“It doesn’t matter what size you are,” said the owl. “Just use your brains and you will find that you are big enough to do anything.
Every Wednesday my son and the rest of his Grade 2 peers go to the school library and choose their two weekly library books. I am always very interested to see his book selections – you know – what naturally catches their attention and imagination etc.
Last week, one of the two, that my little man brought home was called “How to count crocodiles”, which was a compilation of short stories, told by Margaret Mayo. The one that caught my attention was called “The very small tabby cat”.
What a beautiful story! – Perhaps it resonated with me a little more than it would with most…
The fundamentals of the story went something like this: There once was a very tiny tabby cat, who wanted nothing more than to be big like the other animals. Frustrated and distraught over her size, she went to visit some of the larger animals to ask how they had managed to grow so large. Needless to say, none of them really knew, and they did nothing more than describe their daily antics to her – which she then decided to replicate… to no avail obviously.
Out of desperation, she eventually went to go and see the wise old owl.
She found the owl, high up in a tree, blinking his big round eyes, open and shut, open and shut. “Friend owl,” said the tabby cat, “tell me, please, what must I do to grow big?”
The owl closed his eyes and opened them again. “Why do you want to be big?” he asked. “I want to be big, so that if I get into a fight I can win.” said the tabby cat. “Has anybody ever picked a fight with you?” the owl asked. “No, she said. I am friends with everyone.” “Then you don’t need to be bigger,” said the owl. “But I am so small and I am always, always looking up at the other animals and I am tired of that. I would like them to look up at me sometimes.” The owl closed his eyes and opened them again…
“Can you climb a tree?” he asked. “Yes, I can.” She said.
“Then you don’t need to be any bigger. When you want a big animal to look up at you – climb a tree!”
“I hadn’t thought of that,” said the tabby cat.
“It doesn’t matter what size you are,” said the owl. “Just use your brains and you will find that you are big enough to do anything.”
Don’t you just love that message?! Right?! Wonderful! (I wish more of the cartoons on television sent such self-empowering messages, even if they really had to be delivered by a five eyed squid with purple hair and an attitude).
The reason I say that perhaps this short story resonated with me a little more than it might with others… is because my little boy is tiny. Like teeny tiny – oh don’t worry – he makes up for it in personality and attitude (the good kind), no questions! – but the reality is, that children can be cruel and I never, EVER want him to grow up with “short man syndrome”.
Trust me on that one – that shit is NASTY! Lol - I know. I was married to it.
Whenever my son has brought the issue up to me regarding his height, I have always told him that he is not short, he is COMPACT AWESOME – and if anyone ever says anything to him about it, that is what he should tell them. Which to my knowledge, he has done a few times over the years.
Thankfully, the school that he attends has a zero tolerance policy towards bullying, and a very inclusive ethic as a whole, so, as yet, the issue has never raised its head – but as a mother, if I am honest, I cannot sit here and say that it doesn’t worry me for when he gets a little older (he is 7 now).
However, I focus my thoughts on the fact that between his home life, our support as parents, family support and that of his school – he will know precisely who he is as he climbs the ladder of life and will be more than able to stand on his own two feet. Besides, he’s so damn good looking that he is probably going to have to spend more time worrying about fending off all the girls, never mind the bullies – and if all else fails – kick them in the nuts (yes, he has mommy’s permission. Lol)
Time is so fleeting. Can you remember when you were 7? I know I can’t. I have a few select memories, but I don’t remember the “daily activity” – you know, the things we moms and dads kill ourselves over on a day to day basis (whilst trying to keep the financial support system ticking along), like playing Lego, dressing up, painting faces, making endless sandwiches, reading bedtime stories and so on…
BUT – and it’s a big one (isn’t it always) – these/those times in their little lives and worlds are so, SO very important. It is what forms them into the adults they become… and my son seems to be quite happy with being “compact awesome”.
Long may it last – through our continued support and encouragement and may it be precisely the same for all your littles…
For those that are interested… below is a link to the book...
Until next time…