When I was pregnant with each of my biological children, everyone speculated about whether they would have blond hair like mine, or flaming red, like my husband’s sister. Family members wondered if my babies would be magically blessed with the family “medical” gene like my three doctor brothers. Or maybe my upcoming offspring would be into math like my husband. An artist like my father. Maybe they’d have a temper like my brother’s. Uh oh.
Of course it’s ridiculous to load up an unborn baby with all this family baggage, but still we do it. Everyone has an opinion about who the baby looks like. Biological ties are a road map for wondering… but you can quickly steer off course into Annoying Auntsville and Crazy Cousintown with your wandering speculations.
This is the reason I proclaimed my oldest, adopted, daughter lucky. She didn’t have the burden of wearing “Grandma’s” nose or anyone else’s chin. Her beautiful brown eyes are hers, and hers alone. It’s a gift I’ve tried, but often failed to give my other kids, because you know… they do seem to look and act like other family members at time. Me even. And for my oldest, this gift of non-assumption is a gift she’d possibly exchange, if she could. Those brown eyes, so unique in our family of blues and greens, have always been a source of frustration for her.
It’s not that she doesn’t fit in. She is like me in so many ways that it’s like we signed up for a nature vs nurture study and nurture won.
But certain things about her stand out. Her unique spots on her leg where she lacks pigment. Her ridiculously long and full lashes. Her propensity for malapropisms and the magical way she can win people over. All those good and funny things that we cannot explain away by ascribing to family genes. And yes, of course, the occasional annoying traits that we cannot blame on a second cousin, either. At times it’s felt like she arrived here in a magic spaceship, fully and beautifully formed from her own original Eve clay.
And then, suddenly, she grew up and got pregnant.
In just a few months time my daughter will have her own mini me. We can’t look to any other bio relatives to predict what mini will look like, and whose personality traits she will have, we only have our daughter to go on. And the baby’s dad. But guess what?
He’s adopted too.
So when we speculate about how this baby will look and whether she will look like her mother or her father, we can only speculate about the two of them.
Their genetic family map starts with only them and a lot of love.
I never considered myself missing anything when I adopted, and in fact my bio kids often complain about not being the “chosen” one. My daughter and her boyfriend were both happily adopted and not especially angsty about the lack of biological relatives in their lives. Yet we all have to admit right now that there is something special and extra mysterious about this new beginning. My daughter is not just becoming a mother. She is about to meet her first biological relative, and for the first time, to see someone else starting back at her with her same beautiful brown eyes. Unless the baby gets its father’s gorgeous blue eyes. In that case, he will be the one having that first moment of genetic recognition.
They’ll have to fight for credit on the inevitable lush lashes. Both of them are ridiculously blessed with butterfly fans attached to their lids. Lucky baby.
I’m curious now too, to see what traits might be inherited, and what might surprise us. But I don’t want to get too pruney, while wading in the gene pool.
I can’t wait to meet my granddaughter and see who she looks like. But no matter what color her eyes are, I will try to give her the same space to be uniquely herself that I have given to all my kids. Even is she is as ridiculously addicted to the color pink as her mother, and likes to use up all my conditioner.
That will be all her. No need to blame anyone else!