the littlest

I was showing my kids a video from the high school I teach at and my son kept asking who people were. I knew most of them and would tell him their name and if I taught them and maybe something I knew about them.

A little bit after the video ended, he asked which one was the littlest.

Ugh. I thought.
He knows.

I pointed out a really great kid who happens to be not very big but very talented, well liked, smart and athletic and told him all the great things I could about this kid.
He nodded and went back to reading Green Eggs and Ham.
Crisis averted. I thought.

Then the next day from the back seat he was talking about kids in his class.
Justin is taller than Samuel.
But CJ is even taller. He only comes up to his hair.
And so on.
Are you taller than anyone in your class Owen?
No. Not even the girls.
I’m the littlest.

Crap. He totally knows.

My son is tiny. My dad may be over 6 feet, but I don’t think my son got any of those genes. All the asthma steroids he has taken haven’t helped things either. Neither does the fact that his 2 year old sister is gaining on him fast.

And we measure his growth on the doorframe every few months or so…and lately that little black sharpie line hasn’t been moving.
And it is fine for a girl to be cute and tiny and petitie. But boys. Not so much.
There are even statistics proving it.
In presidential elections, the taller candidate almost always wins.
Among CEOs almost 60% are over 6 feet tall.
A university of Florida professor even did a study that said for each inch in height a man earns 789$ more a year in pay (all stats from the book Blink).

I’ve known my kid was little for years. Just like I know he isn’t the best kid on his soccer team or a particularly good artist.
But I wasn’t looking forward to telling him.
Turns out I don’t have to.
Plenty of other people will do it for me.
They stand next to each other in line or back to back on the playground.
And do what most of us spend the rest of our lives doing.

Measuring ourselves against each other.
And realizing that we aren’t as big or as fast or as smart or as cute as someone else.
And I wonder how we would measure up if we weren’t using other people as our standard. Because until a few months ago, my son had no idea that he was the littlest.

And yes, maybe my kid will grow. But he will probably always be the little.
When he compares himself to the kids in his class. Even the girls.
I will always love him the biggest.


Kristin said...

I love this post. Right now, I have the opposite problem. My daughter is the biggest--in heigth and weight. Good in little boys, but in little girls? I don't know.

samskat said...

somehow, I have a kid who is above average in height and weight...25% above. she's not the biggest, but definitely bigger than a lot. and i don't know how to deal with bigger than everyone, since i was always the littlest. he'll be fine, i promise. just tell him that the kid that calls him "shrimp" and friend in the same sentence, isn't really a friend. :)

Busymomma said...

We are having to learn to appreciate differences too. Our middle daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia this past summer. We were looking for a way to explain what was going on without crushing her spirit. But just being honest and giving her the whole truth helped the most. Now she has an explanation for why things are a little harder for her, and she is ok with it. Sometimes kids are mean about it, but she has a confidence in knowing that God thinks she is special. and that is all she needed to know. :) Funny how they can teach us lessons sometimes...