This is a desperate plea for help. Not for me, mind you. For my wife, Michele. I don’t know how to put this delicately, but my wife suffers from VID – Vertical Impairment Disorder. She is barely 5 feet tall. And she has remained that height for as long as I’ve known her. I’m doubtful she’ll overcome her impairment any time soon. But I’m a patient husband.
Nobody knows for sure why God chose to punish her by making her so short. Perhaps her parents stopped feeding her when she reached 4’9”. Or maybe, given that she is from Canada, where nine months of the year they live in total darkness, she didn’t get enough sunlight.
Who knows why she is thus afflicted. I would ask her mom, who’s 5’1” or her dad, who’s 5’3”, but I doubt they can shed any light. One thing’s for sure: my wife is often overlooked – unless you look down – way down – to see her.
My heart aches because there is nothing I can do to help her grow to a normal adult height – through no lack of trying. For a while I suggested wearing 8-inch heels, but that was a total bust. I kept falling over. Then I suggested perhaps SHE should wear the high heels. But she had this utterly silly idea about accepting the way God made her. But I would not give up. I bought her a grow light. However, the only thing that’s sprouted so far is the ficus tree. One time I surprised her with a dousing of Miracle-Gro. While it’s done wonders for our house plants (you should see the ficus now!), the only part of my wife that grew was her ire. Actually, she did seem a tad taller when she shouted in my face to turn off the hose.
After several years of trying in vain to coax my wife to a respectable 5’5”, I concluded I was being terribly shortsighted. So, I’ve decided to accept her just the way she is. We are determined to still have a quality life together even though we may have to make a few height-restricted accommodations. For example, Michele can’t reach anything on the top kitchen shelf, so I often will stop watching TV to retrieve the fondue pot or maybe a tall vase for her. And I will do this gladly – unless the game is in overtime.
If we go to a street fair, it’s imperative I hold Michele’s hand to keep her from wandering off to explore the craft booths. This happened last May, and it took me 45 minutes to find her in the crowds.
In the evening, when we snuggle on the couch, watching a show, she can only imagine what it would feel like for her feet to touch the floor. I do my best to describe the sensation – and assure her she’s not missing anything. (Please don’t tell her what a tactile high it is to glide your feet on a plush carpet).
We have boxes and boxes of kids’ memorabilia gathering dust on the top shelf in our storage room. Sadly, Michele hasn’t seen them in years. Don’t tell her, but I’m thinking of surprising her by buying her a step-ladder for her birthday.
We made the mistake of buying our kids bunk beds when they were little. They loved being able to evade their mom on the top bed when they had misbehaved. After years of not being able to kiss Rachel goodnight, for she was out of reach way up high, we traded them in for futons – the bunk beds, that is. We would never trade our kids for a futon – unless it was incredibly luxurious.
Sadly, all the medical experts who have examined her agree – there is no cure for her vertical deficiency. In fact, they’ve quietly confided to me that over time she might actually shrink. I have not broken this news to her as she would be devastated. (Honey, if you’re reading this, please stop at the end of the previous paragraph, okay? Love you.)
The long and the short of it is that despite my wife’s longstanding infirmity, I will stand over her, I mean BY her until the end. I confess, when we exchanged wedding vows, I had no idea that 30 years later they still would not have found a cure. Sadly, she has passed on her height defect to our younger adopted daughter, who has topped out at 4’11”.
Throughout this challenging lifelong ordeal, my wife has stood strong – not stood tall mind you, but strong. She has shown enormous courage. She never complains about being trapped in a small person’s body. And to be honest, in many ways, she lives a life much like normal people, which is hard given she’s married to a humor writer.
She has her good days and her bad days. But overall, my wife maintains an amazingly positive, can-do attitude in the face of her hopeless disorder. I for one believe she can do anything she puts her mind to… so long as the thing she puts her mind to is not more than 5 feet 6 inches off the floor.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time
©Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2017