Giraffes and Inches
My husband made a giraffe growth chart for the kids before our son was even a year old. I looked at it expectantly, knowing that someday there would be scrawls and dashes all over it.
But that line means so much more than her having outgrown several pairs of pants and her dresses now being of the mini kind. Those little lines mean that she has matured too. Her sentences are fuller. Her stories more vivid, peppered with her three years of life experience.
The lines also show me how different she and her brother are developing. He tends to out-measure her at every milestone by at least two inches. That tells me a lot, also. I know he will always be taller and stronger than her. It means he can be her protector as well as her best friend. I’ve seen him training for this job. I know he’ll do it well.
Every line is also a memory, birthday parties, special outfits, visits from grandparents, days spent together just being. These lines will tell stories, to be retold when they are older. I will start with how carefully their father measured the wood and outlined the giraffe shape to be just right. How he had me hold the tape measure steady while he nicked the wood in the right places.
I will tell them about the first line, marking their first birthday. How having just learned to walk, their little legs wobbled and the measurement may be off by a few centimeters because of that. I will walk them through each line and relive the events, the highlights of that time.
I will also let them know that there is so much more between each line than I can ever remember and their lives have been full and beautiful. I will have to acknowledge that there is no measuring stick for mother’s. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I have every scar, grey hair, and stretch mark to prove I was there, being measured right along with them.