Monday Mayhem – The deep end of the gene pool

I’ve just returned from spending the weekend with my family. Always an adventure, given then we number in the dozens. This weekend, my eldest niece was married.

As with most weddings, there were just as many misty moments as there were happy ones. Due to health and mobility issues, my mom was unable to attend the ceremony (held in an outdoor chapel in the woods), but we were able to arrange for her to attend the reception for a few hours.

Those few precious moments were every bit as good for us as they were for us.

There were many funny conversations over the course of the weekend, but the one that stuck with me was a brief exchange I had with my sister and eldest brother.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged in our family that I was created in my father’s image. In saying that, I mean not only God, but Bob. You see, I have everything: his eyes, his nose, his chin…even his sinus trouble and prematurely graying hair. Thankfully, my ears are a bit more under control.


But as I grow older, more people tell me I’m starting to resemble my mother:


Then, as my siblings were helping my niece find some old pictures to display at the ceremony and reception, they came across a picture of my maternal grandparents that made them question the strength of my father’s influence. They seem to think I look like my mother’s mother, which would stand to reason. Her name was Margaret, too.

I knew exactly which picture they meant because I already had a copy of it. My grandfather gave it to me when I was in my early twenties. I guess he saw the resemblance way back when, despite the eyes, nose, mouth and chin my daddy was to proud to claim.

Grady and Jack

But I noticed something as I was helping to settle my mother back at her care facility Saturday evening. Despite decades of claiming that my father only used her as the vessel to carry his mini-me, I believe I might have inherited my mother’s hands.

They are small and squarish with blunt-tipped fingers. Hands that survived thousands of dishes, loads of laundry, and cooking cuts and burns, but still manage to look graceful. She used them to wipe our tears and administer mid-Sunday-mass spit baths. The same hands always anxious to cradle grand(and great-grand)babies and equally willing to coo and coddle grand-dogs, cats, rabbits, and other cuddly creatures.

We both have crooked pinkie finger and the same map of faint blue veins in the backs. I think I only noticed because I realized that mine are becoming more pronounced. And I’m okay with that. Just you wait, in about forty-one more years, my hands are going to be absolutely beautiful. Soft, and smooth, if a bit thin-skinned, but just as strong as hers are when she gives mine that little squeeze and tells me not to worry so much, she’s just fine.

So, perfect Roman aquiline nose (my father’s claim) notwithstanding, I think my dip in the gene pool leaves me in pretty good stead.

How about you? Do you take after one parent, or are you a mix? Do you have a next generation (or two) doppelganger?

6 Replies to “Monday Mayhem – The deep end of the gene pool”

  1. Oh, Mags. *sniffles* This was just beautiful. I’m so, so glad your mom was able to sneak away to the reception for a few hours. It’s a memory you’ll all cherish.

    I can’t get over how much you look like your grandmother in that picture. When my mom was here to spend a girls’ week with me, she told me one day that I am a carbon copy of her mother. Not just in appearance, but in personality. I know I share many of her features, but when I look in the mirror, I see my mother’s eyes, a combination of my grandparents’ noses, my dad’s mouth and ears, and my great grandmother’s hair. I’m not sure yet whose hands I have. Maybe that will reveal itself as I get older. 🙂

    Love this post and love that you had such a wonderful, memorable weekend. *hugs*

  2. When I first saw that picture of your grandmother, ( on the link), before reading the article, I actually for a second thought it was you in an old time-y photo. The resemblance is uncanny. I’m always told I look like my mom, and I’m sure Megan and I have heard it hundreds of times how she looks like me.

  3. You do look very much like your grandmother. I think some resemblances we see are because of the comparison we’re making at any given time. I’ve had people tell me that my younger sister, Susan and I look exactly alike, others that we look nothing alike. I think I look more like my father, but I have my mom’s wavy hair and her Irish determination. More often than not I see my mom’s hand coming out of my sleeve. It’s not a bad thing. Enjoy every moment with your family. What I wouldn’t give to be able to compare and contrast with Susan just one more day.

  4. Beautiful sentiments, beautifully expressed. Lovely, both the thoughts and the writing. I agree, at first glance I thought it was you in the vintage picture.

    I look exactly like my mother in almost every way except my hands and arms. I got my huge hands and knuckle-dragging arms from my father. Thanks, Dad! My own daughter doesn’t physically resemble me very much, but inside her head — unfortunately for her, that’s a carbon copy. We are on our own wavelength there.

    For a photography project, Megan once overlaid pictures of my mother, herself, and me at 18. The result was sort of unsettling. You could look at it and see yourself, but yet it wasn’t you. A very odd feeling.

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