“Let’s go! Back to back!”
is something we hear all the time in our house. It started sometime within the last two years (post-Bar Mitzvah), when the older boy started sprouting up.


First he bypassed the height of Aunt Julie, and for a nephew, that was a big thrill. (For an aunt, not so much, she joked.) An inch or two later, he was starting to see Jim and me eye-to-eye, and it was all over from that point.

“I’m taller than you are.”

“No, you’re not. You have shoes on and I’m barefoot.”

“Fine. I’ll take off my shoes! Let’s go! Back to back!”

And that’s how the conversations always begin. He stands back to back with one of us (Jim and I are the same height, about 5 feet 7 inches, maybe 5 feet 7-1/2 inches on a tall-feeling day: ha ha) and then somebody else judges the height competition. We always won, of course, but stressed that it really doesn’t matter how tall you are (spoken like two parents whose kids are destined to be taller!) but what KIND of person you are.

Of course, for them it’s all about the height. The younger boy started sprouting up about a year ago, and now the older one has a third competitor. What if he grows even taller than his older brother? Will that destroy the natural order and rules of older versus younger siblings? Probably not. It will, however, make it a little easier for the younger one to defend himself in their (rare) physical scuffles, I suppose.

About six months ago I had to take the fifteen-year-old in to the doctor, and they measured his height at 5 feet 8 inches. Not a surprise to me, and yes, I let him have his little ten minutes (it felt longer) of bragging. Is it necessary to brag about something you didn’t actually accomplish, but just happened to “do”? Darn right, if you’re a teenager. Teenagers, for those of you who haven’t experienced your own (or others’) yet, will brag about anything they get a chance to. But I, being a nice mom, let him have the “win”.

“Great. You’re taller than me. Now what?”

“Um…I don’t know. I don’t know!”

“Exactly. And now you’re going to have to pay for your own jeans, because you are clearly on the verge of needing new ones.” (OF COURSE I WAS KIDDING. If I let him pay for them, then I don’t get to jokingly complain that if he would stop growing, I could save some money.)

That “Now what?” shut him up about it…until we recently went to a restaurant that has a height chart near the door (Why?) and it turns out that he is now almost 5 feet 9 inches. The younger one is a good 5 feet 7 inches.

February 2008:
The younger one has sprouted since this photo was taken.

Now that they have both surpassed me in height (okay, the younger one is the same height but for all intensive purposes, since he is only 13 it’s pretty safe to say that he will surpass me…probably by dinnertime), I am looking forward to looking up to them for a change. I am proud of the young men my boys have become and although they are still works-in-progress, to me they really do stand out heads and shoulders above the rest.