Nine-year-old me, while devouring Judy Blume’s book Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, came upon what seemed like a brilliant adage: “A moment on your lips, forever on your hips.” I thought, “Perhaps this ditty was the missing piece in the how-to-be-thin puzzle.”
Month: December 2021
The first time I watched a baby being delivered, the world narrowed to the woman in front of me. And the head coming out of her. Followed by a little shoulder, then the other. Then there was a baby in the room. A brand-new human being, seconds old.
The doctor placed the baby on the mom’s chest, and the baby cried—a soft newborn cry, the kind before their lungs develop and it becomes shrill.
I stood in the corner, afraid that if I said or did anything, the magic in the room would disappear. I felt my eyes water, but I couldn’t talk.
I’m not much of a cook, but I’ve always loved Thanksgiving dinner. What could be better than a heaping plate of turkey, smothered in pan gravy? Or the smell of roasting turkey wafting through the house? So many memories of family and friends have been centered on that sumptuous bird—until one day last summer, driving on the interstate, when I followed a livestock truck.
I grew up Italian American, which meant special occasions were marked with food. Christmas was celebrated with a white cardboard box stuffed with cannolis, napoleons, and baba rums. Family gatherings included wedges longer than I am tall piled high with capicola, salami, and prosciutto, accompanyied by bowls of mozzarella balls glistening with olive oil. Summer nights entailed grilled sausages and two-for-one ice cream sundaes at the Carvel across town.
Mrs. Beazley comes in a few days before Thanksgiving. Her chief complaint: “My nails look awful.” As she sits on the exam table, I notice that she can’t reach her feet to take off her shoes and socks. I review her labs and note her blood sugar level. My mind starts to outline the lecture I’m about to deliver; I start off by saying, “So, tell me what you ate for breakfast today.”
As a young child, I switched back and forth easily from eating with chopsticks to eating with a fork and knife. In the same vein, my palate ranged from both my favorite dish that my mom made—spicy chicken and potatoes—to a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
When I entered middle school, one of the biggest changes was that our cafeteria now had microwaves. Thus instead of waiting in line and buying lunch, I could now bring in my mom’s carefully packed meals: stir-fried dishes, dumplings, even curries.
When my then-16-year-old daughter announced that she was going vegetarian, I wasn’t concerned, as we all liked veggies. And it would be a healthy diet. However, I soon realized there might be an issue—a fairly big one.