I have alarming news. I am tall. Not only that, but I have passed on this physical attribute to BOTH of my daughters. I know, it’s shocking how tall they are compared to other kids their age. I can tell in your tone of voice when you say, “She’s SO TAHHLL!” inevitably followed up by, “Is your husband really tall?” As if there needs to be more explanation than the almost 5’10” woman you are talking to.
I realize that you, in all your petite glory, don’t know me, and don’t see this as a rude comment. You probably don’t know what it’s like to tower over the boys in middle school. You don’t know what it’s like to not be able to share jeans and shoes with all your sorority sisters in college. You don’t know how annoying it is to constantly be asked if you played basketball, and you don’t know what it’s like to look like a giant in pictures:
I know, boohoo, poor me. I’m not saying that there aren’t upsides to being tall or downsides to being short, I just don’t comment on your height or your son’s lack thereof so I don’t understand why it’s so common for you, a stranger, to point it out about my daughters.
I am not exaggerating when I say that Avery hears that she’s tall 4 or 5 times a week. Whether it’s a well-meaning mom saying, “Oh, she’s so tall! When’s her birthday?” or just a random guy in the grocery store going, “SHE’S ONLY 4? Woah! She’s tall!” She can hear you. And it’s awkward, because what’s the appropriate response? “Yes, I’m aware that I am tall.” I taught Avery to say, “Thank you” whenever someone comments on her height because at least she knows what to say when it happens day in and day out. And I’m not worried that it bothers her now. It actually doesn’t bother her at all. It bothers me. Because I know what’s coming in her teenage years when all she’s going to want to be is the same as her friends and every little thing that makes her stand out suddenly comes under scrutiny.
I will tell her she’s beautiful, and lucky, and that her outside isn’t as important as her inside. We all live through adolescence and eventually come to terms with our physical attributes. I just don’t want her to find out how much people are paying attention to her body already. She’s only 4.