Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Scrappy Is As Scrappy Does
If I asked The Husband what one word he'd use to describe me, I'd bet it wouldn't be beautiful or funny or intelligent.
Nope. It would be stubborn.
I am. For all the good and all the bad the word connotes, I am as recalcitrant as a mule.
I blame it all on my childhood (of course, doesn't everybody?) and being smaller than everyone else, even babies my own age.
I was reminded of this when Elizabeth Flora Ross, a Twitter bud of mine, tweeted about her uber-climbing 17-month old. She wanted to know when she could expect her toddler to get over this ambition to climb Mt. Everest, and I told her that I still climbed exactly like that.
And I do. When you're 4'10", you have to climb for everything. Top shelves in kitchens are useless without a ladder, and sometimes The Kiddo steals the ladder I have in the kitchen. At that point, getting supper on the table means I have to climb the way I did when back when I was six.
Back then, when I was six, I weighed 36 pounds and was 36 inches tall. I was a shrimp, but a scrappy little shrimp.
Being short gave me a sort of tenacity. I knew everything was going to be hard. I sort of expected it. My parents, for the most part, didn't coddle me. Mama expected me to pull my full weight during her many, many home-improvement projects. Complaining almost always netted me a response of, "Do what you can."
I still remember the summer morning I was helping relocate a stack of 2x4s from the back of the house to the end of the house. With a board tucked under each arm, I marched behind The Sister, wishing I could tote two boards under each arm like she could. She, however, was about 11, four years older than my 7 years, and normal-sized to boot.
I'd reached the end of the house and was struggling to lay the boards down when something else fell down instead -- my elastic-waisted shorts. There I stood, at the head of the drive, my shorts around my ankles, screaming my head off.
Everybody came running to see what snake had bitten me. I still remember the eyeroll Mama gave me. "Put down the boards and pull up your pants, for goodness' sake. And get a string to tie around your waist."
It was cool reactions like that which shaped my ya-got-it-stick-it-out approach to life. No drama. No whining (well, not any more than you can absolutely resist). Just keep on plugging. And if the unthinkable happens, just pull your pants back up.
Ah, yes. Such recalcitrance has stood me in good stead. It's one of my best-kept secret weapons.