It was in a house which had been a family’s home for many years. On the wall were measurements, written with pencil, written with pen, straight and even, crooked and misspelled. It was a collection of growth marks, with each member of the family represented, a record of the children’s heights year-by-year. It struck me hard. To me that wall proclaimed aloud This Is Home in many voices. It illustrated for me what it means to settle. This is a place, it said, that we always come back to. It’s a place where everyone’s growth is celebrated and history is made together. I can see such a wall, with a sky-scraping mark for the daddy’s height, with the year of someone’s amazing growth spurt marked in red, with a low mark for the dog.
Since our marriage Alex and I have occupied five different apartments and there are many moves ahead. We’ll be changing cities–we’ll be changing continents. We aren’t buying a house. I’ve accepted the fact that perhaps we never will. There won’t be a growing-up wall to visit each birthday. Thus the growing-up board. I first saw a “growth ruler” somewhere more than a year ago but it took me until last month to get mine done. I had to wait until I found a suitable board in the dumpster (July), ordered a mini-can of stain for it (October), cleaned, sanded, and stained it (February), and finally marked off feet and inches in permanent marker (March). It has flaws: it’s not as dark as I’d like, I didn’t have a printer to make templates of a better font, and the board is shorter than I’d like. Perhaps next summer I can get a wood-working relative (ahem) on the job. I’d also like one cut invisibly in thirds–for ease of transport.
But this will do to begin on. In pencil I’ve written in the girls’ heights since birth (saved from the wall in our last flat) and we discovered they have each been sneakily growing since July. We even measured Hugh, his first-ever as they don’t do it in hospital here. He was 25 inches tall, folks. And growing.
I like this also because the children can see their own growth and measure each other whenever they feel like it. Now we just need to get a dog . . .