It’s Friday where I am, people. And, to be fair, probably where you are too, unless you are really far away from where I am, and I don’t think there is anyone reading this from that far away. Anyway. It’s Friday and it’s a long Thanksgiving weekend here in Canader, and the clouds outside my office window look as though they are going to soon let loose with a torrential rainstorm, a deluge of biblical proportions. Or, it might just rain. I am full of dramatic tendencies lately, not sure what that’s all about. It could be due to living with a teenager in my house. Yes, that’s probably it. The drama threat level is pretty much yellow all the time, with the chance of escalating to orange at any given moment.
But that’s not what I came here to talk about, no! I’ve got something way more interesting to tell you, and it’s all about how short I am.
I am approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall. A little taller first thing in the morning, and a little shorter at the end of a day, and way, way shorter after a kickboxing class where I’ve been doubled over by left hooks for an hour. So overall, let’s just say 5’5″ for argument’s sake. I realize that in the grand scheme of things with height and all that, this is not particularly tall. In many places this is probably considered average height, in others, kind of on the short side. But you know where 5’5″ is considered really damn tall? In my family. In my extended family, that is.
My dad wasn’t a particularly tall man, I think he may have been 5’9 at the very most. In his later years, after some seriously debilitating workplace accidents and living with chronic pain, he got shorter – or so it seemed – it could have been the way he had to walk, etc. But at any rate, not a super tall guy. My mum, on the other hand, was pretty tall. 5’9″ at her tallest, but again, age and all that…before she died she may have shrunk to 5’8″ but still – a good 3 inches taller than me and taller than all her friends, etc.
My dad was one of 10 kids – 5 boys 5 girls – and they were all average to on the short side of height. And the kicker was that they all married people of equal stature. So what does that do to the offspring? I have 44 first cousins and, with the exception of a couple of the guys, we’re all pretty much average to short.
My brother and I lucked out because of our mum being taller than most of our aunts and uncles, we actually got a bit more height. He got way more than me, he is 6′. Aaaaaand then there’s me. But, the weird thing is, that within my extended family – aunts, uncles, cousins, their kids, etc. I am actually pretty damn tall. In that when we used to get together at Thanksgiving and Easter and Christmas and if I was wearing even the tiniest of heels, I would have to LEAN DOWN TO HUG EVERYONE IN THE ROOM. Not even kidding, people. Those are some short ass people, am I right? So my whole life I had this false sense of HEIGHT. Height! At 5’5″! The other thing is that I reached this full ginormous height in like grade 7, and I TOWERED over my friends. For, like a year and a half. BUT STILL. Height! Tall! Yay!
Now of course I realize that I am not even close to tall, I am of average height. And in some places (like my karate studio for example) I’m actually one of the shorter people on the floor. When we line up in front of the mirrors to begin class, I sometimes have to laugh at how short I actually am, surrounded by giants, it seems.
So as a woman of average height, with a husband who is also average height, I kind of assumed we would have children of average height as well. You all know that whole thing about the word “assume” of course.
We were never the parents that paid a whole lot of attention to those baby growth percentiles. You know the parents that brag “oh, he’s in the 90th percentile of height and weight!” like it’s some kind of test the baby studied for or something. And, as an aside, I truly believe that is where the whole competitive parenting thing begins. When you give certain parents percentages about anything, they are going to run with that shit like it’s going to get their 8 month old into Yale. And look at your poor, obviously inferior baby who is only in the 70th percentile, they’d better really up their extracurricular activities and volunteer hours to pad out their entrance essay, right? Awwww. Anyway, fuck them.
So, getting back to freakishly tall children… As I said, we didn’t pay that much attention. At checkups, our Dr. always said they were on track, healthy, growing and developing well – and that’s all we ever needed to hear.
So I guess that when it started to look like The Musician was going to be kind of a tall kid, it took me by surprise. And then, once The Artist started having growth spurts that caused him to shoot up an inch overnight it seemed, you could say I was pretty shocked. Now, the oldest boy is taller than his dad – by just a tiny bit I should probably qualify, and the younger one? Well last night he insisted measuring himself with me, and guess what? We are exactly the same height now. And did I mention that he is 12? No? Well he is. 12 and my height. And he has another 6-8 years of growing to do.
What the hell, life? Remember me? I’m the one who is supposed to be the tallish one in the family, but it would seem that within a month or so I will actually be the shortest. That is like 500 kinds of unfair, right there. First of all, looking UP to your kids while you yell at them to do the dishes or finish their homework just does NOT have the same impact. Next? The amount of food we are going to go through is terrifying. They already eat more than The Genealogist and me put together. I weep for our retirement savings.
So, blogfriends, it’s official. I am short again. Well, as discussed, I was never actually tall, but for many years I hung on to that illusion of being tall. And that worked for me. But the reality is that once your kids surpass you, it’s all over. There’s no going back. There is, of course, going forward…and doing it in fierce 4 inch heels. But who am I kidding? In a few years there won’t even be heels high enough for me to bridge that gap.
One night recently I was at the dojo and our Sensei commented on how much taller The Musician is getting, and I lamented the fact that he was so much taller than me, and that his brother was catching up fast. He told me what his father always told him: “You might be taller and stronger than me…but I’ll always be meaner”. I think I’m going to go with that too.
And they’ve already been warned that if they EVER try resting their chin on the top of my head, I will cut them.