Friday, May 25, 2007

Weighty Issues

A little more than ten years ago, my sister Christine went on an LDS church mission. She was the only one of the daughters in our family to serve such a mission. This made her a bit of a novelty to which none of the other sisters, including myself, could relate very well.

While she was serving, I would occasionally think about writing her, but I was not very consistent with that loosely contrived plan. One morning, I flew to Kentucky on business. Since I was bored playing Solitaire on my laptop, and it had been months since I had written Christine, I decided I should do the charitable thing and write my missionary sister a letter.

As I typed the Microsoft Word document, I asked her some generic questions, told her about my job and the kids, and then I finished the letter inquiring as to whether she had gained any weight yet. Much like the Freshman Fifteen in college, young female missionaries have the reputation of putting on some unwanted weight as well. Thinking I was being funny with the weight comment, I chuckled to myself, quickly finished the letter, and printed and mailed it off when I got back home.

Not more than a week after that, I received a response from Christine. She began her letter early on addressing my remark about how much weight she had gained. She emotionally explained, that it had been so hard to eat right and exercise while on this mission. She described how she was too poor to buy healthy, fresh food so she mostly ate bread and pasta with a little bolgna. She said she had long since outgrown all her original mission clothes. She was having to buy bigger and bigger dresses almost every week. Even her shoe size had grown!

Completely in shock, I continued to read how she felt so terrible about herself and what this weight gain was doing to her. She confided, that she had not told anyone else in the family about this yet because she was so embarassed.

She requested my help as well. Knowing I could sew, she asked if I could make her some tent dresses, as she had gotten so large she did not even know if normal clothes would still fit her. Then she loosely sketched a small drawing of the type of dress she needed.

My heart was pounding and my hands were shaking. I felt awful for such an insensitive comment in my original letter. I immediately committed to myself, as soon as I finished the letter, I would begin to sew the prettiest tent dresses I could. I assured myself that when she got back home, we would go running together and I would help her take of the weight.

Feeling awful about my sister's predicament, and unable to even picture what she must look like so suddenly overweight, I turned the page of her handwritten letter over. It continued with the simple pleading, "Please pray for me." My heart sank. I marveled at how she could have left us less than a year ago as a size 4 and already be at this point.

Then without skipping a beat, she continued to write. "I am kidding. I have hardly gained any weight at all. Maybe a couple pounds, but I don't really know, becuase I am a missionary and don't own a scale. But it was rude of you to ask. And what is with never writing me? Ha! Did I get ya?"

At that is how I learned the lesson, the rest of you probably already knew, that it is never polite to ask someone if they have gained any weight lately.


  1. Your Lil Sis really got you. I hope nobody asks me that question. I have and don't like it. YUK!

  2. i will and have endeavored to never ask anyone anything i wouldn't answer should keep me a little safe...



  3. Hi Debbie,

    I do like the sound of your family and you bring them to life so tellingly.

    Take care


  4. I think it would have been nice to have had a nice thin picture of me on your blog instead of the scale :)

  5. Hahahaha... and your sister still had the last word!

    Congratulations again for making the top spot!


  6. Congratulations on top of the list! Not only did your sister fool you, she fooled me too. haha!

  7. Anonymous,

    She got me and got me good. Hook, line and sinker.


  8. Karoline,

    Very wise piece of advice. Think that would have kept the Motherhood sales ladies from asking me my due date when I had only gone in their maternity clothing shop for a gift for my expecting sister-in-law?

  9. David,
    It isn't hard to bring to life people that are as lively as my family.

  10. Christine,
    Hmmm...Sorry about that. But we can click on your name to see your eautiful picture all the same. I guess I could reconsider the picture choice. But did you realize I took that scale picture? Pretty cool, huh?

  11. Cecilia,

    My sister succeeded in a major prank with that letter. But there is never a last word, because when we are together, my sisters and I never stop talking. Never. It is constant non-stop jibber-jabber.

  12. Chewy,

    So glad I was not the only one duped by my sister's persuasive writing.

  13. Lol! That was great-obviously your sister, with that kind of humor! *grin*

  14. Eve,

    I'll be sure to tell Christine (once again) that she obviously gets all her wit and charm and beauty from her older sister. Well, at least her wit.



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