I'm Short and My Son Will Probably Be Short...Why Does That Make Me So Anxious?
I have always been insecure in regards to my short stature. I lust after height the way other women lust after Jimmy Choo shoes. Perhaps this intense obsession with my height is based on the obvious fact that I am four feet, eleven inches and three quarters tall. I am short- I get it- in fact shave a few inches off my height and I’d qualify to join the ranks of little people. And not to blame my mother for my own "shortcomings" but I spent the better part of my life pre-puberty visiting endocrinologists and feeling less than perfect for a physical trait that I ultimately had no control over.
Of course I’m not in any sort of denial- which is why I made it a point to ALWAYS date guys who were over six feet tall. I figured if I married a guy with height I’d give my kids a fair shake at being far taller than me.
Then I met my husband, who SWORE he was 5’9″ (which I figured was just two inches shy of my six foot requirement so I’d let it slide). And short of measuring him with a yard stick (I checked his Driver’s license to confirm the legality of his height- which I’ve now come to realize that the good old DMV will put ANY height you tell them on your driver’s license- so that barometer is essentially useless). But the truth is when I met my husband I was smitten after our first date, which lasted six hours and I pretty much knew he was my lobster.
I guess the whole height requirement, and any other strict guidelines one has when you meet someone who you instantly feel a chemical reaction to flies out the window, that is until you have kids, and your mother tells you that your son is not growing as tall as he should be, and maybe it’s time to take him to the doctor to see if he might qualify for growth hormone shots. Yes, my little, sweet boy, like me is the shortest one in his class, but he’s also scrappy and funny and I’ve NEVER even hinted to him that he’s anything but perfect in every way (do I really need an excuse to have him on a psychoanalyst’s couch sooner rather than later lamenting how his mother ruined his confidence by harping on his short stature?!)
And really, I don’t want to be one of those mothers. I don’t want to care about how tall my kid might grow- I don’t want to even fathom having to inject him with shots that maybe, just maybe, might give him an extra three inches of height. I want to believe that our physical appearances don’t reflect who and what we are. I want to believe that those who will love and appreciate him will do so because of his spirit, his personality, and his infectious grin. Of course I have no qualms about my daughter and her projected height-- because like it or not we live in a sexist world where men are rewarded for their strong, tall good looks, whereas short men are so often on the receiving end of slurs and off color comments. Our world is a silicon and Botox enhanced one where appearance is unfortunately so much of what we base our initial judgments on. And short men, no matter how smart, exceptional and even how much MONEY they can stand on are nonetheless judged more harshly because of their short stature. And why wouldn’t I want to give my kid the best possible start in a world that is rife with so many opportunities for disappointments. But at what cost…growth hormone shots?
Normally my husband is vehemently opposed to my heightened health concerns regarding our kids. (Have I also mentioned that he's a physician who--unless he finds me in a pool of blood, tells me that I will be fine about whatever I believe is ailing me or our kids?!). He usually says I'm overly anxious and that things will work themselves out. But regarding my son I whipped myself and him into such a frenzy that we made an appointment with an endocrinologist. Now we just need to take him, but I'm stalling. I don’t know, I’m at a loss.
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