When I was a kid I always felt taller on my birthday. It is not that I really wanted to be taller. No, I enjoy being short. I have been a reference point for many of my friends: Well, how tall is it? Twice as tall as Kasandra. How deep in the water? Just over Sandy's head. How big is the closet? Sandy can sleep in there pretty comfortably. Can't help but believe that my friend who said this to me really wanted to see if that was true.
When I would wake up on my birthday, I would stand next to my twin bed and back up to the mattress; I would swear that the top mattress was hitting closer to my calves than my thighs. My head would feel closer to the ceiling. I would just feel more stretched out. As the day wore on, I would start to feel more normal, but for a moment, I was tall.
The moment was all I needed, but I think my mom thought I wanted to be taller and she started to feel guilty about my height. Not that it was her fault; she's taller than I am. My dad was at least 6 feet, my oldest brother is 6'4", and my brother Leroy is 5'11". She had no need to suppose I would not reach 5'.
I think she felt guilty that I would think that my shortness was my fault. My mother used to tell me that kids grow when they sleep, so I needed to go to bed and sleep if I wanted to grow. Well, I have had trouble sleeping my whole life. Of course my mother could not have known this when I was a kid. She thought that I just wanted to stay up and read my books and watch television. Sure I did, but I was usually watching television and reading because I couldn't sleep. Anyway, she tried everything to get me in bed (and sleeping, not reading) and I am sure that she thought that I was going to grow taller on my own. If I saw myself growing and I was sleeping I could connect the dots and would continue to get the eight required hours of sleep. That didn't happen.
By the time she realized that I might not grow very tall, she had repeated the no sleep/no grow idea. Then she backtracked and remember a few random relatives --all dead, so no way to check--who were short too. Mom remembered Mama Sarah, my dad's grandma: 4'8", large breasted, and mean (which explains my other issues, but that's a story for another time).
Poor thing. What she did not know was that I could care less if I got taller. The nicknames did not bother me; really the only thing that bothered/bothers me was/is that I can't reach some things that are pushed to back on the top shelf at the grocery store. I either have to climb or ask someone.
Otherwise, 4'10 1/2" is what I am. The 1/2 is important because 4'10" is the height at which you can be declared a little person. No offense to little people, but I am not a little person. Really.