My mother was a knockout. She didn’t have to work at it. In fact, to this day, she’s one of the least vain women I know. My dad carried this picture of her around in his wallet until the day he died. He would often pull it out, show it to others, and brag about the amazing woman he’d married.
Beside my mother and two younger sisters, I felt like a giant, tall and awkward and gangly. I slouched to hide my height. I hid in the background of pictures to hide my ugliness. I often imagined I was adopted into the family because I didn’t look like I belonged.
It was years later that I realized I’d taken after my dad’s side of the family. The women there were tall and stocky. They had meat on their bones and calves that weren’t small and delicate. But they were sweet and kind and loving.
My mother is now 83, has shrunk, and barely comes up to my shoulder. My sisters are still smaller than me. But I’m no longer that awkward, ugly teen. I’ve grown into myself, and learned that generosity of spirit is far more important than looking like the supermodel I once wished to be.