Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Word "Little"

I recently read an article from a gentleman with dwarfism.  He happens to be a professor at a college and smart as a whip.  His article focused on his perspective of dwarfism... what it felt like to be a dwarf, how he fought his whole life to prove his worth and how he hated the word little.

Hmmmmmm... the word little.

Words are words.  They mean something, describe something, help us understand our world.  Whether we like it or not, we are all associated with words.  Sometimes we are lucky and can choose certain words that are ours.  Other times, words are chosen for us... but their still ours.  Sometimes these words makes us happy and other times, so sad.  Different people see us differently and can have their own set of words to use to describe us.  Words hurt, words help, words love.

 My words go like this: creative, loving, brunette, determined, spirited, stubborn, smart, thoughtful, cheapskate, freckled, dreamer and last be not least... lanky.  That's right.  I can tend to look a little like Gumby and... I am aware of the resemblance.

Some of those go hand-in-hand with my personality.  Some of them I work hard for.  Some of them I have always been.  But these are my words.  And even though some of them I would like to shake right off, I can't.  It's who I am.

And with my Lilah... one of her many words will always be little.

And while I understand the professor's point-of-view and I can appreciate his story... I look at the word little so differently.

Disclaimer: {And I should mention before I go any further, that I am not a little person, nor can I fully understand what it is like to be a little person.  So with that said, maybe I am way off-base but I am still going to write it because I think it.}

Little.  I understand the professor felt like he had to prove himself his whole life to make up for his short-stature.  I understand that he felt like he had to press upon people his integrity.  I really do.  But... and there is a big but... (and I am laughing that I just wrote that... but it is what I mean... and now let's be serious)...

Can't we just embrace the little?

And even though I am trying to be serious and I have a serious point to make, my glass of wine is making me write this next line... in the words of Lady Gaga, "Baby, I was born this way."  And what a way to be.  (Maybe my disclaimer should have been about the glass of wine seeing how it has been void from my life for a year.  Thanks to pregnancy.  Thanks to baby.  Happy to have a glass of wine every now and again.)

I love that Lilah gets this word little.  It is soooo her.  Her little squishy nose, her little chubby legs, her little shy smile when I get her from nap.  Her little giggle at daddy, her little belly button, her little toes that curl around my finger.  All of these things make me smile so big.  And selfishly, I am glad that my girl gets to stay little a little longer just so I can savor these memories of her forever more.  I love my little.  I love everything about my babygirl.

And for the record... little is just one of her many, many words.  We don't have just one, you know.  She is going to reveal her secrets of who she is and fill in the blanks of what her words will be... but not yet.  You see... she likes to keep me guessing.  She just shows glimmers of her personality and leaves me hungry for more and more.  But, each day she delivers and I get to see a little more into her world-- the world of who she will become.  It is a world I am desperate to learn about... but I know in time I will.

And to tell you the truth, it wouldn't surprise me if some of her words sounded like this: big {personality}, giant {zest for life}, huge {heart}.  Big and little... they go together like fish and the sea.

And as for when she gets older?  She may have to prove herself and be her own advocate.  She may have to stand up for what she believes is right or wrong.  And as her mama, I hope all of these things for her for they will make her fierce.  But for now, I am enjoying my little one and wishing each day she stays little in my arms and I pray that she always looks at me with those deep blue eyes and smiles and gushes and squeals at her mama.

And that word little... well, it is my new favorite word.  And it will always be.


  1. She is just darling.

    I think of The Little Engine That Could when I hear the word come up.
    Sometimes the littlest of us all end up doing the biggest things.
    Thanks for sharing her with us ;)

    1. Thank you for reading! Ahhh... I love that book... That is so true and I really like your perspective. Thank you for that. XOXO

  2. On top of being a great writer your photographer is gorgeous ... well, maybe it's your subject (giggle)! The pictures of her beautiful "little" blue eyes ... WOW, just WOW! Thank you for sharing, thank you for educating. I am truly thankful God led me to your blog. Have a fabulous day!

    1. Heather... well, don't you know how to make a grown woman blush!! I love taking pictures of my Birdie... she is easy to photograph and she loves the camera. Thank you for following the blog. XOXO

  3. She's just beautiful!! Reminds me of the saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover" :)

    1. Thanks Chris... very true. Great words of wisdom. XOXO

  4. Thank you for another wonderful blog post. It was what I needed on a crazy/stressful week. Thank you for always bringing things back into perspective. I look forward to each and every blog post. Can't wait to see you guys this weekend.

    1. Thanks dearie. Have I told you enough what a blessing you are to us? It's because of you and others that just make this journey that much more special. Love you! XOXO

  5. I haven't read the professor's article, but I can say that I share his dislike for the word "little". I am not a person with dwarfism, but I am shorter/smaller than most people (4'10"/100lbs) and very aware that my height is still the first thing that many people know about me. Do I have a big personality? Yes. Can I be loud and abrasive and assertive? Yes. Is part of that a reactionary belligerence from being dismissed because of my size? Almost certainly. That's because "little" isn't respected. "Little" is for infants. "Little" isn't taken seriously, it isn't heard, it isn't assumed to be experienced, smart, authoritative, worthy of positions of leadership. With my size, people often make assumptions and rarely are these beneficial (the exception is that I think strangers are less intimidated by me) and do tangibly hurt my opportunities.

    I DON'T embrace the word "little" because it is far more than a simple physical descriptor. It has a lot of baggage. It may not be the M word, but it's not a neutral word appropriate for people to use to describe me, at least. Honestly, I find being called "little" more offensive than being asked by random strangers "how tall are you?". "Little" dismisses me. "Little" is not a word used for people we follow or take seriously or admire. It might be fine (and positive) for an infant, but that's about it.

    Caveat: my experiences are those of a 30 year old woman who happens to be rather short and comes from a family full of other short people (with average-height and tall people thrown in on various sides). I don't profess to speak for anyone with dwarfism. I know that most of what I have to deal with as a short woman (comments, stereotypes, staring, difficulty finding clothing, a world built for taller people) is minor in comparison.

    1. Sarah, thank you so much for reading the blog and taking so much time to offer your opinion. I really appreciate it. I can really relate to your last comments because I stand at 5' 8" and can no way ever know what it is like to walk in the shoes of someone with dwarfism or even of someone with short-stature. It is great for me to hear other perspectives and since dwarfism is relatively new to my life, I am still learning what we as a family are comfortable with as far as discussing Lilah's diagnosis. I think it will take awhile to find a good fit for words and I am sure she will help us in doing that.

      I can see where you are coming from and I appreciate hearing another perspective. I just happen to see it through different eyes. I had a relative that was 7' 2". He was tall and big. That was a fact. These words didn't mean anything more than his physical appearance. It didn't define his personality, his character, his ability. He was tall and that was one of the millions of ways a person can be measured.

      Stick around and keep reading, I would love to hear more of your thoughts on future blogs that I write. Thanks again. XOXO