I think I’ve successfully depressed everyone over at my other blog. The funny thing is (funny-ironic, not funny-ha-ha), I spent four days trying to capture in writing for you an entirely different story involving a bowling alley, a Honda Accord and some poop. I got three quarters of the way through it and decided it would embarrass some people, including myself. In the end, I decided not to post it, but if you and I ever find ourselves together in a bar, sitting at a table among pitchers of beer, I will totally tell it to you. It’s a hilarious story best told instead of written anyway.
The funny-ironic part about trying to write the story was that I was really struggling to get through it. Like I said, it’s hilarious, but I kept boring myself to tears writing it. When I decided to scrap it and write the bummer post I published instead, the words just poured out of me. I guess that’s the universe saying, “Your sweet grandmother does not want to read your drunken poop stories, stupid.” So.
But the post I published instead is a downer. So I thought I’d tell you a more lighthearted story over here about how my daughter may or may not be a freak.
It’s true. Evie is walking pretty much fulltime now, so I’m starting to notice things I hadn’t before, like how there’s sharpness everywhere and how tall Evie is. I dropped her off at daycare the other day and noticed for the first time that she is as tall as her little three-year-old friend. Now, a rational, logical person would assume that said three-year-old might just be on the short side.
Since I am neither of those things, I assumed that Evie is, in fact, a giant. As the days went by, I began preparing for the future with our giant-child by telling myself the story of Evie’s life. Here’s what I came up with:
A Lighthearted Story
We start to notice peculiar little things, such as Evie being taller than children twice her age and the way she goes through shoes like the paper napkins she loves to shred. Her pediatrician is mildly surprised, but assures us that her growth will level out soon. She does concede that Evie will probably be rather tall. I mention that my father is 6’3”. There’s almost an audible click as the doctor latches onto to that, scribbles something on Evie’s chart and sashays out of the room.
Evie’s growth doesn’t level out. We have to ditch her adorable crib and put her in a big-girl bed before she’s two. Gill builds an elaborate construction of aluminum rails around the perimeter of the bed so she won’t roll over and fall out. My sister and I drape purple and pink crepe streamers around the rails and thread glittery ribbons through them to soften the “penitentiary psych ward-ness” of it.
By the time she reaches the age of five, our child is as many feet tall. We agonize for months over whether to surrender her to the public school system or home school our five-foot-tall princess. I look down the road and see myself trying to teach trigonometry to someone. We both see a slippery slope of eventually completely isolating Evie from the world. We picture our precious baby friendless, miserable. Tightly crossing our fingers, we send her off to kindergarten.
Her classmates are curious but not cruel. They like that Evie can lift them up to the monkey bars, and she’s the best kickball player. She always gets picked first for the team. Evie is a sweet, outgoing “little” girl, and she makes friends easily. Her teachers still watch her closely, but they tell us she’s doing remarkably well.
Middle school is different. Some of her classmates, now insecure, awkward tweens, begin to tease Evie, who is now seven feet tall at 12 years old. Luckily, she has her friends Rachel and Emma who always go to bat for Evie. The three girls are inseparable: sleeping over at each others’ houses, going to the mall and giggling over the phone late into the night. Evie’s two best friends make her feel almost normal
But sometimes Evie is sad. We have trouble finding cute clothes to fit her, and she has to have a special desk in all of her classes. It’s hard to be different when all you want to be is the same. She tries her best to put on a brave face for everyone, but Gill and I can tell she gets down. We tell her every day how much we love her, how beautiful she is and how proud we are of her. Then we climb up on a small stepladder to give her big hugs.
Both Gill and I cringe when we think about high school for Evie. Surely this will be her hardest time. But then something wonderful happens.
At 15, Evie is 10 feet tall. We long ago stopped buying clothes off the rack and have found several places online that make things for really tall people. She and I spend hours online, but Evie’s never 100% happy with anything we find.
On her 16th birthday, I look out the front window to see my baby turning her specially-made van into our driveway. She hops out, all 11 feet of her, grinning from ear to ear, and skips into the house. She leans down to show me her license.
“And Daddy asked me what I wanted for my birthday, so I took him to that little shop downtown,” she gushes. “We bought a sewing machine, Mom! I’m gonna make my own clothes!”
And she does. Night after night, after her homework is finished, Evie slowly but diligently teaches herself to sew. She pores over patterns and materials online. She knows all the fabric store owners by name. She checks out every sewing manual from the library. Sometimes Rachel and Emma come over, and they watch Project Runway and What Not to Wear.
We soon discover that Evie has a natural gift for fashion. She cultivates her own style which is elegant yet modern. Hip but with a classic touch. She dresses beyond her years, and tends to favor soft, rich fabrics with interesting colors that accentuate, flatter and dramatically drape her large, large frame. Her inspirations are Anne Bancroft and Audrey Hepburn. She loves black cashmere turtlenecks and funky scarves and animal print.
The only problem is shoes. Evie wears a size 26, which are a little hard to find. And forget about finding cool caramel-colored ankle boots with leather soft as butter or cute strappy sandals or kick-ass stilettos. Nope, shoes are a definite problem for our giantess.
I tell Evie she’s sort of like Cinderella with her missing shoes. One day her Prince Charming will come with size 26 glass slippers. She rolls her eyes at me.
One wonderful day Evie wears to school a simple black linen shift accessorized with a wide-rimmed straw hat, an oversized zebra-print silk scarf and big, black sunglasses. Our phone rings off the hook that evening with calls from girls from Evie’s school. Almost as if they forget how tall she is and that she might not shop where they shop, the girls good-naturedly demand to know where she got the outfit she wore that day. Sacks? Neiman Marcus?
“I made it,” she tells them, giggling into the receiver.
Evie never looks back. She starts her own little haute couture fashion house out of our basement. There is a neverending parade of girls through the living room who’ve come to see Evie. They gather in our kitchen to eat brownies and gossip about boys. They sit on the stairwell to the basement, flipping through fashion magazines and popping their gum.
Down below, Evie’s delighted giggle can often be heard as she measures the girls and sketches out their ideas for dresses for dates and proms and whatever. They all love her attention to detail and funky taste. Her clothes are essential pieces, made to last a lifetime — nothing like the shoddy crap they’ve been buying at the mall. She makes a killing and becomes the most popular girl in her high school. She is 12 feet tall.
One day Evie comes home from school carrying a sleek, thick black book and lays it on the kitchen table. She explains to us that she was chosen for a senior superlative. She has been dreading being chosen for weeks because she was sure they would name her something cheesy and dorky like “Tallest Girl in the World”. She says she had planned to take it all in stride, like she normally did, but after all this time she really didn’t want to be immortalized in her senior yearbook that way.
Her daddy and I hold our breath as she opens her yearbook and flips to the Senior Superlative section. There’s a picture of our girl bent over her beloved sewing machine, a curtain of light brown hair falling across her face. She is deeply concentrated on her work and doesn’t look up for the camera, whose flash bounces off her specially-made class ring and the two or three straight pins sticking out from between her lips.
The caption at the bottom of the picture reads, “Eve Langston: Most Likely to Succeed.”
Evie looks down at us, her eyes filling with tears.
“Oh, honey, that’s wonderful,” I say, beginning to tear up myself. We all hug each other, laughing and crying together.
Evie graduates with honors from high school. Her principal calls Gill and me after graduation to let us know what a pleasure it has been to have Evie for the last four years. They worried her freshman year about how she’d do, but it turns out that Evie Langston is a bright, friendly, ambitious young lady who will go very far in life.
“My wife loves the leopard print handbag Evie made for her. Carries it all the time,” he lets us know.
The day Evie leaves for the Savannah’s School of Design is the best and worst day of her parents’ lives. Gill and I linger in the doorway of her dorm room, trying to find one more thing to tell her, one more reason to stay a little longer. When she bends down to hug us, we can’t let go.
“Daddy. Mother,” she chides. “I’ll be home for fall break in a couple of months.”
“No you won’t,” I wail melodramatically, my arms straining to hold onto her neck as she struggles to stand back up. “You’ll never really be home again!”
Evie blossoms and thrives in college. She loves all of her classes and makes many friends. She calls home every week to tell us of her progress. One Sunday afternoon, before we hang up the phone, I hesitantly inquire if any prospects for love have presented themselves.
“Not yet,” she says with her trademark optimism. “I’m kind of a special case, Mom.”
I smile a little to myself.
“You certainly are, Evie,” I whisper as we hang up.
Evie’s first year of college over, she comes home for the summer all aflutter with news. Apparently, Rachel has emailed her about a three-day conference taking place in a few weeks that is sponsored by the National Association for Extraordinarily Tall Persons. It’s in San Francisco.
“Mama, Daddy can I go? Pleeeease?” she begs.
Gill and I look at each other. She would finally be among those like her. But San Francisco? It’s so far. Gill and I talk it over late into the night. In the end, we realize we really have no choice but to let her go. There’s no way we could look up at that sweet face that’s never asked for anything and say no. What I don’t find out until years later is that Gill pays for her plane ticket and hotel with the money he was planning to spend on one of those new hover cars.
Evie comes back from the conference and is rather quiet. She vaguely answers our questions about it and seems to be in a dream world. She walks into breakfast one morning and lays a picture down on the table in front of us.
“Mama-Daddy-this-is- Ben-and-he- lives-in-L.A.” she says in a rush of words.
I pick up the picture to study the face of the boy Evie’s fallen in love with. Sandy blonde hair. Beard. Nice eyes that crinkle when he smiles. Twelve feet tall. He has his arm around our daughter.
“He’s so wonderful, and I love him so much. He wants to fly here next week to meet you guys. I can’t believe I had to go all the way to California to fall in love, can you?”
She begins to twirl around the table in her bathrobe.
“You have to finish school, Evie,” Gill says, sternly. “That is not debatable, young lady.”
Evie bends down and kisses him on the cheek. He softens.
“I will, Daddy. Of course I will. There’s always email and phone…and spring break.”
“Evie, I don’t know about this,” I begin. “Long distance relationshi–“
“Guess what he does, Mama?”
She crouches down beside me, puts her head on my shoulder and sighs. “He designs shoes for tall people. He’s my Prince Charming. Remember?”
That’s when we know we’ve lost her. It’s the best and worst day of our lives.
They marry in the springtime, after Evie graduates from Savannah. They honeymoon at Fashion Week in New York. The pictures from their wedding are funny and sweet. Ben and Evie stand like two enormous bookends on either side of Gill and me, who look like two wee hobbits.
Ben and Evie travel all over the world, going to fashion shows, meeting the designers and pitching their own designs. Turns out there’s a hidden clothing market for people of extraordinary height, which is no surprise to us. Soon they gain enough interest for some wealthy investors to back their new designer clothing company, Tall.
Gill and I are so proud of our 12-foot-tall, beautiful, talented daughter and her 12-foot-tall shoemaker husband. She calls often, but we still miss her. Sometimes, when the house is quiet, I can still hear her, back across the years, running in through the front door to tell me,
“Mama, I’m gonna make my own clothes!”