The oldest is about to venture out on his own. Driving without me or his father in the seat next to him. This is happening Sunday, to be exact. If you’ve been following along with me for a while you may remember that he lived through and fully recovered from a traumatic brain injury (epidural hematoma) at 12. And that he recently turned 16. In Virginia, you must be 16 and 3 months to move on from a learner’s permit.
Searching for a vehicle for him has been an ordeal that has been going on for months. He is 6’5″ when barefoot. If you have never seen a tall person driving a car. Let me tell you what this means. Typically, the seat is placed as far back into the recesses of the vehicle that its rails allow. Then the steering wheel is raised to its highest position. If you have a telescopic wheel, that may end up being pulled out for their arms be in a comfortable position since the body is so far back. We have searched and searched with the main problem being that his knee hits the steering column when pressing the brake. I have long legs and have driven (not owned) cars where this happens. It requires you laying your knee to the side when depressing the brake, not the safest situation. So any car where this happened to him was a “no go” in my book.
We thought we would end up with a mid-size SUV or truck for him. My husband recently traded in his vehicle for a Mustang. We knew our son was able to fit into my husband’s car and we ended finding a used one (edit: he grew some more and his head touched the roof, another “no go” in my book, so the vehicle was traded for another. FYI- a Dodge Charger has one of the most spacious hip, leg and headroom areas in a sedan).
Observations about tall people.
The ordeal made me think about the other things that go along with being tall.
At a size 15 (edit: at age 18, it’s now a size 16) shoe, ordering them online is our only option. Thank goodness we live in a day and age where that is possible. Certain shoes that he may like only make some styles up to a 13 or 14 and a certain athletic shoe that runs small does not fit in a 15.
Shirts and Pants.
His inseam is a 36. There is one department store that sometimes carries Levi’s in this length. His preference for American Eagle must be ordered. Luckily, there is a store in the mall for returns because we learned which cuts worked through trial and error. A lot of teen brand T-shirts are a hit or miss on if they are long enough for his torso. Big and Tall sections don’t help, it seems to mean tall and round. So we hunt for an athletic fit.
And lastly, socks. Yes, those one size fits most. Well, he’s stuck with packs of black or white Under Armour with an occasional Nike Elite when I’m feeling financially generous (2 pairs cost more than the 6 pack of the other) and forget about the trendy ones.
Another observation with a tall child is the fact they will always be asked if they play basketball.
Where does it come from?
And my last one is personal.
We are always asked where he gets his height.
Lots of times from complete strangers.
This one bugs only me. The go-to answer usually is “oh, there’s some throughout the family”. Based on my limited findings, in the U.S., the average height for a male is around 5’10” (my husband fits the bill) and the average height for a female is 5’4″ (oh wait, I’m 5’8″-not supermodel height, but quite a bit taller than the average).
I realize that this question shouldn’t bother me.
But it does.
And here’s why.
As a tween and young teen, I towered over everyone. I have distinct memories of being able to see over a sea of heads in school hallways. I remember standing next to my mother (who is right under the average height) and asking why I looked like the “Jolly Green Giant” next to her. And why were my shoulders so broad and my feet so big. My jeans were never long enough and by the time I was in my late teens I switched to men’s jeans to get the inseam I wanted (glad they’ve remedied this). My mom was great at positively affirming my features, but they still bothered me.
When we found paperwork on my Scottish great-great-grandmother and it said she was 5’6″ in the 1920’s (at age 64), I realized I must take after her. I have learned to be content with those things that bothered me when I was younger.
Some of those features I’ve come to admire. And that comes from the fact that my kids have long legs, broad shoulders, and big hands and feet because I do. So while I smile and uncomfortably say “oh, there’s some throughout the family”, inside I am thinking “well, at least SOME of it came from me”. I am learning sometimes what I thought was a curse is actually a blessing.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
Let your light shine!