Bob and Cathie think I'm still growing.

I'm not joking about this. They legitimately think I'm still growing.

Tonight, after Easter dinner and birthday cake for my niece Emrie who wouldn't acknowledge me but didn't insult me either so I'm counting it as a victory, I gave Bob and Cathie hugs goodbye. And as I did, Bob inquisitively stated, "you sure are getting tall."

Not, "you sure have gotten tall." Not, "when did you get this tall." You guys. He didn't say those perfectly reasonable things a parent sometimes says to their children.

He said, "you sure *are* *getting* tall." Emphasis "ARE." Emphasis "GETTING."

Let me zoom out a bit, in case this is your first time ever reading Stranger (and if this is, sorry for all of the confusion. If you're willing to devote upwards of 20 hours binge-reading the posts and comments, 75% of what you find here will make sense. Like in the "Pee Wee's Big Adventure makes sense" kind of way).

I'm a 31-year-old man. 31 going on 65. I stopped growing well over a decade ago. I have been 5 foot 11 inches since I was 18 years old. This has not changed. Like a normally developing human being, my life story is this:

I grew until I was 18, and then despite never having gone through puberty, I stopped growing. Then I got my foot disease, an appendectomy scar, wrinkles around the eyes suspiciously 18 months into law school, Tami, a throat chlamydia scare, early onset arthritis, with liberty and justice for all, amen.

Roll the credits.

But Bob and Cathie cannot accept that this is my life story. According to them, my life story is this:

Obnoxious child becomes obnoxious adult, refuses to provide grandchildren, a throat chlamydia scare, never stops growing. The end.

And I really do mean it when I say they both have a problem in this area. Cathie is actually worse than Bob. Exactly every Christmas Cathie informs me that she believes I have grown at least one inch since the prior Christmas. She has me stand next to her as "proof" that she is not mistaken.

According to Cathie's calculations, I should be at least 7 foot 2 by now.


And the observations don't stop at my ever-increasing height. Cathie has things to say about the appropriate nutrition for "a growing boy" like myself. Namely, that I should be consuming enough calories each meal to sustain a small village. IN ALASKA.

This was apparent tonight as she repeatedly poured more food onto my still half full plate despite my polite protests, responding with some variation of a distracted "oh that's nice dear" as I informed her about the perils of type two diabetes.

So I stood in the room full of family members tonight after Bob proudly informed the group that his growing boy has apparently hit a new growth spurt at the start of his fourth decade. I reminded them that I am nearly old enough now to have children who are done growing, Bob conceded slightly.

Stumbling upon a new theory I've only ever heard my 85-year-old grandma share about my size, he pondered, "maybe I'm just shrinking, then."

I walked out of the house, the word "shrinking" ringing in my ever-nostalgic mind that is becoming increasingly aware of my retirement-age parents' growing physical limitations and general mortality. And I didn't want to think any more about this or accept that it's true. So I decided that it's silly of me to be so anxious to become the stable and physically unchanging adult in my relationship with Bob and Cathie after spending nearly 32 years apparently being anything but that.

So I sat a little taller on my car ride home.

I'm probably going to need to go buy new clothes tomorrow.

What with this growth spurt and all.

~It Just Gets Stranger