Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How I Sometimes Cope

One of the major focal points of Weight Watchers is to develop strategies to get you through tough situations. It mostly just requires anticipating events where you might falter and planning for them in advance. Having a few tricks up your sleeve. It doesn’t take many tricks to get through a banquet or a barbecue. Drink seltzer instead of wine. Fill your plate mostly with vegetables. And, the handiest advice: stop focusing on the food.

These tactics have taken me through two years worth of book groups, holiday parties and Girl’s Nights Out. And now I’m using the same general principal for coping with the teenager’s absence.

Moments after the teenager departed, my husband rightly pointed out that if we kept his bedroom door closed, it would seem as if he were home. I tried it, and it worked. I look at that big white door shut tightly in its jamb and it’s as if I can hear my son behind it, headphones on, glued to Facebook, while his gym socks ferment all over the floor.

I’ve even expanded on my husband’s idea. When I feel lonely for the teenager – wistful – I simply take out the jar of peanut butter and leave it uncapped with a big, gooky knife lying across the top of it. Or I turn some sweat socks inside out and toss them on the TV room floor next to the couch.

I can strategically place half-consumed Vitamin Waters, dampened bath towels, boxer shorts and Nike high tops throughout the house and create the illusion that the teenager is right here at home rather than 3,000 miles away sullying someone else’s nice tidy State Forest or Nature Preserve.

Unfortunately, Weight Watchers strategies are usually fairly general. They’ll talk about barbecues, but not The Barbecue at the Rawley’s on Sunday Night. Similarly, there is no specific Weight Watchers strategy for getting through a day when you know your son is on the other side of a continent climbing a vertical rock wall with thirty complete strangers. So, while my little deceits have helped me miss the teenager less, they have not helped diminish my worry.

The yogurt-covered pretzels – they’re no longer safe with me.


  1. by this time next week you may be saying, Noah Who?

  2. I am reminded of a Zits cartoon stip...not usually one of my faves...but this particular one was heartbreakingly touching. It showed the mother of the teenage "star" of the strip unzipping his big teenage body. The skin falls to the floor. Inside is the little boy he used to be. She picks up the once again little boy and swings him around, plays a board game with him,laughs with him, listens dreamily as he reads a storybook...and then reluctantly zips the big teenage skin back up and sighs at her big slouching lug of son. It makes tear up...

  3. That was supposed to be "It makes me tear up..."