Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Size Doesn't Matter

I wrote this story in my children's writing class for my neighbor's granddaughter who was frustrated with her petite size. Hope you enjoy!

Size Doesn’t Matter

In class at Wildewood Elementary, Cara laid on a large piece of drawing paper. Her friend, Mary, traced the outline of Cara’s body with a black marker.

Then it was Cara’s turn to trace Mary. Cara had to tape together two pieces of paper in order to outline all of Mary.

When all the kids were done, the teacher, Ms. Kopera, tacked everyone’s paper body to the wall so they could finish coloring them in.

“Bet I can guess whose short body that picture belongs to,” Billy said aloud, pointing and laughing. Then others laughed too.

“Billy, you apologize this instant. It’s not nice to tease,” scolded Ms. Kopera.

Embarrassed, Cara felt her face flush hot. She groaned, and ran for the girls’ bathroom. Cara was in one of the stalls crying when she heard Ms. Kopera.

“Cara, don’t cry. Believe me when I tell you being big isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

Cara sniffed. “Easy for you to say. You’re big.”

“Believe me. There will come a day when you’ll be happy to be petite.”

Petite, Cara scoffed. That is just a polite way to say small. But she knew Ms. Kopera was trying to make her feel better so she wiped her eyes and nose, and opened the stall door.

Saturday, Cara went shopping with her mother to get some new clothes. Cara was excited about the new clothes, loved hanging out with her mom, but she dreaded the effort it took to find clothes that fit.

In the dressing room trying on the eighth pair of jeans her mother had picked out, the first seven pair were all too long. Cara snapped the top snap, and then looked at herself in the mirror. The jeans had flowers embroidered on the bottom of the pant legs.

“I really like these jeans, Mom. They’re sooo cute.”

“Are you going to let me see them on you?” her mother asked.

Cara opened the dressing room door to show her mom. When she twirled around the pants slid down past her hips.

Cara moaned, turned to go back into the dressing room, and tripped over the jeans. She managed to get to her feet, pull the pants up, and lock herself in the dressing room before she started crying.

“Cara, honey, don’t be upset.”

Cara sniffled. “Everyone saw my bright pink underwear with the purple flowers.” Then she cried even harder.

“Honey, no one saw. They were all too busy doing their own thing. Besides, you were too fast.”

“You know,” said a voice unfamiliar to Cara, “she could try our children’s section. You might have better luck there.”

“See, someone did see.” Cara cried even harder.

“Um, thanks,” her mother told the strange lady.

“I really liked those pants,” Cara said from behind the closed door.

“Then we’ll get them and alter them in the waist and the length.”

Her mom always had to sew on her clothes before she could wear them.

“Come on, Cara, let’s get some ice cream.”

Lip quivering, Cara came out of the dressing room with her own clothes back on. “Trying to fatten me up so the jeans fit?”

Her mom laughed. “Nope, but ice cream always makes me feel better when I’m upset.”

A smile tugged at the corners of Cara’s lips. Her mom was the greatest.

Monday morning came and Cara arrived at school dressed in the new jeans her mom had altered, and other new clothes, including a special pair of shoes. She looked good and she felt good. She felt tall, not small, or petite.

“Hey, Cara! You look great. Something different?” asked Mary.

“New clothes,” Cara told her, smiling.

“You look different,” said Jane.

“New clothes.”

“Cara, did you get a haircut? It looks fantastic,” said Steve.

Cara smiled to herself. The whole day was like that. Cara felt like she was walking on cloud nine. All day everyone had said she looked good, like there was something different.

When the final bell rang indicating the end of the school day everyone ran for the buses.

That’s when Cara’s fabulous day ended. Running like everyone else to catch the bus home, Cara tripped over her shoes and fell. One of the shoes slipped off her foot and Billy picked it up.

“Whoa! Get a look at her shoes,” Billy yelled. “Cara’s wearing platforms.”

While Billy bent over in a hysterical fit of laughter, Cara snatched her shoe from his hand and took off.

Tears running down her cheeks, Cara ran home instead of taking the bus, unable to face her classmates and friends.

When Tuesday dawned, Cara dreaded going to school, afraid of her next humiliation. Would she never get big?

Knowing she had gym on Tuesday, Cara did not wear her special platform shoes, she wore regular, old sneakers.

At eleven, her chin lifted high, Cara prepared herself to be teased one more time as she walked to gym class.

“Today, class,” said Mrs. Perigny, “we’re going to move on to the next phase of gymnastics and teamwork.”

“What’re we going to do?” asked several of the students.

“We’re going to build a pyramid. I have the mats all set up, and elbow and kneepads for everyone to wear. Put them on and split up into two groups.”

As usual, Cara was chosen last for a team.

Mrs. Perigny told the class how to build a human pyramid, showed them how they had to get on their hands and knees, put themselves should-to-shoulder, and then the next level did the same until one person was at the top.

“Ouch!” Mary whined.

“You’re too heavy!” yelled Jimmy.

“You’re too big to be on top of me!” complained Billy.

All the kids grumbled. Then Mrs. Perigny spoke. “This is why it takes teamwork, and thinking,” said Mrs. Perigny, pointing a finger at her temple.

After a few more minutes of painful protests, the class finally got it together. Cara’s team watched the other team build their human pyramid. The last person started to climb up, got between the second and third level, and then the whole pyramid crashed to the floor. Everyone whined and blamed each other.

“Okay, team two, you’re turn,” said Mrs. Perigny.

“Come on guys, let’s show them how to do it,” said Billy.

Cara stepped forward. “I’ll go last.”


Throwing her fists on her hips, Cara leveled a tough stare at Billy. “Listen, Billy the Bully, I’m the smallest person here, and it makes sense that I got last. The lightest should go on top. Otherwise, we’ll end up squished under each other just like the other team.”

“Yeah,” exclaimed her teammates. “Cara’s right.”

“Fine,” Billy grumbled. “Let’s do this.”

Everyone got in place. The human pyramid was ready for its top. Cara started to climb. She got past the first level and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Once she made it to the second, the other team cheered.

“Go, Cara! Go, Cara!”

She went to the third, and her own pyramid teammates quietly cheered Cara on. “You can do it, Cara. Keep going.”

On the fourth level, the pyramid started to wobble, but held steady.

“Come on, Cara! You can do it! Only one more level!” everyone shouted.

She made it to the top, and sat on Mary’s and Sarah’s shoulders and hips.

“Yea!” Cara’s classmates cheered. “Way to go!”

When the pyramid finally collapsed, Billy walked up to Cara. Ready for his teasing, Cara tilted her chin up.

“Good job, Cara. I guess there are times where it pays to be small.” Billy offered her a hand to shake.

“Just like there are times when it pays to be big.” Cara took Billy’s offered hand and shook. “But I prefer the term, petite, not small.”

Billy laughed, hugged her, and said, “Yes, ma’am. Petite.”

Cara walked away smiling, knowing that from this day on, she would not feel bad about her size. Big or small, um, petite, Cara realized size doesn’t matter

~ I can totally relate to Cara's situation. When I was kid none of the clothes were small enough to fit me. Thankfully or not, I don't have that issue today. :-)


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