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  • Our son, a towheaded bundle of energy on legs, ran circles around me. I could barely keep up with him when he was small. He was fond of climbing and running and jumping and just generally getting into anything that could make a mess. Once I found him on the floor in front of the open pantry door with the flour canister open, flour caked in his hair and decorating the entire kitchen like freshly fallen snow. Then there were the uncommissioned hall murals executed with indelible markers, the unfortunate incidents with his older sisters' lipsticks and nail polish on the mirror in the hall bath, the inability to sit still for more than five minutes at a time, not to mention a propensity for a nude lifestyle. That was his nature as a youngster and though he kept us all busy he was a joy to be with because he was just so full of life and love and silly faces and laughter. Lots of laughter.

    Then puberty hit. His mood deepened along with his voice, and our bright little character became sullen like many teenagers, sometimes even morose. One of the things that bothered him the most was his height. I'm so short! I want to be tall, I can't stand being this short, he would say. Can we do something? Growth hormones? Surgery? Anything, he would ask? He became desperate and it affected his outlook on life. Of course, we tried to point out that being tall was not going to make him happy, being tall wouldn't guarantee a great life. You have so many things going for you kiddo! Just relax, we'd say. In return he offered rolled eyes and mumbled sarcasms.

    In our kitchen was a door frame where we marked the height of our son. Every six months or so a new mark would be made, always a little higher but never high enough to suit him. All through middle school and high school the complaint was the same. I'm too short! I was thinking he may have to get used to this state of affairs, after all my whole family is short and although my husband's family is not short, they are all pretty average in height.

    Then, in his senior year my son grew so much he passed me (not difficult) but then later in the year he passed my husband too. I don't know how many pairs of pants we bought for him that year. He was always growing out of them. He now towered above us all. He went from the shortest member of the family to the tallest in one lightening fast year of growth. A miracle!

    Secretly I was so happy for him because it was what he wanted and don't we always want for our children what they want for themselves? Yet, I knew and I think he knew as well that in the larger scheme of things his height was minuscule in importance standing beside such things as his character and his honor and his goodness.

    I am happy to report that my son, now a young man, gets very high marks indeed in those qualities.

    (photo credit: Simon Brass, flickr commons)
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