

Everyone looks forward to Spring Break, right? The kids are
out of school. It’s time for a trip to the beach with the family.
The getaway we’ve waited for all winter. Dinners out. No cooking.
Settle in with a good book and suddenly… I’m faced with reality.
There’s no way I can squeeze into that two-piece bathing suit I
came across yesterday, because I have an eating disorder.

Food is something I’d struggled with long before I became a
mother of three. Food was an escape for me when I was a
teenager.  I could bury my insecurities, feed my teenage anxieties,
suppress my fears of not fitting in or being part of the in crowd.
But as I began gaining weight and my high school classmates
would look at me walking down the hall, talking about me
behind my back, I became anorexic. I wanted the perfect body.
I wanted to be attractive to the boys. I wanted to be one of
the popular girls.

Suddenly all these memories came rushing back and I was
overwhelmed with the thought of a week at the beach, a less
than perfect body, and my husband wondering why I was spending
so much time in the room. Did I want my three daughters to go
through the utter despair I faced every day? Did I want them to
develop an unhealthy relationship with food? Did I want them to
think their bodies weren’t perfect enough? Absolutely not!

I knew then and there I had to face my disorder. I knew I couldn’t
do it alone. So I did one of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my life.
I sat down with my family one evening after dinner and shared my
problem and my past with them for two of the most grueling hours
I’d ever faced. I cried. They cried. My husband held my hand as I
explained what it had been like. My daughters gathered round me
and hugged me. And I never felt so afraid, so utterly hopeless, yet so
unbelievably supported and loved.

And then I asked my family if they would make one of the biggest
sacrifices they could possibly make for this Spring Break. Could we
put the trip to the beach on hold until I got myself into a program
where I could get the help I needed to overcome this terrible
emotional strain I’d been carrying with me all of these years.

There was the longest moment of silence. I didn’t know what to
expect because I knew everyone was looking forward to this week
away. My husband turned to the girls and he said, “To be fair,
let’s take a vote. Everyone in favor raise their hands.” At first, the
girls hesitated. And then my oldest raised her hand. And she was
joined by my other two daughters. And my husband raised his hand
and they all held me for one of the most incredible moments of my
entire life. At last I was going to have the chance to become the mother
and person I always wanted to be.

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