I used to have three little kids. One was Small, one was Medium, one was Large. Their clothing, their shoes, the servings on their plates all reflected their birth order appropriately. We had no trouble determining whose clothes belonged to whom, which bicycle was the right size for which kid. They were spaced out by enough years that there were clear markers of birth order by the size of everything.
You may not know this yet, we’re smaller than the average family. Dad’s a towering 5’6”, and mom a proud 5’2”, so our offspring are destined to be of short stature. By other people’s standards, we’re all small. But within our home we’ve always had a distinct – albeit relative – range of sizes.
As any mom of small kids will tell you, we watch growth carefully. We celebrate when we make it to the 5th percentile on pediatric growth charts, and then have “the talk” when we fall back off the charts. Growth ebbs and flows in pre-pubescent boys, and small boys often go through puberty later than their taller friends, exacerbating the physical differences for a while. But we are what we are, and in this house, we’re okay with that.
Slick was two years old when we first began monitoring his slow growth. My pediatrician did that little formula that pediatricians do with a child’s two-year-old stats and calculated his estimated adult height. His came out 1” taller than his older brother’s. The doctor laughed, being a younger brother himself, and told me to expect Slick to pass The Trailblazer up in height at age 16.
Lo and behold, in the last six months, they got to be the same height. When The Trailblazer comes home from college for visits, we have the mandatory height check to compare stature. And it happened. He passed his brother up. Only by a half-inch or so, but that was enough to make it official. The older brother is now the smaller brother. And both are taller than mom and dad.
It’s strange. And wonderful. Because it means they have become men. And they are comfortable with who they are. (Except for The Trailblazer. He’s a bit miffed about the taller little bro.)
Then, last week, another strange thing happened. The Caboose needed a green t-shirt to wear to school for a Spirit Week event. I pulled a green T out of the dryer (y’all know I hate folding laundry), and realized it was The Trailblazer’s. But it looked about the same size as The Caboose’s. Puzzled, I held it up to the child and, although it was a little big, he could pull it off. So Small wore Large’s shirt to school
Small, Medium, and Large are gone. I now have one Medium and two Larges.
Family photos will look different from now on. When standing in order there will no longer be the familiar downward trend. It’s strange, and wonderful.
Watching my little boys grow up into smart, compassionate young men has been the greatest reward of motherhood. When juxtaposed against learning to ride a bike and read a book, the accomplishments big kids are far more fulfilling. And there’s the added bonus of not having to wipe their butts or cut their food anymore.
So saying goodbye to Small, Medium, and Large isn’t bad at all. Because Large, Large, and Medium have made me so proud.