As a point of not much interest I can tell you that I am of average height for a woman in the United States. I'm 5'5", although I'm the tallest woman in my family. My mother stands 5'0" tall, and my grandmother is 4'10". To them, I am a giant. However, compared to my husband, I'm decidedly short. The only time our eleven inch height difference is generally a problem is when he helpfully stores things at his own eye level. This is precisely right beyond my reach. I'm a dab hand with a wooden spoon thanks to him. I use them to extend my reach, and launch whatever it is I'm reaching for directly at my own face. This has provided some mixed results in practice.
For the most part, I tend to forget that he towers above me but yesterday it became highly apparent and a focus of some concern.
"You look tall," the nurse observed, a fact it was hard to escape as my husband's feet were sticking off the end of the gurney by several inches. She picked up his chart, and began flipping through it, in a worried voice she continued, "you are tall."
The nurse glanced at me, with what seemed an appraising eye, and frowned. I had no idea what was going through her mind, but although we've had people comment on our height difference in the past, with the exception of one chiropractor, no one has ever sounded worried about it before. The nurse placed what was meant to be a reassuring smile on her face, and the result was anything but.
"We'll be ready for him in just a second," She said, the rather ghastly smile still tacked onto her face.
Hernia surgery has come a long way, and the procedure was not going to take long. An hour in surgery, an hour and a half in recovery, then I would be free to take my husband home. Everything went well and it wasn't until it came time to go that I understood the nurse's repeated frowns in my general direction.
"You'll just have to help him get dressed," she said, and withdrew, drawing the curtain behind her. It wasn't until my husband tried to stand that I understood that I was ever so slightly hosed. He tottered towards me, unsteady on his pegs and for the first time in years it occurred to me that next to me, my husband is rather mammoth.
"I've got you," I said and I'm sure my smile was probably as strained as the nurse's had been. Luckily, as my husband was drugged to the roots of his hair, he likely didn't notice. I got him dressed with a little bit of difficulty, and brought the car 'round to the entrance. The valet parking attendants immediately abandoned what they were doing, and swarmed over to us, helping my husband into the car.
"Bad way to start the New Year," one of the men said cheerfully, "hope you feel better soon."
I thanked the men for their help, and started the drive home, thinking about our staircase in a way I never had before, with no small amount of dread. I was convinced my husband was insensible to the worried goings on around him, when he began to quietly hum one of our favorite songs by the band The Might Be Giants.
I've always loved how combined words can paint a picture in our minds. There are even some books I love because of their titles, as much as the actual story contained within the pages. A Confederacy of Dunces is one such book. Although I enjoyed the book, I adore the title most of all, and always keep the book on a shelf where I can easily see it. Just that combination of words can give a lift to my day.
My husband is much the same way, but his humming indicated that he had words like "squashed" and "flattened" running through his own mind. When we got home, I slipped my cell phone into my back pocket, and began helping my husband up the stairs to his office, where there is also a very nice bed, a TV with cable, and internet access. Our bedroom doesn't have a TV in it, so we'd determined beforehand that the room that serves as his office would be the best recovery room in the house for him. The bed was freshly made, I'd disinfected the bejeebers out of the bathroom, all I had to do was get him there. A three inch incision in his abdominal muscles made less than four hours before made the journey seem very long, but we got there. I didn't have to fish my cell phone out of my back pocket from a pinned position beneath a man who outweighs me by eighty pounds, so tick one off in the win column, I say.
"You're tall," a voice beside me said hopefully, as I stood in front of the dairy case, "is there anyway you could reach that for me?"
My head swiveled in the general direction of the voice, and then my neck began to crane down, and down some more. A woman in her eighties stood beside me, perhaps as tall as my grandmother.
"Sure thing," I said, and truthfully this happens to me a lot. I am just one of those people that others feel free to ask for help. "1% or 2?"
As we discussed dairy expiration dates, I handed her down a half gallon of milk, wished her a Happy New Year, and went on my way feeling capable, and tall. It happens to us all, we occasionally encounter someone in need of just a little bit of help, and we provide it, feeling a bit stronger and ready to face the world. Convinced of our own aptitude in taking on the world. That had happened two days prior to feeling like a highly squishable bug in comparison to my husband. Sometimes we are giants, sometimes we feel very small in contrast to the task at hand.
I don't think about my son's height often, either. His father is tall, but he took after my side of the family, and if he remains his present height, he'll be just under 5'10" by a hair or so. Average height, just like his mom. He may still be growing, as men frequently grow into their twenties, but he'll never be a man of great stature. This seems to bother him not at all.
Last night, after a fairly long day of helping my husband, and worrying about how in the world I'd manage if he did fall, my son arrived home from work. I was glad to see him, in part because in my worry over tottering husbands, I'd completely forgotten to pick something up at the drugstore that he would need.
"I'll go for you," my son offered but I hesitated.
"Uh...I don't think you really want to, it's something embarrassing. I'll get it," I was tired, more from worry than anything, but my son is nineteen and one of the girls he dates works at Wallgreens, where I needed to go.
"I think I can handle it," he said confidently, "what is it?"
Well, crap. The details of life are not always pleasant, and people are supposed to take a specific product after general anesthesia, "I really don't think you want to get this one, buddy, it's stool softener."
"Yeah well, everyone there poops too," he shrugged, "if they don't they've got bigger problems than what I'm buying."
I stared at him for a second, and shook my head slightly.
"You okay?" my son asked as he grabbed his keys and I nodded as I thanked him. He went on his way, and returned with the necessary, if somewhat mortifying product, with little fanfare.
I couldn't help but laugh a little bit. Although this has been true for at least five years, yesterday was the first time I noticed in any meaningful way that my son's height exceeds my own substantially.
Flint looked tall to me.