All week long I have been fretting and incredibly anxious about my Grandma Cronkright’s 92nd birthday party. Family parties and I tend to not get along so well. As difficult as it is for me to admit, I came up with at least six different excuses to get out of showing up.
Most of my family members look forward to or even count down the days until the next big Cronkright party. Not me. For some reason I flat out dread them. Pinpointing the exact reason has been a struggle for most of my childhood and early adult years. For a long time I blamed it on the ridiculous amount of food that somehow seems to continuously grow more and more out of control each year. My family can eat. I can't ever remember having a holiday dinner. Instead, lunch seemed to be a better idea. That way, the eating never really stops. It's a continuous process. Grazing. All. Day. Long. There seems to be an irrational fear of running out of food. I'm starting to think it's hereditary. Only two turkeys for Thanksgiving?! We better make a ham or two. You can quickly begin to understand why this would be an issue for someone with an eating disorder.
Yesterday was the first time I had seen most of my family all summer. I was dreading their reactions to my weight gain and comments about what was on my plate. My original plan was to stay for lunch and then take off. Shockingly, neither their reactions or comments were an issue at all. If anything they seemed genuinely thrilled to see me. I did get the occasional, "You look great, Kels," which typically sends my brain into a downward spiral very quickly (my brain twists looking great into looking heavier). But, for the first time in my life I actually believed there was a tiny bit of truth to what they were saying.
As soon as lunch was over I was ready to jet. But, luckily, that's when the good times got started. The boys headed out to the famous Cronkright wiffle ball field. I can't remember a family gathering without a high intensity baseball game in the backyard.
While watching the game, I got to spend some quality time with a few of my favorite cousins. If forced to choose a favorite cousin, I don't think I could do it. Each of them makes me smile for different reasons. I am one lucky girl to have so many wonderful people with me for life.
After the ball game was over, because the guys in the family seem to have a problem sitting still, they hit a few golf balls. A circle was set up as a target to chip the ball into. Not one of them made it in the circle. I think it's best to stick to baseball, boys....
After a few hours passed, it was hard for me to believe that not only was I still there, but my cheeks started to hurt from laughing so much. I was truly enjoying myself and it was about to get even better.
Out of nowhere, my brother came out of the house with water guns. Before I knew it the young boys were doing laps around the house, more squirt guns appeared out of nowhere, Tommy climbed up a tree, and the hose was fired up. I haven't laughed that hard in years.
|After a water balloon hit the table- we knew it was only a matter of time before we got hit...|
By this point, it was pushing 5 p.m. and not only was I having a good time, I didn't want to leave. I was starting to worry about getting my dinner calories in... but it was kind of a nice change to allow my brain to get caught up in the moment rather than obsessing about food.
Somehow I got sucked into a game of (what my brother calls) dingle ball...
My dad and I ended up winning the first round. We were then challenged to play a second time. By this time I knew I needed to grab something as part of my dinner. I was at a cook out, having a really good time, so I thought what the heck? Have a hot dog (for the first time in probably 10 years). And I have to say, it tasted pretty darn good. I was eating a hot dog and playing dingle ball at the same time and not even thinking twice about whether or not I should be having that hot dog... Amazing.
Hot dog in one hand, dingle ball in the other :)
Twenty four hours after the party and I'm still smiling. Where else are you going to celebrate a 92nd birthday with baseball, super soakers, golf, and dingle ball? For whatever reason I have always felt uncomfortable at family gatherings, but I proved to myself yesterday that not only can I get through them, I can also have a pretty darn good time. My family is one of a kind. I think the healthier my mind is becoming, the more I feel like I belong. Yes, I am definitely still struggling with a lot of things during my recovery process, but it's very comforting to know I have a loving family to get me through. I am coming home in a week for good. As nervous as I am, this weekend allowed me not only to see, but actually believe that I will have a warm welcome back into my life. :)