“Measure me, Mom!”
Ruby pleaded with me. Her brown eyes mirrored her concern. Among her friends, she’s the shortest. She’s also the lightest and the most slightly built. I can help with none of those things. I have always been small but definitely not the most slight. I had a roommate in college who was a scant 1/2 inch shorter than me. But when we weighed the same – in the low 120s – I looked okay and she looked obese. Frame size is everything. I felt like a giant next to her. Strange but true.
Ruby’s friends are mostly blonde, blue-eyed giants in comparison. They come from taller stock. I should mention all the girls are very pretty, beautiful in their special way. Sometimes they make fun of Ruby’s tiny stature. She hates it.
Back to the little girl standing next to the wall. Her posture ramrod straight, she has a dancer’s body. Her muscles are long and lean.You can see every one of her ribs if she lifts her shirt. She’s a gamine type, my youngest. The only time she was ever remotely chubby was during babyhood. After that, fuggedabout it! It’s how she’s made. Blame it on her preemie birth. She doesn’t diet, exercise or even think much about food. She will be the envy of all her friends for these qualities soon enough.
But she wants so desperately to be taller. Every day it’s the same thing. “Mom, I know I’ve grown.”
I humor her a lot of the time. This time, too.
“Okay, heels against the wall, ” I instructed. I took out a pencil and made a mark on the wall, level with the top of her head.
She hadn’t grown. Downcast, she walked away.
“Let’s measure again on your cousin’s birthday!” I said. Another couple of months should net at least a 1/4 inch of growth, right?
We don’t get to dictate our growth. We aren’t in charge of our height or when it increases. I had a great growth spurt in 8th grade. I grew 1.5 inches. I was thrilled. “This is it!” I thought. “Here I go, up, up, up!” And then…nothing more. That was it.
To be inclusive, Zac and I have had similar conversations. He hasn’t grown since January. He’s taller than me but shorter than his father. To him, it seems a bit like puberty purgatory. He wants more height, too. And a new cell phone.
I can do nothing. We can do nothing. What we can do is celebrate where we are. We take the growth when – and if – it comes. I’m in no hurry to have my kids grow up. Soon enough they’ll be out on their own, much taller than I am, seeking their destiny and eating jellybeans all year round. Right now, having everyone at home, small though they may be, is perfectly fine with me.