My family doesn’t [always] measure tall. If you average our heights, you will find yourself closer to five feet than 6. We’ve got our few exceptions, but overall, we are small packages of spunk (and occasionally glitter).
I remember being in elementary school and feeling SO SAD and dramatic about picture day. It was not simply having my picture taken, it was the whole class lining up from tallest to shortest to find our place in the picture. I dreaded it and almost immediately walked (in a Charlie Brown style) to the end of the line. With rare surprise there would be one rogue child shorter than me who would relieve me of feeling so small, though the next year they would have their growth spurt and there I would stay: the caboose. My mom always giggled a little when I would complain to her. “Oh Colie, if that is all you have to complain about, your life is good.” My mom at 4’11” knew from experience that height was irrelevant.
When my nephews started school, Alex always amazed with how quickly he grew, an event that surprised all of us. Gavin, however, quiet as ever, observed his cousin growing unexpectedly, as he, himself, coasted along our bell curve. Never did I imagine he would have such similar dread to that horrible back of the line! Truly, it was a barbaric custom to make us all line up, the tall kids hunched over in shame, as the little one sniffled. But Gavin is so quiet, always thinking, always analyzes. It is easy to assume that his height was arbitrary to him. Yet there we would be, as adults, pairing them up by height and using this unimportant thing as a classifier for, what to them was, an important thing. My mom recognized that Charlie Brown walk of disappointment. She’d hug Gavin a little tighter and tell him to not worry about his height.
But how could he not worry about it? It was everything when you were that small. My mom had a special story for him. When she was younger, she went to a Catholic boarding school, and as DNA would dictate, there she was the smallest of all the kids.
Gavin guessed, “So let’s see, you were the smallest but you still turned out alright. Mamita, I know this story. People tell me this all the time.”
But my mom had a different moral… you see, when my mom was the smallest, she could see the world a little bit differently. She wasn’t the tallest, or the fastest, but she was the smartest. She quickly learned to devise plans with the other kids to play practical jokes on their teachers. Often being the one that could fit in small places to scare the nuns or the one that could crawl under all the beds to get to the end and escape unnoticed.
Her and Gavin giggled together. You see, sometimes, it’s the small ones that have the most fun.
Her lesson was clear, though: Don’t worry about being taller, that may or may not happen. Be smarter. Use what you do have the best that you can. If you’re not tall enough to get what you want, that doesn’t mean you give up, that means you come up with a plan.
I hope that Gavin passes this along to Dylan, and holds it deep in his heart. I hope that we see this not even just in reference to height, but when we look at our family, our children, and see them frustrated with the things we/they can’t control. Life is sometimes out of our control, but that doesn’t make it unfair. Accept the challenge and find a way to reach for the stars and get everything you want. It’s always more rewarding at the end.