koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Why We're Salty

Aiming for Average

My husband is tall. Like, really tall. Like, “hey, did you play college basketball?” levels tall.

And he’s smart. Like went to a super academically demanding college, and killed it. Like, when I told my parents he existed I said, “he’s a rocket scientist” – and I wasn’t lying.

These traits are both VERY celebrated in his family. On a trip back East during our engagement, there was a robust conversation about my ability to provide sufficiently tall grandchildren, what with my diminutive stature. I somewhat nervously defended myself, “I mean, I’m 5″8’….. that’s not exactly short?” My mother-in-law to be quickly rebuffed me, questioning my asserted height, as though perhaps I would lie about it to get in her good graces? There was only to be one solution. I was to be measured. Yes, she ACTUALLY measured me.

I passed.

Thankfully, there was no such test to measure if I would adequately assist in our children’s mental agility. I would like to think I would pass that as well, but I’m honest enough to admit I’d fail the math portion.

That being said, there are tall expectations set on my husband’s family, both literal and figurative. So it was with great joy when we dropped the bomb on them: we were aiming for average.

Personally, I’m tired – nay, downright exhausted – with the quest for excellence. Every child cannot be in the 99th percentile at their 6 month well baby check. It’s not possible. That’s just not how percentages work. Every child cannot be leaps and bounds above their peers academically. If they are? Great, if they’re not, that’s fine too. That HAS TO BE FINE TOO.

So when asked if our son was just “off the charts” in regards to his height, we would often reply, “nope, he’s right on track” sometimes even fudging the numbers to make him MORE average. The looks of horror on my in-laws faces were priceless. (However, they were quickly replaced with theories as to why he was so stunted, but that dear readers is a story for another time – spoiler alert: it’s my fault). A family of engineers, they would see him holding an object and making it work and excitedly exclaim, “oh, I see we’ve got another engineer on our hands!” They decided quickly and concisely that he would, obviously, attend his father’s alma mater and we’re debating what kind of an engineer he would be. My husband, again enjoying getting a rise out of his family, would say, “I don’t know, I think he’s more inclined to be an entertainer. Maybe in Vegas!” You’d think he said, “I don’t know, I think he’s more inclined to be a serial killer. Maybe one of those cannibal ones.”

And I get it, it’s back to school and there’s AP classes or “gifted classes” and Varsity Football or a starting spot on pop warner and someone’s getting first chair in the orchestra or the solo at the fall concert or will be the kid with the longest line in the Kindergarten production of Peter Rabbit and so many areas for our kids to have the opportunity to shine and excel. And we absolutely want to give our kids all of those opportunities and encourage them to be the very best version of themselves that they can be.

But we can’t all be 6′ 7″ (yes, that’s how tall my husband is) and we can’t all be engineers. And why should we all want to? Our kids won’t all play major league baseball or be famous actors or cure cancer. Most of them? Will just be average. Wonderfully, beautifully, average. That’s truly all I can aim for.

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23 thoughts on “Aiming for Average”

    1. In my husband’s uncles living room! I first had to do a “back to back” with his grandma (who was 5’10”) to see if I was even close enough to justify getting out the measuring tape!

  1. Love this because I can totally relate! I’m 5’4″ and my hubby is 6’4″ and we both have our doctorates. People always make assumptions about us and what we want for our 3 daughters. And the truth is if none of them go to college, we are ok with that. As long as they follow their own dreams and passions, we will be there to support them every step of the way.

  2. I have been with my husband for almost 10 years, so I never thought of him as tall (He’s 6’4″), he was just normal to me. Then I went to my first OBGYN appointment and the doctor made several comments about how big my husband is and how big out baby will be. I didn’t even realize until that point that he was that much bigger than me (I’m 5’5″). People can be so funny sometimes.

    1. Haha, it does get normalized pretty quickly! Like it’s usually off my radar how tall my husband is until I see him around someone else that’s “tall.” Same with my son – I just think he’s regular sized and then people ask what grade he’s in and I’m like, uh, he just turned 4, haha!

  3. Love this! So many people have a hard time accepting that average really is OKAY. It’s good a reminder for me as a parent, too!

  4. My sons are super tall too but I honestly don’t really notice until we’re out and people comment how short I am and that they tower over their mama… I never thought of myself as “short” I’m 5’2″ of pure feistiness LOL but I guess next to them I look short 😉 my 21 yr old is 6′ 6″and my 17 yr old is 6′ 3″

  5. Oh. My. Goodness. I am SO sorry you married into such a family! – but so pleased you and your husband seem to be handling it as gracefully as you can! (I almost married into a family like this once…bullet dodged!) It’s one thing if someone just HAPPENS to be tall, academically advanced, athletically gifted, etc. – but this is absolutely not something to PUSH someone’s kids (or spouse!) into! (And I LOVE how you strive to pass your offspring off as even MORE average than they are to your in-laws – that made me laugh!) Best of luck in continuing to navigate this challenging relationship! 🙂

  6. “Every child cannot be in the 99th percentile at their 6 month well baby check. It’s not possible. That’s just not how percentages work.” THIS!! YES YES YES. Thank you!

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