"I want to be just like you, Mommy!" my 3.5-year-old daughter said to me recently.
I have another blog focusing on my daughter, and I wrote about it there and how cute it is that Ellie wants to be just like me, from my curly hair to the shoes I wear.
But I didn't mention how I try not to cringe every time Ellie says that to me, or a version of it.
Like any mother, I want so much more for her.
I want her not to inherit my food issues or my struggle with my weight and the low self-esteem that it causes. More than anything else, I want her to be healthier than I am, both physically and emotionally.
And I want her not to inherit my worried nature. Although I think it might be too late on that.
Already, she asks me every day about the various body parts she has heard me mention as painful.
"Are your knees better today, Mommy?" she asks. "Are your wrists better, Mommy?"
Sometimes it seems like the body parts she asks about are almost random, like she's going through anything she can think of that might hurt. "Is your tummy better, Mommy?"
That last one hasn't been a chronic complaint since her infancy, when I finally seemed to heal from the chronic peptic ulcers that plagued me for five years. So she's never really heard me complain about stomach pain on a regular basis. Although she might ask me about it because it's one of the questions we ask her when she's ill and we're trying to figure out what's wrong with her.
"My tummy is all better," I tell her. "It doesn't hurt at all."
And that was when I realized that my chronic illness really upsets her, more than just the way her life changed when I got sick and she had to start going to daycare instead of playgroups. She worries about me.
When I told her my stomach was all better, she got this look of amazement on her face, followed quickly by pure joy.
And then we had to go through all the parts that do hurt, which aren't all better.
I try to be positive when I talk to her. I tell her that no, I'm not all better, but I'm getting there. And I'm working really hard on it.
"You need to go to the doctor, Mommy. Tell the doctor she should make you all better!" Ellie says.
If only it were that easy.
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