I’ve written a lot about how size/weight/skinniness shouldn’t be all that important.
Like, remember this? I stand by it. It’s all totally true.
Or, just the other week, I talked about this? I meant it. Health needs to be the focus.
But, I’m sort of ashamed to admit that there’s a part of me that might not completely subscribe to all those espoused theories. There’s a part of me that refuses to get totally onboard with all of those logical conclusions.
There’s a part of me that’s simply relieved.
I’ve told some people in real life before… always sheepishly, always with downcast eyes, always with just a whisper of being a ashamed.
I’m glad it’s my son who is wildly tall.
I’m glad it’s my daughter who is waifishly tiny.
I mutter it, cheeks pink, expecting rebuke.
I never get it.
Now, some is that is undoubtedly that most people, at least in real life, tend to be pretty kind and don’t immediately jump down your throat. These are also people who know me and know my heart and, I would hope, realize that it takes a lot for me to even admit that.
But I think, no, actually, I KNOW, that some of it is because people agree with me. On some level, there are pre-wired societal preferences of which we’re all aware.
A. is the tallest one in his class. He has been since kindergarten. He still rides well above the “6’3″ line on the doctors’ charts. I hear– over and over and OVER again– about how tall he is.
You know what being crazy tall has meant for him? It hasn’t been feeling awkward. Or self-doubt. Or getting picked on.
Nope, being the tallest boy in the class hasn’t posed one problem. If anything, other boys respect him simply for being the “biggest” (<– tallest, just tallest, but that makes him one kind of big.) Honestly, their dads comment on it, too. “Who’s that kid a half a head taller than everyone else?” they ask and then nod approvingly when I mention he’s mine.
The nine-year-old girls are starting to catch the boys, and will continue to until high school, if I remember my own experiences correctly. They’re steadily creeping above the boys in their class. But you know who they’re NOT creeping past? A. He remains the boy they get to look up to, just a tad.
And they like it.
I don’t blame them. I still remember the ONE boy in my eighth grade class who was taller than me that year. Nevermind that the very next year in high school there was a wide array of tallness around me– I still remember Adam. He made me feel girly and not gangly. And A. does that for the tall girls around him.
C. is tiny. She’s not particularly tall and she’s very slim. On top of that, she is very, very small-boned, which makes her look more delicate than she really is. The overall impression is that she’s very little.
You know what being tiny and fragile-looking has meant for her? It hasn’t been getting picked on. Or being treated poorly. Or being left behind.
Nope, being a small, fine-boned girl hasn’t posed one problem for C. She’s perceived as sweet and dainty and girly. She’s smaller than her friends and they, even at the tender age of eight, place some value on her lightness and “cuteness.” I’m not saying that’s right– but it’s very real. Her tiny feet and little face are both praised, not criticized.
The boys around C. act protective. Now, there are admittedly times that this annoys her, but it’s not mean or nasty at all. They are more likely to hold doors for her, carry things for her, and make sure she’s okay. Her tiny stature triggers something in them that makes them try to take care of her. And you know what? Some of them like it.
I feel like such a hypocrite. I hate having to admit this.
I don’t see short, tiny boys and think anything bad about them. Why would I? I know it doesn’t matter.
I don’t see tall, strong girls and think anything bad, either. Not at all. Heck, *I* was a pretty tall girl, myself.
But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that, given the choice, I’d pick my supertall son and tiny daughter over a short, small-boned son and a girl who was the tallest in her class.
Sorry for being a hypocrite, friends.