Tomorrow my middle daughter will turn sixteen. Sixteen always feels like such a significant birthday, and this will be the most poignant one I have yet to experience. The past year has not been an easy one for her, and there were many times that I feared she might not live to celebrate this birthday at all.
Had things kept going the way they had been, death before sixteen was an entirely reasonable possibility to consider. Eating disorders don't fuck around. Once they get their foot in the door, they take over with ruthless dictatorship. Hers had her so convinced that it was a beautiful way to go out that she even feared consuming water. Water. Let that wash over you for a second.
Don't drown in the thought, though. She is very much alive. Due to the love of a whole lot of people who donated money towards her treatment, and the dedication of the outstanding team at the UCSD Eating Disorders Clinic, and most of all, her own determination and bravery, she is clipping right along in the recovery process. There are good days and bad days, and she still struggles. It will be that way for awhile. But she is fully weight restored and maintaining, and that is no small feat.
She will not spend tomorrow in a hospital. I will not spend tomorrow forcing syringefuls of Gatorade down her throat. She will be going to Comic Con with her best friend. Her sister will be baking cupcakes for her, which she actually wants. She requested vanilla with lemon cream cheese frosting.
This girl. This life. This landmark. We have a lot to celebrate.