Tag Archives: daughters

Letters to a Tall Girl: Part II – From Dad

Dear Maddy,

I can’t tell you what it’s like to not be tall.  I’ve always been tall.  It’s not always easy – clothes are too short, there’s not enough leg room, people always assume you play basketball, you have to be careful so you don’t bang your head or strain your back.  But you know what?  All sizes have their pros and cons.  And very often, human beings want to be what they are not.

My sister had super curly hair – so she wanted straight hair.  You will find that many short people wish they were taller.  Some things we can change to a degree – hair color & length, body weight, getting a tan – but height is not one of them. (Well, shorter people can wear heels or platform shoes.) If you’re tall, you are going to stay tall.  It’s part of who you are; your genetics.  Embrace it.  Be closer to the sun and the stars.  Raise your head and breathe deeply from the clearer air only tall people can reach.  Help shorter people when they need it – change a light bulb, get something from a shelf, look for their friend (or yours) in a crowd.  Hopefully, they will return the favor by crawling under the table to retrieve something you dropped or shoveling snow.

When you are old enough to sit there, you should always try to get an exit row on airplanes – they have much more leg room.  When you have a car, you will need a bigger one for the leg and head room.  Guess what?  Little sporty cars may look “cool”, but bigger vehicles hold more friends and family and stuff from your latest shopping trip.  They are more comfortable on road trips and generally safer.

You have to take fewer steps to get anywhere.  People will literally look up to you (and quite often figuratively too).  Your long arms will give more hugginess to your hugs.  Your high-fives will be higher.  When you are older and out with your friends in a crowded place, you will be able to see them easier, and they will be able to find you quicker.  You will almost always get to sit in the front seat of other peoples’ cars; that is a generally accepted social benefit of being tall.

Sometimes being tall will be awkward, or uncomfortable, but you will get past that.  You are tall.  It is part of who you are.  Accepting that and being comfortable with who you are leads to a happier outlook on life.  It’s not worth being worried about it; your height is here to stay!  Stand up straight, be proud, never let any bring you down for being what you are, and enjoy being a wonderful, lovely, sweet tall young woman.

Lots of love, always,

Dad

GraceInUpwardMotion

My Placid Panic Attack

My babies are leaving the state today, and that’s fine. I’m perfectly okay with it. Completely comfortable and entirely at ease, save for some small, anxious, inner-portion of me that is quietly yet persistently FREAKING THE FRACK OUT!
But I’m told this is normal.

“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” –Elizabeth Stone

Indeed. Like, 1500 to 2000 ridiculously bothersome miles outside and far away from your body.

In less than six hours I’ll be escorting my 5 and 12 year old children through airport security, locating their gate, walking them to the entrance of a gangway, hugging and kissing them profusely, possibly crying already, waving goodbye still as I watch the backs of their beautiful little heads get smaller and smaller, watch them make a left, out of sight, boarding a plane to Washington state. WITHOUT ME. And I’m freaking out.

On the other side of their non-stop, three hour flight awaits my mother. She’s probably already there. She probably arrived at Sea-Tac yesterday; brought a sleeping bag and is camped out at the girls’ arrival gate. I need not worry about their safety in her care. But still. Freaking out.

My 12 year old will only be on Washington soil two days before she flies to Orlando, Florida with her bio-father and his family; off to see her older brother (from another mother) graduate high school. She’ll spend three days in Disney World, a few days in a condo on Cocoa Beach, and she’ll have an amazing time. And even though I have a positive, healthy co-familial relationship with my ex-husband, his wife and their little girl – one that centers on respect, and acting like grownups – and even though I trust them with the safety of my little-now-big girl, even still and all the same, I’m ever so serenely FREAKING OUT.

After a week in Florida, my little-now-big girl will fly back to Seattle, reuniting with my little-still-little girl at Nana’s House of Perpetual Joy and Cookie Time. They will bake all sorts of goodies, dive imagination-first into Nana’s wonder-world of arts and crafts supplies, roam Nana’s lush green garden and help her plant flowers – learning the names of approximately 8000 species of Dahlia along the way. They’ll play with, snuggle and/or terrorize Nana’s plethora of cats. They’ll rarely be told “no”, or go to bed before 9 PM, or be forced to eat vegetables, and they will have the time of their lives. And while the thought of it makes me happy beyond measure, still…..you know….little bit…with the freaking a lot out.

My house will be quiet for three whole weeks. For three weeks my husband and I will not be shuttling children to and from school/birthday parties/sleepovers/art classes/sports practice, and on long car rides no one will be fighting in the back seat or be bored out of their minds. For three weeks no little ones will wake us up at 6 AM on Sunday morning demanding food and cartoons. And no preteens will huff, “I know!” when you ask them to do the thing you asked them to do an hour ago (which was the same thing you asked them to do an hour before that) – and absolutely no one will roll their eyes at us, then vehemently deny having done so.

For three weeks my love and I can walk around the house naked, go out dancing all night long, watch foul-mouthed movies at top volume in the middle of the day and try out new recipes besieged with “gross” and “yucky” ingredients – like kale. We can hike mountains, explore caves, book romantic weekend getaways, relax, sleep in, and miss our children like mad.

Because I’ll miss them no matter the scenario. Whether I spend the next several weeks at home with a book (and a bottle of wine), or out on the town (with a bottle of wine), I imagine I’ll be saddled with this low hum of anxiety throughout. Little dark-recessed brain-whispers of “Pssst. Hey. Guess what. Your kids are still gone. It’s FREAK OUT TIME AGAIN!”

I know they’ll be fine, and I’ll be fine, and everything will be fine and perfectly stinking dandy, ….but still. Someone to talk me down from the crazy-mommy-ledge, please.

In a Suburb of the Soul

I watched my two girls play in the backyard while I scrubbed soiled dishes. I watched them through my small kitchen window. My eldest, catching me spying, decided to improvise a play. The toddler, having no idea what a play is, devotedly and obediently looked to big sissy for stage direction. And mostly she just emulated her older sister’s every move. Pure idolization.

As often it does, my heart swelled at the sight of them.

At the same time I gave thought to the countless throngs of suburban mothers who have similarly watched their beautiful children at play through kitchen windows – since the dawn of the suburbs themselves – and it may sound very common, and it may seem ever so unspectacular, but that’s where you are mistaken.

Because it was, and is, extraordinary. It was singularly magical and whole.

And in that moment I knew we’d be okay, no matter how it rings of cliché (or attempts to rhyme). We’ll make it, just the three of us, while he’s away. And I can only hope these happy days, these shining moments that come alive in things like kitchen windows, take shape someplace eternal and scared. That, as they say, wouldn’t suck.