Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's In The Genes

We don't get to choose the traits we inherit. Maybe this is for the best. Who knows what we would do to ourselves if we had a say in the way we look and act? For me, there are characteristics I've inherited that I wish I hadn't and at least as many if not more that I didn't inherit but wish I had. In the end, I am a composite of my parents and grandparents and probably their parents before them. I've been told I look just like my mom as well as "you can tell you're your father's daughter". Truthfully, I think I do carry a pretty even blend of traits from both my mom and dad.

Blue eyes run in my family. Both my mom and dad had them but they weren't the same shade. Mom's were a grayish blue while dad's were almost sky blue. My oldest brother got dad's eye color and my other brother and I got mom's eye color. The shape of my eyes is more like my dad's though. I would say my blue eyes are my favorite of the physical traits I inherited.

I don't know where my dad got his height from. At 6'2", he towered over both his parents and his 10 siblings. He was generous in sharing it though. My other brother got dad's height (6'3") as did I (5'10"). And being the same sort of generous soul as my dad, my brother and I both passed his height on to our sons (6'5" and 6'1" and still growing ;-) There are aspects of being tall (for a girl) that I've enjoyed but I've always envied girls who could buy pants off the rack.

My dad also gave me his smile, his cheekbones and his jaw. And while I inherited my mom's hair color, the texture and laziness (read that as hangs straight and won't hold a curl) came from my dad. He always wore his hair short but it didn't have so much as a hint of a wave in it. I've often wished for natural curls but the truth is, straight hair makes for a great wash-and-go style (I don't have to spend a lot of time primping ;-)

My legs and feet look just like my mom's. My nose and my hands were given to me by my mom and my maternal grandmother. My petite 5'1" grandmother's wedding band fits me perfectly.

My mom and grandmother gave me a love of dancing which I in turn passed on to my daughter. We, all of us, start tapping our toes when the music begins. I also inherited a knack for knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and sewing from my mom and grandma.

I've mentioned before that I inherited an anxiety disorder from my dad and paternal grandfather. A tendency to be a mean drunk also ran in my dad's family, among the men.

One thing that's always puzzled me (and my parents and siblings) is where I got my love of reading and learning from. My parents and siblings were all strictly read-for-information types. They would read the newspaper regularly to get the news and they would read recipes or car repair manuals as needed. Same for my brothers. But as far as I know neither of my parents ever read a novel except possibly what was required reading in their K-12 education. My brothers aren't read-for-recreation types either. And no one in the family but me ever took classes for recreation. They only took classes if they were required as a means to an end. I don't believe that can be explained by the environment I was raised in. I definitely think there is a huge genetic component to it. But I sure don't know who I inherited that love for reading and learning from.

What traits have you inherited?