PAGE # 33
All Day Long
All Day Long
My thyroid and pituitary glands--the usual culprits--could not even be blamed. Although my entire endocrine system seems to favor a roly-poly physique nowadays, my ass had widened beyond medical explanation. My upper arms were busting out of my sleeves--and not in a superhero-transformation kind of way. Oh how my face resembled a puffer fish! The kind that inflates into a giant ball of fear if disturbed by a snorkeler or two. I swear, even my ear lobes appeared twice their normal size.
This was one disgusting metamorphosis.
I don't know if all prospective adoptive mothers gain weight. I guess it makes sense. Some women might develop sympathetic pregnancy symptoms, weight gain being the most obvious one. If I were a less honest narrator, however, I'd forget to mention one other detail: The Cookies.
While Kendra's home was infiltrated by child protective services, my home was invaded by dozens of gingerbread men. They cluttered the kitchen: men, women, boys and girls. They did not come alone. There were chocolate chip cookies, butter cookies, and others too.
My mother baked for days: she sorted through cookie tins, rolled dough, and even resurrected recipes from my own childhood. I forgot that other food groups existed. Well, except for coffee. I ate cookies and drank coffee and ate more cookies. I could not be stopped.
On this morning, my mother caught me in the gingerbread man tin before noon:
"Jennifer! Don't eat those! They're not even painted yet!"My mother planned to paint the naked gingerbread men the next day. She and TJ had bought food coloring and frosting ingredients.
I was out of control but tried to look on the bright side: for every naked gingerbread person I consumed, I saved myself the frosting calories. If I left them all to be frosted, well, that would be really unhealthy. I grabbed gingerbread people by the handfuls when my mother wasn't looking.
I am certain it was on this day--the morning when I learned that Kendra was visited by child protective services--that I fully surrendered to the gingerbread army. I was exhausted. It was just easier to eat them than to locate food elsewhere.
The first thing I did upon waking that day (and every morning those days) was check my phone for text messages and emails. I also happened to wake earlier than usual. So, at approximately 6:30 am, I read this email from the attorney, who had sent it out after midnight:
Kendra emailed a little while ago.
She said she’s trying to hang in there. If she doesn’t deliver tonight, she might agree to an induction tomorrow night.
She had a visit from DCF [Department of Children & Families] tonight because of an “anonymous” complaint. She said they told her it was obviously bogus and they might look into prosecuting whoever made it. The children [her two boys] were clearly safe and well cared for. She believes it was Bobby [the bio dad] who made the call, but she is only speculating.
I’ll keep you posted.
Tom was already at the airport trying to get home, so he had not only already seen this news, but had also sent me an email-reaction as follows:
I do not like any of this. He called DCF for a reason and not because he wants nothing to do with the baby. This baby is not ours until his signature. We cannot for one second think otherwise or we will suffer like dogs.
I read these two emails and ate through an entire family of gingerbread people--extended family and friends included. And with each bite, I wondered less about who had called protective services on Kendra, and worried, instead, how a Freudian analyst might interpret my compulsive eating.
Was there ever (in the entire history of the world) a prospective adoptive mother (besides myself), who, on the day before her maybe baby's birth, filled her belly with boy and girl shaped cookies?
Any reader who can cite a precedent for this disturbing binge behavior (regarding an adoption case), please comment below.