On Friday evening Ben and I met up with another mum (and daughter) I've 'met' through the Around the Dinner Table forum (for parents of young people with eating disorders). We were joined later by another woman I've got to know through this circle, someone who has recovered from anorexia and who I've already met for coffee a couple of times.
So there we were, all sitting 'around the dinner table' in Pizza Express and none of the other diners or staff would have been any the wiser that anything was or had been wrong with three members of our party. To all intents and purposes we were simply a group of friends having a good time.
Of course if you'd listened a little closer you might have heard the phrase 'eating disorder' mentioned in passing. But mainly we were talking about other things. And meanwhile the two teenagers (who had never met before) ate pizzas and drank wine without any outward signs of stress. The only people who could detect the almost invisible signs of anxiety were us mums. But, then, we have a sixth sense built into our DNA.
One of the good things to have come out of this nightmarish journey is new friends: other mums that 'get it' and for whom the irrational and distressing behaviours that come with ED have been as much a part of their lives as mine.
But, thankfully, on Friday night these behaviours weren't evident - just two normal, healthy looking teenagers tucking into pizza while enjoying other people's company 'around the dinner table'.
Just as it should be.