Personal Essays

honest weight

My daughter weighed herself at 8:30 p.m. I tried to stop her; it’s bad to weigh at night, and this night was even worse than most. Soccer practice makes dinner late, and she’d just wolfed down half a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream—some ridiculous fudgy flavor of the usual exceeding deliciousness.

Though she had spent three hours of the day swimming and another hour and a half running around the field and kicking a ball, she’d also consumed a post-breakfast black-bottom muffin, grilled cheese for lunch, and an afternoon snack of popcorn and several mini-cupcakes.

She left the room sulking and got in the shower, where she spent a long time. I pulled back the curtain, and she was crying. “You have to help me,” she said, pathetic as I am when I beg my husband to keep Aunt Margaret’s chocolate cake in his truck.

“You are not fat!” I tried to make her feel better by comparing my stomach to hers.

“At least your boobs stick out further than your stomach!” she said.

I saw her in her swimsuit the day before, and she looked positively gorgeous. “You have a great body!” I told her. “Your stomach looked nice and tight at the pool yesterday.”

“I was sucking it in!” she said.

“The whole time?”

“The whole time!” She cried again and tried to hug me, the shower water soaking my clothes. I made a snuggle date with her after her shower.

Like mother like daughter. I sucked my stomach in from the time I was eleven until the time I was 35 and pregnant. You’d think those muscles would get strong in 24 years of sucking, but it only gives you a stomachache. Eventually, I got too fat to suck it in anymore.