2017-08-18 / Commentary

The Shortest Male in the Family

40–Something

I’m already shorter than my wife, and now my standing as the tallest male in the family is inevitably coming to an end. My 14-year-old son had a significant growth spurt this summer. In three months, he’s gone from a head shorter than me to eye-to-eye with me, and he’s got plenty of growing left to do.

Unfortunately, I’m still waiting on my growth spurt. When I was a hopeful 17-year-old, I clung to glorious tales of kids sprouting up six inches in college, but I was never so fortunate. I peaked at 5’- 7” my junior year in high school, and that’s where I’ve been ever since.

Being short is not the most horrible affliction in the world, but being tall (or taller) does have its advantages. My son won’t ever have to ask his future wife to quit putting the paper towels on the top shelf because he can’t reach them.

Truth be told, I’m probably closer to 5’-6” now thanks to another wonderful side effect of the aging process called shrinkage. So it’s only a matter of time before my son is towering over me.

It’s a reality he loves to point out whenever possible, because he’s not exactly the most sympathetic human being in the world. It won’t be long before he’s sarcastically patting me on the head like some little puppy and saying stuff like “nice bald spot, little man.”

Believe it or not, I’m not bitter about becoming the shortest male in the family. I’ve always wanted and will always want better for my children. Granted, that may not have been the case if my son’s two older sisters had grown a little taller. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and they still look up to me.

I’d like to think I would have handled such a scenario well, but there’s a reason Napoleon had a complex. If my two old dogs were the only ones left looking up to me in the family, I’m pretty sure I would have been doing some serious compensating.

I am happy for my son, even if he does start patting me on the head. I just need a little time to adjust to this impending new family dynamic. I’m used to being shorter than most of humanity, but being shorter than one of my kids is an entirely different ball game...literally.

Several years ago, I nearly broke my finger blocking one of my son’s shots during a family game of basketball. Why did I do it? Because I could.

Jammed finger or not, 67 inches isn’t so short when your competition is barely 36 inches tall. I had to take advantage while I could. That’s obviously not the case anymore. So instead of worrying about my finger, I’ll have to worry about my nose when my son gleefully throws my shot back in my face. Hopefully, I will be able to handle such things, and I’ll be able to congratulate my son for reaching new heights and overcoming my genetic “shortcomings.”

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