When both our babies were born, my husband and I spent those first few blissful days gazing down at their tiny toes, delicate fingers and soft curls of hair. We marveled at their pink wrinkled perfection. We basked in the glow of feeling truly blessed. Our children were miracles. How astonishing that God somehow used us to create such miracles.
Wait a minute. God used us.
I remember that glorious day in the hospital with my newborn daughter, my husband holding me and our baby close. He leaned in, pointed at the rolls on her legs and lovingly whispered, “Oh, look honey! She’s got your thighs!” I laughed and whispered, “Yes, she does. And your freakishly large ears.” He chuckled, “Oh no. Those are definitely from your side of the family.” I snickered, “We both know your side of the family comes from a long line of gigantic ears dating way back into the 18th century.”
And so it began. Another generation born to parents who spend years discussing what physical traits to credit (blame) which family member. But what about our personality traits? Those quirky attributes that make up who we are as an individual? Some believe we enter this world blank slates; we’re simply chubby babbling bundles of goo-goo-ga-ga. We drool and slowly soak up the endless barrage of information all around us like sponges and this alone determines our personality.
Or could there be on our strands of DNA, right next to “bubble butt” and “laughs like a seal on steroids” traits like, “penchant for eating ice cream and watching an Ice Road Truckers marathon while only wearing underwear”? Nature or nurture? Maybe, like most things in life, it’s a little of both. And, quite possibly, like most things in life, I have no idea if this is true. But I’d like to blame someone.
My daughter has my little piggy nose, my full lips and my mousy brown hair. She also has an uncanny ability to argue endlessly when there’s no actual argument and can bring the entire mood of a room down with one icy glare. Naturally, she gets this from my husband’s side, probably his great-great-great grandmother.
My daughter is only four years old, yet I can see glimpses of other talents I can be proud of: she’s as sweet as pie, has a beautiful singing voice and can dance to a Katy Perry tune better than, well, Katy Perry. In terms of intelligence, she’s already light-years ahead of me. I asked her how she was feeling today and she said, “A bit melancholy, Mommy.” After I looked it up in the dictionary, I gave her a big hug.
My son is my husband’s “mini-me”. He has deep dimples, big soulful eyes with long lashes and a broad toothy grin. He is obsessed with cars, is always quick with a fart joke (or an actual fart) and can play video games until his hands go numb. He has a clever talent for leaving his wadded-up dirty laundry on the floor in the hopes I’ll trip over it and be forced to put it away in the hamper. He can down a juice box, belch loud enough for the windows to rattle, then nonchalantly toss the trash into the kitchen sink. Coincidence? Or is this my husband’s genetic material at work? Could my son have learned these behaviors (definitely the fart jokes) by simply watching his dad? Or was his born this way, baby?
The strange thing about our almost nine year old son, much like our daughter, is that he is exhibiting behaviors that neither of us can take credit for at all. His report card came back this year with a note from his teacher stating he was extremely gifted at math and she wanted to place him into an advanced class. After I read her note, I said, “Way to go, son! And, by the way, what does it mean when she said you earned a score of 145 out of the class average of 100? Is that good?” Next year, I plan on having him do my taxes.
My kids are still young, so we have many years ahead of watching them grow and waiting to see if they are born into destiny or if they can live better, more productive lives than we did. I have faith. My husband and I have made sure the bar isn’t very high.