There’s the relentless voice that tells parents their kids are overweight, and the one that wants to protect them from the truth; the voice that makes them feel guilty when they let their kids have a treat and guilty when they say no; the one berating them to do more, and the one nagging at them — as they see a world of hurt in their children’s eyes — that nothing they could say seems right.
When Nanette Magno looks at her youngest son, she sees a sweet 8-year-old who plays soccer and baseball and likes to help out in the kitchen.
Other people, she realized a few years ago, see something different. There was that day in church, for instance, when they ran into one of his classmates.
“That fat boy is in my school!” the kid yelled out, excited to see a familiar face.
Magno doesn’t generally talk about this with other moms. It’s too painful. But one day, looking for help, she will begin to share. First she’ll show you his soccer team photo.
“He does stand out,” she says. And indeed, he does.
She will go on to tell you that three of her four kids are significantly overweight and that she’s overweight herself. She will confide that as much as she keeps it inside, the problem consumes her. She is confused. Frustrated. And ashamed.
“I feel sometimes we’re being judged,” she says quietly.
She’s right, of course.