Sweet 16: A day at the mall

February 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 Mothers and daughters shopping together.  Seems simple enough. Unless your mom weighs over 400 pounds and she can’t even get from the car to the door of the mall without needing to sit down. On her 16th birthday, my daughter could have asked for anything.  But all she wanted was a day at the mall–with me.  Not with her friends.  Or her boyfriend.  Me.


The fact that I just wrote that sentence means something earth shattering has happened in my life.

Let me put the mall in perspective.  It’s like a really loooooong hallway.  Realllllly loooooong.  When you weigh 400 plus pounds, you do NOT want to walk down a long hallway even if it does have lots of stores every step of the way.

When my daughter was born, I still loved going to the mall.  I would take her there during the day when she was just a toddler.  She would run up and down the mall as we window shopped.  Of course, I always made sure to stop at Aunt Annie’s Pretzels or the Great American Cookie Company for something to munch on along the way.  Mostly I would visit the candy store where I’d get a pound of malt balls.  Or two.

You’d think I would have been more interested in clothes or jewelry or any number of other things sold in the mall.  But no–my heart belonged to the food.  Even when we lived 30 miles away from the mall, I drove there simply for the cookies.  And the pretzels.  And the food court. Of course I told myself that I was going there to let my toddler run around but the truth is that I was there for the food.  Ironically, what drew me to the mall was what eventually kept me away from it.  The more I ate, the more I gained.  And eventually the weight made it impossible for me to walk in the mall.

In recent years when my teenage daughter wanted to go there, I would drop her off and pick her up later in the day.  You’re probably thinking that’s what most teenagers want anyway, right? But my daughter actually wanted me to go with her.  Yet all I could do was sit in the car because the weight was crushing my ankles. So I sat in the car knowing that my daughter was in a dressing room trying on clothes wanting to share the experience with me but not being able to.

Isn’t that ironic? You hope your daughter will still want to include you in those little moments when she gets older.  And then when she does–you can’t include yourself because you ate too many Aunt Annie pretzels and cookies and pizza at the food court.

 I think back to when she was little.  And how I imagined our future together.  How I envisioned what she would look like as a teenager.  What kinds of things we’d do together.

 Back then I had no idea what the future held.  But a decade or so later, she is out of the stroller and I am now the one needing to be pushed around.  Needing a wheelchair because my weight is crushing my feet.

But things are changing.  Now I can walk up and down the mall and I feel like I’m floating.  I’m still just under 300 pounds. I’m still obese.  But I feel like I’ve got fairy wings and I’m flying down the mall.  I’ve lost 130 pounds but it feels like 500.  My best friend tells me that for every pound 10 pounds you lose,  it’s like 40 off your knees.  Well, I feel every one of them.

 It’s a strange feeling.  I actually forgot that most people don’t feel constant pain when they walk.  It’s been so long since I’ve had that feeling that I forgot it was possible.  For years walking has been painful.  Every single step.  Now when I walk, I feel nothing. No pain at all.  Well maybe I feel some pain in my knee where I injured it but that’s nothing compared to the pain I used to feel in very inch of my body. It’s nothing compared to not being able to stand up on my feet without wanting to cry.

We all have those memories of going to Homecoming or the Prom.  When you become a mom, you get to relive it all over again by taking them to find that special dress. Only by the time she got old enough to attend these events, I was well over 400 pounds.  I couldn’t walk more than 10 steps without feeling like I might pass out from the excruciating pain in my back.  My feet were so swollen that I could no longer fit them in shoes.  I could only wear flip flops and even those were a size 12.  I hadn’t been inside a mall in years.

So I drove her to the mall for what should have been a beautiful memory.  Her first dance.  But I sat in the car alone watching her walk into the mall without me.  She had to go in all by herself.  I couldn’t be there to help her pick out that first Homecoming dress.

 She wanted to include me.  She wanted my opinion . Can you imagine having a teenage daughter that actually wants your opinion? Here I was blessed with a daughter who wanted to include me but because I ate myself up to 400 plus pounds I couldn’t be a part of it.

So my daughter hatched a plan. She went in the mall while I sat in the car.  She would try on dresses and snap pictures of herself in the mirror.  Then she’d send them to my phone. I would sit in the car and look at the pictures and then she would call me to ask my opinion. Finally she’d come out with the dress she had selected.  It was a sweet gesture she made trying to make me feel involved but inside my heart was breaking.

 I still could see her at 3 years old playing dress up.

Spinning around and saying “Look at me mama!”

I remembered her as a toddler running up and down the mall.  Stopping to press her little face against the glass and stare at the princess dresses in the window.  One day she’d be trying them on, I thought.  And I’ll be there.  But then I put another malt ball in my mouth.  Another bite of the pretzel.  And my 26 year old self kept on pushing the stroller never realizing that in 10 years from that moment I’d be practically disabled from what the food had done to my life.

And now my baby was a teenager and the moment had arrived.  But she was walking in alone.  All those  malt balls and pretzels and pizza had seperated us from one another.  They had pushed us further and further away.  And now what kind of mother could I be?  One who has to sit in the car and miss out on all the memories?  Three dances.  Three dresses I “helped” pick out–from the pictures she sent to my phone while I sat in the car.

I used to worry that one day my daughter would get married and I wouldn’t be there to help her pick out her wedding dress. Oh I’d be there at the shop…I’d just be sitting in the car–if I still fit that is.  I was almost to the point where that was going to be lost to me as well.  Now THAT was a very scary possibility.  How would I get my children where they needed to go when I was too big to fit behind the wheel? And worse than not being able to be there when my daughter picks out her wedding dress? How about not being there at all.  Because I died.  From a heart attack.  Or in my sleep because the weight finally crushed my lungs.

This year when my daughter turned 16, her only request was a trip to the mall–with ME.  She wanted to go with me. Her mom.  She wanted to have that experience. To walk into a mall with her mother. To walk around the mall without having to find a bench for me to sit on. Without having to snap pictures of herself and send them to me in the car.  This was her birthday wish.

And finally I could give her what she wanted.

 So she tried on clothes in the dressing room and I was there STANDING to watch her come out and show me.  Oh there was a chair.  But I didn’t need it.  So we shopped.  We laughed.  We tried on dresses and shoes.  And we enjoyed every minute of it.

Here’s some snapshots from our day:

This is what you have outside your mall when you live in Texas

Walking in!

Dressing room!

Make up! What girl doesn’t love that?

My daughter and I walking in the mall together 🙂

And here is where we DIDN’T go…

We did stop off at the area where I used to get “parked” when I was still able to walk in the mall but was just too tired to do much but wait.  Here is my daughter sitting on the couch smiling…because I’m NOT on it!

The food court was enemy territory but we both knew it held no power over our lives anymore.  Some of those places might be calling my name but I wasn’t going to answer. Nothing there could tempt me to leave my daughter behind again.  What they were offering had the kind of consequences I was no longer willing to pay.

My daughter turned 16 and I was able to give her exactly what she wanted.  The fact that what she wanted was to spend a day with me means I was really the one being given the gift. .

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle February 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm

This is absolutely the most beautiful post I have EVER read. I have tears streaming down my face and know EXACTLY what you are feeling. I am so very proud of you and so excited to watch you in this journey and here for you every step of the way. You GOT THIS and just wait until you get under 200 and you are SHARING clothes! Its a feeling I never thought I would feel (as I sit in my 17 year olds pajama pants now) and so incredibly freeing. Thinking of you oftem and much XOXOXOXOXOX to you!!!! Thank you for sharing this!!!


Sheila February 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Another amazing post Holly! I just love all the pictures, but this was my favorite from your blog…"But I feel like I've got fairy wings and I'm flying down the mall." You DO have fairy wings and you can finally fly and I am SO happy that you can. 🙂 What a special memory for you and your beautiful daughter, I bet that was the BEST birthday present she's ever gotten!


Staci's Slimdown February 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I just told my husband "I love this woman!" 🙂 I don't love you because you have lost 130 lbs. I love you because of how you write. The way you express your feelings is really amazing. Getting to see your body shape change is just an added bonus along the way! Your daughter is a beauty. I am so happy you all had this moment with each other!


gabetoby February 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Thank you for sharing this post, you continue to inspire me 🙂


Anonymous February 28, 2012 at 3:19 am

Wow! What a post that was beautiful and so true for many of us who have any weight to loose. Your daughter is beautiful and looked so happy to be spending the day with you. Such an inspiration to us all.


Anonymous February 28, 2012 at 3:47 am

Looks like an awesome day! Brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for posting!


Kelliann February 28, 2012 at 6:51 am

This is a beautiful post… thank you. Your daughter is gorgeous and she is just GLOWING because of the beautiful time you got to spend together. Wonderful!


Katie February 28, 2012 at 6:59 am

I love reading your blog! It gives me inspiration, but I also love it because I can relate to it. So many things you write and express on how you feel, is how I feel. You say what I feel basically! I am the place now where I hate going shopping, or places I use to love to go because I have to walk, and that's a struggle for me at this time. I'm in pain, I get out of breath, I have to sit down all the time. It seems like more of a hassle, and dread than anything. When I read your blog it gives me hope, that I too can do it! That you know where I am, you've been there, and you are prove that it's something that can be overcome.


knitalot3 February 28, 2012 at 8:37 am

You are so inspiring. I'm so happy for you that you are getting your life back. Your daughter is amazing and beautiful. So is her mom. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.


Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 28, 2012 at 8:55 am

Do you know what? That just really meant a lot to me. That statement you made just then. That meant more than you can know. I love writing and it's something that I have always felt was a decent part of who I am. It's probably one of the only things I've ever felt I was decent at and really truly loved doing. The fact that you would give me that compliment makes me want to cry!!! It really means a lot to me. Thank you so much!!!


Mike Turner February 28, 2012 at 9:44 am

Thumbs up Holly great posting and its is so great to see the love your children have for you as you have for them.


Debbie does Skinny February 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm

You're amazing! I'm so glad I found your blog! I cant wait for the next update!! I'm hooked!
I just started my weight loss Journey a new weeks ago and started my first blog today.
Have a great day!


Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan February 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Your daughter is so gorgeous!! It looks like the two of you had a fantastic day together.

I am noticing such a difference in my joints too after 70lbs. My knees feel fine and my ankles aren't sore after a long walk.

I am so thankful that I live so remote! There is only one restaurant in our community. Any fast food places are 400km away and we only heading into town once every couple of months. Nice not to have that temptation close to me!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm

You're right! That is a good thing. I will admit that when we lived in Alaska I had far less temptatoins. We also had the kitchen on the second floor so all the food I bought had to get dragged up a flight of stairs lol. Kind of a deterrant!!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 28, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Thanks! I will go check out your blog right now!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 28, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Thanks Mike!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 28, 2012 at 3:05 pm

thank you very much! I really appreciate that!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.


Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Thank you Michelle. This means a lot to me. I hope one day I can share more than just a salad with my daughter!! Sharing clothes now that would really be a miracle!! You are an encouragement to me an I love your blog. I looked at all your running pictures too and your progress is amazing.


Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Thanks Sheila!!! You're awesome!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 28, 2012 at 3:19 pm

thank you!!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Thank you so much!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Thank you!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 28, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Thank you so much Kelliann!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 28, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Thank you so much. I am so glad that something I have shared has been helpful. I really get a lot of inspiration and insight from hearing what others are going through. I can totally relate to what you feel about getting out of breath and how it becomes more of a dread and hassle to go anywhere. Wow do I relate to that!!Thanks so much for commenting!


Twix February 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm

So very happy for the both of you! Beautiful story, 🙂


tina January 15, 2013 at 11:20 pm

oh you made me cry! what a wonderful gift your daughter gave you! your story/blog has touched me in so many ways- every spare moment I have since I found your blog I’ve spent reading your story. thank you!


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