On my 14th birthday, my grandmother gave me a present: a framed photograph of her and my grandfather as teenagers in the 1940s. Then she explained the purpose behind it. “Your dad told me that you’ve started slouching when pictures are taken,” she said, “because you’re taller than the other girls and boys in your grade.”
My cheeks flushed. I didn’t know anyone noticed, but it was true: I wore flat shoes and slouched to better match my peers.
“I’m happily taller than your grandfather,” she continued with a sly wink, “and I’ve never made myself shrink around him.” Then she shifted her finger in my direction. “No more slouching. Stand tall. And” — she paused to focus her kind eyes on mine — “it only matters that whoever you’re with can lift you up.”