Friday, April 4, 2008


He-red-i-ty (huh-red-i-tee) - noun.

1. the transmission of genetic characters from parents to offspring: it is dependent upon the segregation and recombination of genes during meiosis and fertilization and results in the genesis of a new individual similar to others of its kind but exhibiting certain variations resulting from the particular mix of genes and their interactions with the environment.
2. the genetic characters so transmitted.

Lately, I've been getting quite a lot of, "You look like your mom." Even though I sometimes catch myself in the mirror and think the same thing, this is an especially foreign concept to me. It's true, I've always had her eyes, a dark brown heritage that--save for a brief stint of craving blue eyes in elementary school--I have always been fiercely proud of. As a child, however, that is where the similarities ended. I was my father. We were colored with the same crayon and my hair, though muted, always carried the thread of red he gave me. Our baby pictures, though separated by a couple of decades, suggest that, perhaps, the children in them are fraternal twins. So it's strange to find myself beginning to look like my mother. I have a difficult time seeing it, I'm still the same hue as my dad--and my hair is looking more and more like his every day. And then there is the little matter of my son.

At birth I wasn't entirely sure who he looked like. But it didn't take long for me to start noticing the similarities between my own baby pictures and the cherub I held in my arms. Family members often said that it was like looking at me, two and a half decades later. That's not to say that he doesn't have features that come from my husband. The fact that he has short legs, detached earlobes, and Troy's upper lip come to mind. And for all I know whenever my husband's family members see Garrett, they think he is a carbon copy of Troy. I've only seen a handful of baby pictures of my husband so I really can't say for certain. Our coloring is the same, so if Garrett had popped out any other shade, there might have been confusion. He's got my eyes, large and dramatic. They've really yet to pick a color though. Once in awhile they appear light brown, as if Troy's blue eyes dimmed my brown ones. On occasion they are a dark, steely blue, as though my dark ones clouded my husband's. But usually they are green--like my dad's. He has my nose. That is to say he has the nose I had as a toddler, which looks very much like the nose my father had as a little guy.

My grandparents sent me a picture of my dad when he was toddling. They thought it looked like Garrett. I agreed. I scanned the photo and cropped it, so it's a little difficult to get the full effect but you can see for yourselves. I did the same thing with a picture of myself and followed them both by a picture of Garrett. Maybe if we were all grainy and looking in the same direction it would be more obvious.

When you look closely at the actual picture of my dad, it's as though Garrett is walking around in clothing from the early sixties. My dad's face is much longer--my son's round face must come from my husband's side of the family because no one in my family had it. But their hair is the same color, their noses are almost identical, and their cheeks flush in the exact same spot. It's hard for me to think about my dad being like my son. I've always known him as strong, mature, put together. It's difficult to think that there were days when he was the sweetest little angel and days when he wouldn't stop climbing my grandma and she maybe thought about drop kicking him halfway across the kitchen. I wonder if he was obsessed with cars and trucks in the same way and if he followed my grandpa around the backyard "helping" with yard work. More than anything, though, it is so hard to imagine him being small. And it reminds me that one day my son will have a wife and a career and leg hair.

We have many of the same genes, my father, myself and my son. I am proud of the way that God has crafted us. But more importantly, as I look at each of those three pictures, I realize how desperately I want to become half the person that the first little boy became. And I know that if my son grew to look like my dad on the inside, I would count him a success. I do not look in the mirror and see my father reflected back nearly as much as I used to, but as I look through my mother's eyes, I hope to love my son in the way I was loved. I hope to pass down a rich heritage, where genetic roots only swim on the surface.


  1. It must have been the first Sunday your parents were here. You were sitting next to your mother and I remember thinking that you look just alike.


  2. On the rare occasion that I see a picture of us that looks a like it kind of takes me by surprise. I don't see it like other people see it, but, I guess they can't all be wrong. Garrett sure does look like that picture of dad.

  3. dang it girl, knock it off, now I'm crying! too sweet

  4. As Troys sister, I think he looks like you, not him! Although, he would be lucky either way.