Growing up, my mama was always a tiny little thing. She grew up to be only 4’11” and when she got pregnant with me in her 18th year, she weighed a whopping 98 pounds. Back then, I guess everyone encouraged pregnant women to EAT…and by God, she took them seriously! There are stories of her eating whole pies, and I guess it didn’t stop there, because she says that she gained somewhere around 70 pounds while carrying me. She lost most of it, of course, but I can’t help but wonder if maybe that 9 months earned me some sort of karmic weight debt…one that I’m still paying off!
I came into this world weighing in at 8 pounds 9 ounces. Mama swears that she slept though the whole thing, but that seems like an awful lot of baby to sleep through to me. I think I look pretty normal-sized in all of my baby pictures, but I do seem to have a somewhat larger than normal head…which leads me to believe that Mama’s birthing-sleep may have been from a big old dose of morphine.
My first memories of myself are of being a bit of a ‘big girl’. Most of our clothes came from Sears when my sister and I were little, and I remember getting excited when I moved from the kids department to the ‘Lemon Frog’…their bizarrely named pre-teen department. That turned out to just be a quick pit stop though…from there I skipped right over the juniors department into the grown up parts of the store. Here’s a picture of an 8 year-old me at Sears with Mama…note how excited I look. And how tall I am. And how short she is…and is my noggin huge, or is Mama’s tiny? And what about that stylin’ couple in the back in their fancy 1960’s shopping duds? (This obviously has me all churned up.)
By the sixth grade I was almost the same height I am now, and was one of the tallest girls in my class. Unfortunately, I peaked at 5 feet 3.25 inches (and I cling to that extra quarter of an inch, so don’t go calling me 5’3″). I always thought that an extra couple of inches would have made a world of difference in how all this Tammy I’m carrying around was distributed, but there are some things we just can’t change, no matter how many times we pray to Baby Jesus to please fix it. (Really…I promise I’ll never eat banana pudding again!)
Unfortunately, it didn’t work. If you added up all the time I’ve lived as a thin person…well, you wouldn’t need all of your fingers and toes…not even close. I may never have picked up any extra height, but I have come to grips with my ‘fluffiness’. I figure that, if it doesn’t bother Baby Jesus, I’m ok with it. Let’s just say that if you put a big old bowl of nana’ puddin’ in front of me right now…well, as my sister loves to say, “You stick that hand out there…you’ll pull back a nub!”