I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for bigger people and I believe it’s all due to my grandma Sanders. Grandma Sanders was soft and fluffy. I never remember a day where she was ever skinny and I was ok with that. She didn’t need to be. I also knew even as a child, before knowing the science of exactly why, that you didn’t necessarily have to eat a lot of calories in order to be fat. I never saw my grandmother eat a ton of food, yet even when she would try to cut calories, she would lose some weight, then gain it back. All I knew was that some people are thin and some people are big and the reason why was a mystery to us all. I knew that when I was a child my grandmother had to have her thyroid removed and since then had to take thyroid medication for the rest of her life. She had suffered from hypothyroidism in her young adult years and it had even made it difficult to conceive, yet surprisingly she didn’t gain much weight during her pregnancies. She said that the baby’s thyroid functioned for the both of them which I don’t know if that’s scientifically accurate, but I’m glad that it worked out that way.
On my dad’s side I had grandmother Rathbone. Ironically, this grandmother had the exact opposite condition, hyperthyroidism, which made gaining weight difficult for her and she always seemed a little jittery to me. Grandmother Rathbone was small and thin like a bird. Her hair and clothes were always immaculate and her house was spotlessly clean. My dad would take me for the occasional visit and she would offer me unsweetened ice tea that tasted bitter to my young pallet and I would sit on her pristine white sofa and gaze at her pretty things to entertain myself. The air always had a mixed odor of wine and dignified dust like at a library. There were no toys…or food…or comfort for me there.
I have a vivid memory of leaving grandmother Rathbone’s house to go back to grandma Sanders cluttered, yet homey house. As soon as a walked through the door I was hit with the aroma of fried chicken and could hear the pan of hot oil sizzling in the kitchen. I was home and I relaxed in the assurance that good food, lovingly made, would be provided for me here. I still to this day equate food with comfort and love.
I still believe that food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I know that whenever I’m happy I eat and whenever I want to celebrate I use food to do it. I’ll never be the kind of person that will only see food as fuel, but I also don’t want to eat that brownie in order for “it” to make me happy. I want to just be happy with or without it.