We were all fat in Sunshine’s eyes. No, that’s not true. Lynne and I were her fat daughters. Straighten Up! and The Tempest were extra thin, thus they were spared the fat taunts. They were taunted in other ways. Lynne and I got the fat label.
Today, Lynne lives far enough away that she doesn’t see Sunshine as much as I do. So I am still subject to the fat name-calling. I’m not fat. Like Lynne, I’ve never been fat. I’m quite average. So average, in fact, that my size pants always sells out before the price discounts begin. Always. Some (read: Batman) even consider me attractive. But not Sunshine. On my wedding day, she could only tell me I looked “fine;” when I was pregnant, she repeatedly told me I was “as big as a house;” after a major abdominal surgery, she told me that my “big, fat stomach looks even worse after the surgery than before.” There’s more:
· Sunshine at the beach: “Aren’t you going to cover up? You look so fat in that swimsuit. You’re not going to walk across the beach like that, are you?”
· Sunshine on my wedding anniversary: “I hope Batman likes wide hips because you’ve sure got ’em and that dress is showing them off.”
· Sunshine out in my garden: “I hope you didn’t plant this garden just for show because you need to eat more salad than anybody. You need to lose weight.”
· Sunshine on some random day: “If you get any fatter you’re husband is going to leave you for sure. Look at you. Nobody wants to be married to a big, old fat woman.”
· Sunshine in my car: “Did you pick this big, old car because you needed the space for your big butt? I’ve never seen seats this wide.”
· Sunshine at my dinner table: “You need to stop eating so much before you get even bigger than you are now. And you don’t need to be any bigger.”
· Sunshine one Thanksgiving (any Thanksgiving; it’s a recurring comment): “Now, just because there’s all this food doesn’t mean you have to eat it.”
Let’s take a look at that last one, shall we? I’ve invited family into my home. I’ve shopped for food and helped prepare it. I’ve put my best plates on the table for dinner, along with the silver utensils. And now that dinner is being served, I’m not going to eat it? Now Sunshine is going to eat as much as she wants; but I’m supposed to start a diet on a food holiday. Yeah, no.
The point is that Sunshine thinks I’m overweight and she thinks that she needs to remind me to stop being overweight every chance she gets. If I said to her that I found her comments hurtful, she would deny that she said anything that could cause pain. That’s always amusing because what she actually says is, “aw, that didn’t hurt your feelings.” Um, yes it did. I’m pretty sure that my feelings are telling me that they’re hurt right now. Sunshine maintains that no feelings were hurt in the delivery of her criticism. She feels just fine.
I think I’ve learned to ignore Sunshine when she starts talking about my weight. But like my sister, Lynne, I will not stand by when anyone tries to criticize my kids. You hear those roaring and growling sounds? That’s me transforming into a lioness and preparing to attack anyone who offers a harmful statement about my kids. One day recently, Sunshine said, “Impossible Miracle Number One is so fat; but your kids are active so it helps her keep the fat down.” Thunder and lightning! Roaring! Growling! After the bloody mauling, I’m pretty sure Sunshine had the message that she shouldn’t say another word like that about my kids. So she went back to calling me fat. Fine. Just watch your mouth about my kids.
This is not uncommon. Many mothers criticize their daughters, I think. I just hope that it doesn’t happen as often for anyone else as it does with Sunshine and me. Sunshine is critical of me every time I see her. Every. Single. Time. It would be nice to hear something kind and complimentary from my mother sometimes. But I don’t. I only hear the things she thinks are wrong with me; and the usual topic is how fat she thinks I am. It would be nice if she would stop pronouncing the impending demise of my marriage; it’s starting to sound like she wants something bad to happen to me– and I don’t want to believe that about her. It would be nice if I could have a day with my mother and not get to the point where I ask myself why I keep trying to do anything with and for her. It would be nice to have a more pleasant relationship with my mother. But I don’t. And I probably never will. And that makes me sad. I need something to eat.
What am I missing here? –Jennifer