Friday, August 10, 2007

My big kids

We get a lot of comments on how tall our kids are. When David was three and we were out and about, people would ask, "How come he's not in school?" I'd tell them, "He's only three." Then the typical response of, "Oh!" would follow. He's not exactly a giant, though he is taller than many of his peers. I don't wonder so much about his height, but then there are my girls.

I'm a very tall woman and I was a very tall kid. More importantly, I was a very tall girl. I don't know if you know this or not, but out in the "real" world if you are a little different from everyone else, well, it's not necessarily perceived as a good thing. Particularly during adolescence.

Those were some rough years for me. I remember in fifth grade being about the same size as most of my friends and then suddenly, everyone was shorter than me. Like, a lot shorter than me. Then people began drawing quite a bit of attention to my height. Not, "hey, what sparkling blue eyes you have" or "you've got some healthy hair, there". No, it was always, "Hey! You're really tall!!"

Really? I hadn't noticed.

It became irritating. Really irritating. And it only got worse the older I got. When you are a self-conscious pre-teen to begin with and then everyone keeps drawing attention to your physical being, it's nothing short of humiliating. They may as well have said, "Hey! Look at how microscopic your bosom is! Remarkable!" Okay, well they might have said that too. Imagine if I'd gone around calling attention to how "short" other people were. Like, "Hey, tiny! What are you, about 4' 3"?"

Then as I grew older and was more interested in boys, I'd sometimes get comments from guys saying, "Oh, you must be at least 6' 2" because I'm 6' and you're taller than me." I always steered clear of those guys because I was pretty sure the delusions didn't end there.

I remember my high school graduation when we were paired up alphabetically to walk down the aisle toward our seats. It just so happened that the young man whose name came right after mine was an actual "little person". Yes, whatever the PC term for it is now, he was a dwarf. We had grown up together so when we saw we had been assigned to walk together during the processional we glared at each other, shaking our heads in disgust. I wonder which staff member said, hey, let's team up the tallest girl in school with the smallest guy. Won't that be a kick? And now when I reminisce on that day I look at the pictures of me walking down the aisle, seemingly alone, since you cannot see my partner's cap from above the crowd.

So when I get these growth charts for my girls and I see how tall they already are compared to their peers, I wonder if they're going to have to endure the same trials I did. Hopefully they will embrace their height, and be proud of it. Maybe they won't be as clumsy and awkward as I was (am) and they won't be all that bothered by it. Or who knows, they may not even be that tall and it will be a non-issue altogether.

Or perhaps I'll start calling them "shorty" now so that when the tall comments start, they will be thrilled.

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