At a young age I began to ask my parents about the history of our family. I was curious where we were from, what my grandparents did and what countries of origin and ethnic makeup we had that made me who I was. In my family this type of inquisition was quickly nailed down to a conversational Post-It that gave me the words i knew to respond to questions about lineage in a sentence. "I'm Irish, Catholic and a little Welsh".
Much later in life I would field questions about the smidge of Portuguese running through my blood. I say later in life because I first found out about this 'smidge' when I was in my 30's, which leads me to growing up Irish Catholic.
I wasn't regaled with stories about past family members fighting in the Crusades, or dominating empires. I can't claim to be related to any plunderers of the rich or kings from past eras. I'd like to think i had a distant great great great cousin who was the kind of guy who stopped on the side of the road to help a lady change a wheel on her wagon while he fought off those plunderers. I heard my grandfather ran for Congress in the 40's but thats pretty new school in the scheme of family lineage. I did know that we were a scourge on the Irish Catholic tradition because my family is TINY.
What's not tiny however, is our ability to create extremely large headed people. I have a big head. There, I said it. Thankfully i'm also really tall so I like to think i've grown into it nicely, the kind of head that people don't use as a first descriptor about me when I'm not present. My wife also has a big head. She is much more attractive than I am and i know for a fact she is typically described by her general beauty, smile, eyes or gregarious personality among many other non- big headed traits. When two worlds as ours collided, marriage and babies created a vortex of head sizes not seen very often.
Onto babies, our babies- most parents go to the pediatrician hoping to hear that their children are healthy, normal and on par with his or her peers- simple enough. I admit that being a fairly tall person i would get excited to hear about the percentile height and weight ranking of my children to compare against the other kids. I know i'm not alone in this narcissism because the doctor was always excited to give us the good news of big, tall and healthy babies.
After the weight and height measurements were taken (and applauded by all in the room) came the head measurement. I can tell you that all but 4% of the parents in the U.S. barely remember this part of the exam- its inconsequential- who actually cares, right? Well, I do. My kids are in the 96% percentile. Both of them. The pediatrician would glance up as she shared the news with us- taking in the new, previously unseen view of our huge parent heads.
As we left the appointment I imagined the staff peeking out of doorways to glimpse at the Jack in the Box Family bobbling down the hallway.
I wondered what kind of car they thought we drove....