"How old is she?"
"Two and a half"
"Wow! She's tall!"
"Yes. She is very tall."
I have had this very conversation hundreds upon hundreds of times since Meredith was born, the only thing differing is the age I state. It's true. She is tall. She has been long and lean since the day she was born. I imagine she always will be.
This conversation is wearing on me. Not because of the sheer redundancy of it. Not because people are trying to be mean. No, it's wearing on me because of what it implies. By constantly pointing out her height, people are highlighting what is different about her. This one physical trait that causes her to stand out. Right now it's not a big deal, but I think we can all remember the years when anything that makes us different is bad. The times when we feel like a freak because we aren't like everyone else.
And maybe one day her height will set her apart in a remarkable way. Maybe she will follow in her great-grandmother's footsteps and play basketball in college. Maybe she will be able to spike a ball like no other volleyball player ever has before. Maybe she will run with strides longer and faster than the women that surround her.
Maybe she will be just an average girl with exceptional height. Maybe she will feel awkward as she shops and can't find jeans long enough. Maybe she will feel uncomfortable around the boys she finds cute as she towers over them. Maybe she will wish she weren't so tall.
So the reason this constant commenting on her height bothers me is because she is hearing these conversations. One day, when she's feeling insecure, I don't want those tapes playing through her head.
Wow, she's so tall. Wow, she's grown a foot since I last saw her.
Instead, I hope for her to have other tapes running through her head. The tape of her daddy telling her she is smart, pretty, strong and cool. Voices telling her she is able. She is clever. She is funny. She is kind.
Of course, as her mother, I love everything about her. I love every inch of her very tall body. But just because I do doesn't mean she always will. And when she is (inevitably, I think) faced with insecure thoughts, my prayer is that she knows there is more to her than height. That there is so, so much good both inside and out that makes her an exceptional, stand out girl.
Now, if you are one of the many (many, many, many) people who have commented on her height, fear not. I am not mad at you or upset with you. You will likely comment on it again without thinking. And that's ok. I just had to put this out in the world, so that maybe if you do think about it, you can comment on something she has more control over. Like her sense of humor or the way she bubbles with joy when her friends come over. The way she strokes my arm in comfort or excitedly greets her baby brother after his nap. Her heart, I guess. She has this beautiful heart that I want her to feel confident in. I don't want that to get lost in the trappings of her (beautiful, perfect) body.