Letters to a Tall Girl: Part III – From Mom

Dear Little Boo Boo Pumpkin Pie Monkey Face Bubby Bear,

First off, just so we’re clear, I will be calling you by some terribly embarrassing variation of the above FOREVER. In front of your friends. In public. On your wedding day. I’m your mother and, last time I checked, it’s illegal if I do not.
Moving on…

When you were about two years old a pediatrician examined your growth chart and remarked, “We can’t accurately predict these things, but at this rate she’s going to be a six=footer.” I joked that it must have been all the non-organic apples I fed you. We laughed (because growth hormones in food is always funny) and that was that. You were always going to be tall. You were always going to look a year or two older than you truly were. I predicted you’d pass up my 5 ft. 7 inches by age 13, but I was off by two months. You hit 5’8 last Halloween, and you turn 13 this Christmas Eve. And, though you’re excited to be a for-real-deal teen alas, you are way less jazzed about being a long, tall drink of water.

It prompted me to seek the counsel of family, friends, acquaintances and a few well-meaning strangers, as something of a birthday present to you. Please do not panic. You’ll still receive things you actually want for your birthday. It’s only that, any time you express feeling ugly, foolish or awkward, and I tell you that you’re not just beautiful and brilliant, but also a truly elegant light in a world that so badly needs it, you reply, “Well, of course you’re going to say that. You’re my mom!” Which is something I said to my mother, and she said to hers, and so has been the dialogue between mothers and daughters since time immemorial. But I’ve problem-solved it for us! I’ve gathered the opinions, advice and encouraging words of others. Non-biased, non-parent entities! I didn’t even have to pay them to say nice things about you, nor are any of them known liars. And, they most definitely are not just saying it because they’re your mom. Accolades don’t get more legit.

In their messages, I noticed a lot of mention of boys and how your advanced height may or may not relate to them. But there’s something more to be said about your fellow females, other than the annoyance of being taller than the munchkinlandish petites among them. You’re a middle school pro by now, thus you know just how vicious girls can be.  To be considered beautiful, in our society, the only things that can be big on a woman are her eyes, her lips, her boobs and – as long as her waist is “itty-bitty” – her butt. Maybe also her hair, dependant upon the year/decade. But big feet, big hands, big thighs, big waist, big nose  or – worst of all – big brains, and the overall message a girl receives is that she’s somehow less feminine and far from pretty.

For as long as I’ve roamed the earth (all these 37 years), the ideal female has been presented as one of little stature; both in physique and power. She is cute, dainty and sweet. And, while no one is knocking cute, dainty, sweetness, it’s certainly not a mold we who make up the entirety of the “fairer sex” can reasonably strive for. But a lot of us ladies do; enough to support a whole plastic surgery industry. It’s tough enough to be female in a world where girls have always been (quite literally) beat down. It’s much worse when they’ve been conditioned to compete with one another over beauty bragging rights. But, it’s nothing short of awful when your female peers serve as your harshest critics.

Now, since there is so little about your personal appearance that one can easily pick on, (“omg, like….your hair is so…..thick, silky and golden….and your teeth are, like, SO….perfectly straight and dazzlingly white…..”) your advanced height will most assuredly be a mean girl’s bitchy “go-to.” All the more reason for you to own those wonderfully long inches of yours – whatever the end length turns out to be. Don’t let some shallow, snarky, beauty-vlog-brainwashed viper get under your perfectly even, peach-toned skin. And believe me, sweetheart, I know that’s so much easier said than done. But practice makes perfect, and the earlier you practice fending off a-holes, while accepting and eventually celebrating yourself, the better!

Long mommy lecture in closing (dad was way more to-the-point….first time for everything), no one is asking you to be a grown up about all this. You are allowed to moan, grown, whine and pout – you’re a teenager. I’m not going to reprimand you every time you complain about your height, or your weight, or your skin, or how you look terrible in a picture. Complain away (within reason…on days that do not collide with mommy’s premenstrual stabbing syndrome), just as long as, at your core, you know this: you are imperfectly-perfect,  divinely adorable, and 100% worthy of loving yourself. ALL of yourself.

One last morsel of motherly wisdom: should you ever find yourself romantically interested in someone who has a “thing for asian girls” …..RUN.
Just run.
So far away.

I love you.
Right up to the moon and back.




3 thoughts on “Letters to a Tall Girl: Part III – From Mom

  1. Sarah Fowler

    Thank you for sharing this, I will be showing it to my daughter of soon to be 12 years old. She is 5ft 8inches and is the tallest in her entire year (she goes to an all girls school which doesn’t help). She loves her height and generally the way she looks (she should do she is beautiful with a gentle personality). However, what she hates is not being able to act her age along with her peers, she feels too self conscience and tends to not join in – I wish she had the confidence to say ‘sod it I don’t care, I’m just going to enjoy myself’, not easy when you’re so young. My son of 16 years old is the same and he is 6ft 2inches. I wish your daughter a very happy and healthy life, and to say she is not alone.

    1. Niki Fey Post author

      I’m so glad you found it worth reading and I hope it’s helpful to your daughter, if even just a small way. When I printed these posts and presented them to my own daughter, she said, “That’s so sweet, mom. Thank you…I still don’t want to be tall, though.”
      Slowly but surely she seems to be growing gracefully into it. Plus, she uses her advanced stature to intimidate middle school jerks, especially when she sees them picking on the little guys, and that’s pretty cool.


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