There’s a slight chance my wife could be giving birth to the next Shawn Bradley. Not only because little Charlie/Susan will undoubtedly inherit my
lack of basketball skills, but because Mary Jane is a carrier of the “extraordinarily tall person” gene.
We both come from pretty tall families. Last time I measured, I was right at 6-foot-4. That would put me at well above average in every country except for Yugoslavia, where 7-foot clones of Vlade Divac roam the land in search of shaving cream and fresh razors.
|Vlade Divac: Above average height AND facial hair.|
My wife is 5-foot-10 and has the ideal height and beauty of a super model. Her mom’s the same, and her dad’s right at 6-0. Her grandfather is 6-4, possibly taller. My brother is 6-0, my dad is 6-0 (and three quarters, he claims), my uncle Mike is 6-3 and my grandfather is at least 6-3. So height runs in both of our families. None of us will be dunking from the foul line anytime soon, but we can reach the spice cabinet without much trouble.
None of that may seem too extraordinary…until I tell you that my brother-in-law checks in at an even seven feet tall. Before you ask, yes he did play basketball. My guess is his two least favorite questions in life are "Wow, how tall are you?" and "Do you play basketball?" I don’t think Philip really cares that he’s that tall, but that doesn’t change the fact that our kid could be looking him in the eye in about 18 years.
Whatever chromosomes lined up to make Philip as tall as he is definitely came from my mother-in-law's side of the family. There's another 7-footer on her side, and my wife's grandfather is a big man with some of the biggest hands I've ever shaken. Of course, God probably blessed him with those hands knowing that he would raise three daughters. When your daughter brings home a questionable young man, a father's first line of defense is a firm “Your hand is still intact only because I haven't broken it yet, so don’t you try to pull any sh*t with my daughter” handshake. I'm sure he sent at least one ill-meaning teenage boy home with sore knuckles. The same can be said about both of my grandfathers, who are/were both over six feet and raised multiple daughters themselves.
The bottom line is that two 7-footers have been yielded by my wife’s side of the family within three generations. When we first saw the baby on the ultrasound last week (which was incredible, please see Wife’s last post), the first thing I felt was a huge surge of joy. Then I wondered why the head was so big (probably to fit the huge brain it inherited from my attorney wife).
According to the ever-expanding fetus-to-fruit comparison list, little Charlie/Susan is the size of a prune right now, but will be the size of a lime by the end of next week. While it may not be able to ride a roller coaster yet, it’s already tall enough to play second base for the Red Sox.
|Dustin Pedroia suffered from a severe Wheaties deficiency as a child.|
I'm aware that I'm writing all of this as if little Charlie/Susan is going to be just little Charlie. I know that our baby girl could be just as tall. I think my wife is worried that we could have an abnormally tall daughter. Well I work with the Duke volleyball team and Duke women's basketball teams, and most of them are six feet or taller, some up to 6-5. I am NOT saying that if we have a tall daughter, she's destined to play volleyball or basketball or any sport if she doesn't want to. What I'm saying is that all of those women on the volleyball team are great representatives of the university, and they're all going to earn degrees from one of the top schools in the country. Our kid doesn't have to be defined by its height. MJ's brother, even though he's seven feet tall, isn't playing in the NBA. He's in LA working his way into the movie industry as a director and/or writer. That's what he wants to do with his life. Who cares if he's tall.
The point, I guess, is that it doesn't matter if our baby is short, tall, skinny, fat, boy, girl, whatever. It can be anything it wants to be.