• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Recently I found an older picture of my parents with my father's brother and parents. My two older brothers are there also, as young children.

I was thrilled to see these family faces. I don't remember my grandmother very well. She died when I was quite young. The picture surprised me. My father is much, much taller than every one else in the picture.

I have never thought of my father as a tall man. Most of my brothers and many cousins are taller than he is. My mother has always seemed kind of short to me.  She doesn't even really clear dad's shoulder at just over 5 feet.

Aug 1972 Garth and Neil S. Forsyth ( both standing)

Looking at the picture I realized mom was not really short - the other adults in the picture are not much taller. I was especially surprised to notice that my grandfather was not a tall man. I did not know that and I knew him well. He lived in our home for a time. I just never considered his adult height.

Jean and Garth Forsyth's comparative height clearly shown
Grandpa Neil Snow Forsyth (seated) with 2nd wife Ruth Rassmussen
children top left to bottom right: Tad, Kati, Ginger, Shawn
When I was growing up if someone stood over 6 feet tall they WERE considered tall. I vaguely remember my dad being proud of being 6 feet tall. I knew my brothers all wanted to be 6 foot tall and that the only one that didn't quite hit the 6 foot mark was a bit disappointed.

I remember the day one of my children sidled up along side of me, threw an arm around my shoulder and announced, "Mom, I am way taller than you are" (partly in response to some discipline and discussion).

He was right. It was true - and I had not really noticed.

I looked up quite startled and momentarily wordless into my son's young grinning face. That is when I noticed the booger just inside of his nose! I smiled and replied, "that is so I can tell if you have booger's up your nose."

His sisters almost died laughing - they could see it too! He denied it but still went and checked - and we all followed along so we could watch. Aren't families wonderful? In families we can experience some of our finest and most terrible moments and still be lovingly bound to each other.

Each of us needs someone to tell us how to keep our 'nose clean'.

I have several grandchildren that are at least 6 feet tall. Totally weirds me out! This week one of my granddaughter's will have a 17th birthday. She is very tall - at least to me - but I am realizing it is all our perspective. Sometimes we don't even notice. That may surprise her and she may disagree but really height doesn't matter in many important ways.

An idiom from my childhood was that if you looked up to someone they were 'six feet tall'.  I look up to my granddaughter in more ways than just lifting my chin so I can see her face.  To me she really is 'six feet tall'.  I hope it will always be that way.

And just in case she ever thinks of doing something foolish I am giving her this reminder, "People who are tall enough (or good enough) to look down on anyone else need to remember that shorter people can 'see up their nose'."

Each of us, short or tall, has talents and vices. I hope each and every birthday will increase our talents and lessen our vices.

Happy Birthday, Meg.