Thursday, July 15, 2010
Size, Health, Happiness.
Hallie was pretty much completely average when she was born. Her due dates were January 5 and/or January 7. (I had two doctors and a midwife during that pregnancy. Yeah, it was in that time of life when we were moving a lot... So I'm just thankful two of the experts agreed with each other or I would have had three due dates. Yikes.) I went into labor on January 5, and 26 hours later she was born.
Hanna was pretty much completely average when she was born. Her due date was January 20, and I went into labor with her on January 13. She was born four hours later. Hanna weighed a few ounces more than Hallie had, and was an inch or two longer. I am not exactly sure of the details, and I refuse to go check.
I will not go look for the exact same reason that is keeping me from going down there now, even though Hanna had her six month checkup yesterday and I am dying to run downstairs to my files in the basement and see what Hallie had weighed and how tall she had been at six months. I'm itching to, so badly, but I will not let myself.
When I was a teenager I was skinny. I was not slender, which is the graceful, beautiful way of saying skinny. I was just an awkward, sort of painful looking skinny. The only feminine part of my body was my long blonde hair, and it wouldn't even hold a curl. I wasn't just awkward to look at either, though. I was simply awkward all over. Inside, outside, and all around me I was uncomfortable with myself. My sister, two years younger, was graceful, she was smooth, she was fun and perky and cute. She had friends, and boys, and sports teams, and teachers who thought she was the greatest student since Socrates had Plato who had Aristotle. Of course I compared myself to her. Of course I always came up short. Now, I emphasize here that this comparison was all in my own head. I don't recall anyone else comparing her to me in my presence (I am sure it happened, just not that I ever overheard) I don't remember my parents ever expressing any wish that I be more like her, or anything like that. But oh, how I longed to be like her.
That's why it is hard for me now, with Hanna and Hallie. Hallie (as you know from previous posts, perhaps) is small for her age. So small that I used to worry, and anx, and stress, and freak out about it a little (a lot). She wouldn't eat, and she never gains weight, or seems to grow any taller. She still fits in the summer clothes she wore last year. She fits in a lot of the clothes Hanna is wearing now. The doctor tells me she is very healthy.
Hanna is growing well. She is just a little taller on the growth chart than her weight, which the doctors tell me is a good thing. She is much taller than average. The doctor tells me she's also very healthy. I had previously vowed to let health be enough, when I was only worrying about Hallie. I had solemnly declared that I would no longer worry about her size, as long as she was still healthy. I had thought that I would like to do the same thing with Hanna. It's not enough.
I need to not worry about how much they weigh in comparison to each other. I need to not worry about what "age" the number on their clothes say they should be. I need to not try to force Hallie to have a little more yogurt, and Hanna a little less sweet potatoes to try and force them to stay even with each other. I need to stop, take a deep breath, and let them eat what they want. It's their bellies.
But I also need to take it one step further. You see I had already decided that I would try not to let size bother me. Now I am going to try not to even worry about health. Whoa, let me explain. It's great that they are healthy, and I hope they always are. But what if they aren't? What if I lose their health too, to disease, or accident, or as will surely happen because we live in this imperfect world: AGE. They will someday be unhealthy. Limbs that are strong now will be weak. Organs that function just fine today will someday get tired.
My new goal is to not even rest all my hopes and dreams as a happy mother on their health. It is to place it on their happiness. Do they laugh? Do they run and jump and explore this beautiful world? Do they use their arms to give hugs and and their hands to share toys? Will they grow up to be the kind of girls that look at other people and see not size, or even health, but see other people as souls searching for happiness? That's the kind of women I want my girls to be.
And that's why I am NOT going downstairs to check and see how Hallie compared to Hanna at this age. It doesn't matter. She gave her sister a big hug and a kiss as we left the doctor's office yesterday. And that's what matters.
(Just for the record, my sister grew up to be a completely beautiful woman, and while I like to think that I am like her in a lot of ways, it's ok with me now if I'm not like her in every way. Cuz I'm kind of nice myself.)