Having my daughter, Amy Royce live so far away, is something that will take a lot of getting used to. I am used to seeing her every day, and now that is not possible. I’m sure that I can count on one hand the number of times I have missed being with her on her birthday in her 39 years. In fact, I if I had to guess, it would be maybe two times. Even then, I saw her within a day or so of her birthday. We have always been a close family, and so this degree of distance between us seems very foreign to me.
Of course, my dear Amy, you have been on my mind a great degree lately, and when I think of you, I find my mind flooded with visions of you at every stage of your life. You were my teeny little girl who always felt the need to defend yourself from the other little kids who thought you were a baby doll to be played with. Wow, did they have a shock when they tried to pick you up. You could make it very clear with your ability to scream at the top of your lungs, that carrying you around, would not be tolerated. When you where still very small, with your small amount of blond hair, and your great big eyes, we called you Tweety Bird, because you reminded us so much of the bird in the cartoon. And you were Strawberry Shortcake, because at that time, the currently back in the popular zone toy, first came out, and the term fit you so very well. Of course to your dad, you will always be Squirt. You were such a sweet little girl, and yet you had a stubborn streak that came out when you didn’t get your way or you felt like someone didn’t give you the proper degree of respect in any given situation. Then your little face would set in anger and determination to win, and pretty much everyone knew to give you some space. You had a funny way of pronouncing some of your words, and somehow, my little Wyoming Girl, sounded just like a Texan…which we always found pretty funny, unless you were trying to explain that you had “dirt” in your eye by saying the you had “dot” in your eye. Boy you could sure get irritated whenever you were misunderstood.
As you grew up, at least in every way but in height, you learned to have a sense of humor about things, especially when it came to reaching things in high places. I remember the time you bought a t-shirt at school that was marked in such a way as to explain to a blond, the proper way to get dressed, because of the blond jokes that have persisted over the years. I found myself shocked, because as a blond, who was almost always not a blond in the intellectual sense of the word, you had decided to embrace that joke. You used to get so angry about being called a blond, so I couldn’t believe that you would buy such a shirt. I guess that you decided that if you couldn’t beat ’em, you might as well join ’em. Because of your small stature, no one could ever really believe your age either. Upon receiving your first traffic ticket, the officer first questioned not if you had you license, but rather if you were old enough to have one at all. And I often wondered if you would need a booster chair to see over the steering wheel in your first car, a Camaro, because back when they were a pretty big car. In fact, I went so far as to give you one that I came across, only to find that you did not agree with my logic concerning this matter. Go figure!!
While you have always seemed younger than your years in looks and size, you have proven yourself to be a wise and very talented girl when it comes to most things in your life. You are a very capable insurance agent, and one that I have been not only proud and happy to work with, but upon your move, an agent that I have been proud to send to your new agency, because they have received a great asset to their company. Your ability to learn the nuances of insurance is amazing. Sadly, our loss is their gain, and we miss you every day…especially your mom. Today in Amy’s birthday. Happy birthday Amy!! Have a great day!! We love you very much!! And ET, don’t forget to call home often. We really need that.
From the time she was a little girl, I knew that my daughter, Amy Schulenberg Royce could take care of herself. She was always a tiny little girl, and finally grew to the great height of 4′ 11″…or so I thought. Her husband kept telling her that she was only 4’10” and when she got tired of arguing with him she had him measure her, and sure enough she is 4’10”. Nevertheless, height isn’t everything. My little girl has always been feisty, and she let any poor soul who messed with her know that she was in charge. Don’t get me wrong here, because Amy is very much the peacemaker, and she really dislikes confrontation, but that doesn’t mean that she will let people push her around. It simply means that when she is done putting up with something…she is done, and you would do well to get out of the way.
I think that in many ways, that feisty determination has been something that has served her well. Many people think that stubbornness is a bad thing, but being a stubborn person myself, I know the value of stubbornness. A stubborn person really hates failure. They will set their sights on something, and against all odds, they will achieve that goal. That is exactly the kind of person Amy is. She is a never give up type of person, just like her mom. We are stubborn, but it is stubborn in a good way. Stubborn in a determined way.
Amy is a successful insurance agent now, and it has been my pleasure to work with her for the past several years. It’s not always easy to work with your child, but with Amy it has been easy. She has a great work ethic and would never put me in a position of needing to take her aside and chew her out for her work habits. Yes, we are both stubborn and determined, but we also work well together.
Amy’s life is changing now, with her children growing up. Amy has found a new passion…travel. She and her family went on their first cruise, to the Caribbean, and had so much fun that she can’t wait to go on another one. At this point, she and her husband, Travis are planning a cruise through the Panama Canal. They are so excited about it, and I am very excited for them. Today is Amy’s birthday. Amy, I am so proud of the person you have become. Happy birthday Amy!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
My niece, Machelle was born almost 7 months after my youngest daughter, Amy, and a year and 5 months after my oldest daughter, Corrie. Nevertheless, due to the height of Machelle’s dad, at 6′ 6″ tall, it was doubtful that she would be shorter than my girls for very long. By the time the first stair step pictures were taken, Machelle had passed Amy up permanently. Amy would be the shortest of the grandchildren in the end.
Machelle and Corrie would go back and forth for a number of years, but by the time Corrie was 12, she was done growing, and Machelle would pass her up permanently too. Through the years, it was hard to tell which of the girls was the oldest, because people naturally expect the tallest child to be the oldest child. As the years have gone by only Eric, the youngest grandchild passed all the girls up, Barry is the same height as Machelle, and JD is shorter than she is. As to the girls, it’s pretty mixed up. Machelle finally lost out in the race to be the tallest, but it was to her own little sister, Susan. Corrie is taller than Amy, at 5’0″ to Amy’s 4’11”. Of course, now, it doesn’t really matter who is the tallest anyway.
Machelle may have lost the height race, but that doesn’t mean that she has lost out as a person. I love the person Machelle has turned into. She is sweet and loving, and very helpful. I can count on her to help out with anything I ask, whenever she is here. My only regret is that she lives in Powell, because I don’t get to see her and her family as much as I would like. All the years of competing to be the tallest are long past now, as are the little girls toys and games…and sometimes I wish they hadn’t gone by so fast. The kids were all so cute standing up straight and tall, hoping to have maybe…just maybe, passed the child who was taller than they were the last year. It was all so cute, and it was over too soon, and now it is Machelle’s birthday again, but the one thing we no longer ask…who’s the oldest, because really…you don’t ask a woman her age, you know. Happy birthday Machelle!! Have a great day!!
My nephew, Ryan takes after his dad, my brother-in-law, Chris in many ways. They are both very tall at about 6’4″. They also tend to use that towering height to their advantage when they are doing their favorite pass time…picking on those who are smaller than they are…which is pretty much everyone, so don’t think you are safe in this matter, because no one is safe!! Ryan has a great sense of humor, and loves to pretend that he didn’t do it, even though no one buys into that story! If Ryan is behind you or even in the general vicinity, you already know who did it…unless his dad is in the area too.
Ryan wasn’t always so big, of course. He had to start somewhere, and while he had little chance of being short, and he was a tall kids at every stage of his development, he still had to go through childhood like all kids did. He had some great humor role models during those years. His Grandpa Spencer was a teaser from way back, and Ryan, being the observant child that he was, quickly learned the lessons taught by his grandpas and dad. He couldn’t wait until he was big enough to fully participate in the tease-a-thons that were always standard procedure in our family. I’m quite sure he actually started his practice on his mom, my sister, Allyn and sisters, Jessi, Lindsay, and Kellie, who by the way can hold their own in any tease-a-thon, so I’m sure they all honed their skills on each other to perfect this skill.
Ryan was always a good boy…teasing aside, and has grown into a wonderful man, husband, dad, son, nephew and grandson to our entire family. These days he spends his time picking on his wife, Chelsea, and teaching his kids Ethan and Aurora the ropes, because if Ryan has anything to say about it, his kids will be as good at teasing as he is. It is a big job to pass on the time-honored traditions of a family, and like my dad, Ryan’s grandpa, it can be a very tiring job too, for adult and child, so of course, you need to make sure you get lots of sleep…which is something else Ryan is quite good at, but then again, he had a great teacher!! Today is Ryan’s 26th birthday, so if you happen to be around him at all, give a little bit back…teasing that is, because it takes a bunch of us to ever really get one over on Ryan!! Happy birthday Ryan!!
My daughter, Amy was born 6 months before her cousin, Machelle. The girls were alike in many ways, and could often be found playing in their own little world. Machelle’s family moved to Thermopolis when she was very young, and the girls didn’t get to see each other as much. We tried to get the girls together as much as we could…when Debbie and Lynn were in town, or sometimes we would take turns taking the four kids for a couple of weeks in the summer. Oh, Amy and Machelle had their little tiffs, but they always were, and still are good friends. When I look at those pictures of the girls back then, it makes me smile to see the cute little expressions they had. I’m pretty sure they were sharing some little secret.
Nevertheless, as little girls, they fought over toys, and had a few bouts of hitting each other…like all kids do. I suppose it was a good thing that they didn’t live too close to each other, or who knows what might have happened…especially since Amy, while quite small in stature, was afraid of nothing. And, even though Machelle quickly passed Amy up in height, sometimes having a small person going after you in a big way can be really disconcerting, and Amy had that effect on kids who didn’t know what to expect. She could move so fast that they had no idea what she would do next. Thankfully those little events didn’t happen very often. As the years went on, they grew out of the fighting stage of life, of course. Their friendship continued to grow. They didn’t get to see each other much still, because Machelle’s family had moved to Powell.
When Amy was planning her wedding, of course, Machelle was included in the wedding party. Amy couldn’t imagine her wedding day without Corrie, her sister, Carina, her best friend since kindergarden, and Machelle and Jenny, her two special cousins in the wedding party. The girls all looked just beautiful, and the wedding day was as special as Amy had dreamed it would be. It’s amazing that two cousins who have lived in different towns for most of their lives, can be so close, but they were. Both of the girls have grown into beautiful, women, wives and mothers. When I look at these old pictures, it’s hard to believe that they are grown up already…much less with almost grown children of their own.
I have known my brother-in-law since he was six years old. He was such a cute little boy, and he absolutely adored his big brother. Bob and Ron were the only boys in the family, and I guess to a degree that meant sticking together…especially with 4 sisters in the family. Ron is 14 years younger than Bob, so anything that Bob did was cool as far as Ron was concerned, right from the very start. Maybe that is why Ron thought I was ok too, when I came along. Of course, I don’t suppose it hurt anything that he got to go along on dates…or at least the ice cream ones.
When Bob and I got married, Ron was seven. He was excited about it, because by then, he and I had become good friends. In fact, I became a goal of sorts to Ron. Now, I know that sounds odd, but the goal was to get as tall as I was. For those of you who know me…well, you know that tall is not a word that could be used to describe me. At 5’2″ tall, it doesn’t take long for a boy to pass me in height. Nevertheless, that was Ron’s big goal.
Every time we went out to my in-law’s house, Ron wanted to measure to see if he was as tall as I was yet. I can’t tell you how many times we measured over the years, but I can tell you that it was a lot. I always humored him, telling him that he was getting up there. And he always loved it when the measurement showed that he had gained some height. He just knew that he would get there the next time.
As the years went by, Ron began to realize that this goal of his was going to take some time. It was at that time that he began to measure less, but still he didn’t quit. The measurements were more like every month or so. And as the months went by, I could see the writing on the wall. Very soon Ron’s goal would be met, and he would find out very quickly that 5’2″ wasn’t something to write home about.
Finally, that big day arrived. Ron measured, and found out that he was indeed as tall as me. I will never forget the look on his face. When he measured that day, and Ron finally discovered that he was as tall as I was, his face lit up with excitement. He had achieved a new level of manhood. Then, he looked at the rest of the adults in the room…most of whom were still taller than he was, and his expression changed. His face took on a look of disappointed surprise…it finally hit him. After all those long years of waiting and working to be as tall as I was really meant nothing at all, because it finally became very clear to Ron that 5’2″ is…well, short!!
It has been a long standing tradition to have a New Years Eve Party at my mother’s house because her birthday is on New Years Day. Another long standing tradition was the annual checking of all the grandchildren’s heights. Each child got to get their mark, and when we were all done, everyone looked to see how much everyone had grown…or in some cases in our family, not grown. After a while, the adults wanted in too, so we all got measured. My brother-in-law, Chris was and is the reigning King of Height in our family, but for a while there we weren’t so sure. It appeared that his son Ryan might have a chance to pass Chris up, but in the end, that did not happen.
We have a wide range of heights in our family…and I’m talking about the adults. From little Siara, who at nearly 18 years of age, comes screaming in at 4’9″, to Chris who stands 6’4″. And our family isn’t small in numbers either with 57 current members, so that door got pretty crowded after a while, and the prior years weren’t erased, so everyone could see how far they had come in a year.
Some of us just knew that we would be neither a contender for the tallest or the shortest member, but would fall somewhere in the middle. We have had several of the little girls vying for the shortest girl. Chantel, Amy, Siara, Christina, and Shai all come in under 5′. We have several girls in the barely 5′ range, those being, Cheryl, Corrie, Liz, and Jenny. The rest of us fall somewhere in between 5’2″ and 5’11” until you get to some of the guys. Some of them fall in the 6′ and above range, with Ryan at 6’3″ and his dad, Chris at 6’4″.
We all looked at the door off and on, because it was a novelty item. It held so many years of growth for so many people. It isn’t often that you can look back at a glance…at least not for most of us. Most parents keep track of how tall their kids are for a while, but after a time, they forget, and skip a year here and there, until finally they give up all together. Our tradition was remembered, because one or more of the kids always brought it up on New Years Eve.
When children are little they normally follow their age, or close to it as to the range of heights, but in some cases where you have some very tall parents and some very short parents, that isn’t always the case. In our family, we have some tall people, such as Lynn, my brother-in-law, who is 6’6″ and then you have Debbie, my sister-in-law, and me, who are both 5’2″. So, this makes for a wide variety of heights in our kids.
Corrie, my daughter and the first born grandchild, is my tallest child at a whopping 5’1″, even shorter than I am, but not unusual considering that much of my family is short and some are shorter than I am. Then comes my second daughter Amy, the second born grandchild and the one who gets to have the distinction of being the runt of the litter as the family goes, comes in at 4’11”, or midget as her husband Travis likes to call her. Machelle, my niece and Debbie and Lynn’s oldest daughter and the third born grandchild, and her sister Susan, who is the youngest of this group, come in at 5’10” and 5’10 1/2″ respectively. And Barry, fell right in line with Machelle and Susan at 5’10”, just a little shorter than Susan, but with the right shoes, who would ever know. There are two other grandchildren, JD and Eric, who were born a while after the first photo was taken, and weren’t in the second for some reason. So I guess that we are really just a wide spread in there, and not anything like stairsteps…since my girls are just little, and the rest of the kids are just tall.
There is an age distinction that will always come into play where kids and grandkids are concerned, but it becomes very hard to tell as kids get older, because you just never know how things will play out in the height arena as they grow up. It is always interesting to watch them try to stand up tall…even on tip toe to remain the tallest for as long as possible, but in some cases, that doesn’t hold out for very long. Amy was fairly quickly relegated to the basement in the height arena, and initially Machelle raced out front, even though they are only 6 months apart in age. Corrie got pushed down to second to the bottom in the height race early on too, and there they have both remained from that time forward. So other than the years when JD and Eric were little, Corrie and Amy have always been the runts. The real fight for height has been with the rest of the kids. You guys should really just learn to get along…Hahahaha!!!