Wednesday, November 9, 2011


When you get your family together, particularly if there are children younger than 3, invariably the conversation turns to "Who does x look like?" Of course we did that this weekend. My thoughts, however, turned to the larger issue of genetics and how I am alike and different from my family.

Here's the four of us with mom.
I resemble my mother. In fact, a couple of people at the open house remarked that they didn't know Sandy had a sister. "I'm her oldest daughter. She's an only child." There is no way to not feel stupid after you make a remark like that regardless of how much I said I wasn't offended. People remarked it was obvious we were related because we do look alike and, right now, I have the same gait that she does. Mom's had knee problems too although her's are because of age. She didn't fall. She's not clumsy.

My niece, Christina, remarked that she hopes my sister, my mom and I never live together because we sound alike on the phone. "I would never be able to tell the three of you apart and I just know you'd figure out a way to confuse me more because of that." Who? Us?

In conversation, my mom, sister and I all have cold feet, particularly in the winter. My sister wears socks to bed almost year 'round. I'm not that bad but I do have a heating pad on the bed where my feet are in an effort to be comfortable. With three of us having cold feet, it's got to be genetic. So we wonder if other female cousins have cold feet. "Hey," Sharyn said. "Let's conduct a poll on Facebook and see." I'm actually thinking that might be an interesting thing to start a conversation with my cousins. I can't remember if my daughter has cold feet in the winter or not.

Genetics really comes into play when you have the little ones around. Witness my niece Christina and her family. These three kids couldn't look more alike if you'd custom mixed their DNA. They all have similar temperaments, too.

Think back to your primary school years. I'll bet you can remember the kids who had siblings that didn't bear any resemblance to them; the brown haired blue-eyed girls with the blond haired brown-eyed brother. I remember the twins who could pass for each other and sometimes did because teachers had difficulty telling them apart and the boy-girl twins who didn't look anything alike. When Christina's kids smile, they are the spitting image of each other. It is really neat to see.

The youngest of the next generation is kind of hard to place. Harlee Kay was born in June. Right now, she doesn't quite have features we can put with either mom or dad. What she does have are 'chipmunk cheeks'. She has the sweet disposition of Christina's kids and the bright blue eyes of the Thompson side of the family. My sister is rather irritated that no one has produced brown-eyed kids. "You better be getting on that, right now," she said. Yes, Christina and Amber rolled their eyes. Mom has the brown eyes. Dad had the blue eyes as did his father and his father before him. Gotta hand down something in the family.

Part of the weekend was devoted to going through boxes mom has stored, deciding what we wanted and what really needs to be given away. We stumbled upon a photo of Christina at age 6. She held it up, showed it to her daughter and said, "Who is this?" Makayla's eyes grew wide and she said, "That's me!" Honestly, it could have been. The resemblance was uncanny.

When Carole was 3, I found a photo of my sister at that age. They could have been sisters, the resemblance was so strong.

In an age where DNA can find a lot of things and the sci-fi stories of designing your own kids don't seem that far off, the natural progression of traits through a family is a beautiful thing to see.

Beverage:  English Breakfast tea


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