Friday, December 08, 2000

Growing girl

For years, people have been telling my daughter that “Pretty soon, you’re going to be taller than your mom!” I got tired of hearing that pretty quick. Soon even she got tired of it. Other people did not, and we’ve heard it constantly.

So the good news, now, is that we’re not going to hear it anymore.

And the bad news is, it’s because she has finally passed me by.

It’s not unexpected for a daughter to eventually be taller than her mother, but age 10 seems to me to be a little soon. By the time she’s a surly teenager, she’ll be towering above me. Goodness knows I’ve still got the advantage in the weight class, and can push her around if need be, but that won’t last, either. She has all the makings of a big, strong, sturdy woman. And I have all the makings of a weak little shrimp.

I suppose nobody really expects adopted children to have the same body type as their adoptive parents, but to have a daughter who so clearly did not come from my stock is a little disconcerting. It’s one of those things that forces you, in the course of casual conversation, to choose between giving out private details of your child’s life or lying about it. It surely will not be long before people, innocently, will look at tiny me and towering her and wonder about recessive genes in my family, or statuesque siblings, or height hidden somewhere in our roots. Perhaps I can get away with a smile and a “Yes, there sure must be some height in her family tree somewhere!” without specifically mentioning that it would have to be in her birth family tree. Just nodding and allowing the implication that my genes somehow hold the secret of hers seems dishonest; but do I really have to say “Well, she’s adopted” every time someone comments on our size disparity? Surely not.

My son actually does have a body type that looks like it could be all in our family--short like me, skinny like his dad. It almost makes me grateful for the developmental delays that stunted his growth. My daughter is delayed in everything else, but her physical growth just keeps on keeping on. It will be interesting to see where it ends. In the meantime, I’ve got to start wearing higher heels.

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