Meet Willie Vanderhoof
For those of you who have not met me – my name is Willie Vanderhoof. And for those of you who have never seen me, I am a moose. To be fair, if we were in the same room together, I would be hard to miss. Blending in with the crowd is not a thing when you are a moose. Having an enormous set of antlers is the fashion equivalent of wearing a sombrero with a large feather plume to a casual Sunday brunch. My mom and dad would describe me as shy, soft-spoken an overall introvert; introverts don’t typically wear conversation-starting headwear. When I walk to school in the morning with my pals, the neighbors of Honeysuckle Hollow will spot my head over their tall shrubs and call out loudly, “Hi Willie!!!” I have always been the tallest in my class and when we get our school yearly photo taken – my antlers stretch out above everyone else’s head. One year I even tried slouching but even with poor posture, I was still 2 inches taller than the other students!
But tall antlers are not without their small perks. Sometimes birds get confused between the branches and my head and will land on me. I listen to them chirp their sweet morning songs and try to be a friend in these moments. Other times, when people can’t reach high things on shelves – I will use my antlers as a tool to get that lost soup can at the back of the cupboard or a box of pasta that is just out of reach. My New Year’s resolution is to appreciate what makes me different and perhaps not just appreciate it but celebrate it. Sometimes it isn’t easy feeling like you stand out from the pack. However, I’ve learned that it’s the unique things that make us who we are – and can be a light to others to embrace themselves right back.