On the drive home from school the other day, my 9-year-old daughter asks: “What does 'freakishly' mean?”
Uh oh, I think to myself.
“What makes you ask?”
“[So-and-so] told me today that I am ‘freakishly tall’,” she said.
It’s all I can do to not freak out.
“It means ‘very.’ ”
Since you can’t see me, you wouldn’t know that I am 5 feet 10 inches. My husband is 6 feet 3 inches. I have two sisters, one is 6 feet 3 inches and the other – the short one – is 5 feet 7 inches. My brother is about 6 feet 1 inch and my grandmother was so tall for a woman in her day that everyone called her “Big Josie.”
You’ve got the visual now – you could say that there is just a bit of height in my genes.
All three of my children have always been “off the charts” for height at the pediatrician’s office. It’s just the way we make them.
My 9-year-old is about 58 inches, which means that she can be easily mistaken for a fifth-grader based on her height. Same goes for my first-grader – she’s as tall as some of the third-graders. And my son in kindergarten, same thing.
I was self-conscious about my height for a long time, so I now over-compensate for this by always trying to help my kids feel comfortable in these tall bodies we’ve been given. I say things like, “Of course you’re the tallest one in your class, I’m the tallest mom.”
Later on that evening, I asked my 9-year-old daughter what she did when [so-and-so] said that she was freakishly tall.
“I didn’t do anything because I didn’t know what ‘freakishly’ meant,” she said.
“Does it bother you that you are taller than everyone in your class?”
Her confidence is so much higher than mine ever was at her age. I don’t know if this is just how she is or if I have actually done something right (it’s probably just the way she is!). I worry about how much this will change as she reaches the middle school years.
But for now, I keep sending the same message: We are each different. It’s just the way we were made. It would be way boring if we were all the same.
Some of us are tall, some short; some of us have white skin, some brown; some people have straight hair, some have curly. The important thing I want my kids to know is no matter what’s on the outside, we are all the same on the inside.
And yes, in our house we are freakishly tall and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.