Thursday, January 24, 2008


Dear Graceful and Elegant,

When you were born, your father and I, and all our relatives and friends, eagerly looked you over carefully to see who you resembled. All people do that when they meet babies, and it's not just to make sure they don't look like the mail carrier or the pool boy. DNA is a crap shoot and one never knows what great or horrible or crazy combinations will occur, so it's infinitely interesting to see whom babies resemble.

As you go through life, you will surely look at some body part or behavioral trait of yours and either wonder where it came from or blame the responsible parent. With any luck, you'll also thank us on occasion for the good stuff we gave you. And there's plenty of good stuff, so I am expecting some appreciation at some point.

In order to assign credit and blame properly, here is a partial list to get you started:

Graceful, you can thank me for your creamy British complexion. You can also thank or curse me for the fact that you will never ever have a tan and will only burn. (But I hope not, because I know for certain that I have impressed upon you the importance of SPF-45.) Daddy gets the thanks for your thick golden hair and blue eyes. Oddly, your thick black eyelashes come from my side of the family, but my sister got them, not me. Oh, and your perfectly arched eyebrows? All me, sweetheart. You'll thank me later on when you don't have to start waxing.

Elegant, you can thank me for your glorious brown hair and your green eyes. The wildness of said hair, however, can be pinned directly on your father. You've never seen his hair longer than a crewcut, but trust me that it's out of control when it's longer, and your crazy bedhead is directly attributable to him.

Girls, you can both thank I-don't-know-who for your height. As Daddy and I are the runts of our respective family litters, I really can't say which side contributed. All of Daddy's and my brothers range in the 5' 11" - 6'1" range, so apparently they got the tall genes. Lucky bastards. Current predictions are that you'll easily blow past my paltry 5'3". Enjoy your eventual height, damn it.

Graceful, you are a morning person and that comes from me. You're welcome.

Elegant, it's likely you'll never be a morning person. If this becomes a problem later in life, feel free to call your father at 7 a.m. and talk to him about it.

Graceful, your musical abilities come from me and I'm sorry. You will never be able to carry a tune. Accept this and develop another talent. Your repeated attempts to loudly sing opera are just not working.

Elegant, your energy levels come from me. Channel this gift well, as it will help you throughout life. You won't need caffeine, let me assure you. And actually, the thought of you with caffeine coursing through your veins scares the bejesus out of me.

Girls, any math and science skills you have come from your father. If one of you ends up as an astronaut, remember to thank your father from outer space. However, if one of you ends up an archaeologist or historian, that's all me and I'd appreciate a shout-out when you make some stupendous discovery in a far off land.

Girls, unfortunately, I passed on to both of you the legacy of migraines and I am truly deeply sorry. All the women in my family get them. One day, you'll be minding your own business when your head will start to feel odd. The pain will increase and eventually will intensify to the point that it feels as though your skull will explode and your eyeballs will shoot across the room and splat against the wall. You'll feel nauseous and will be sensitive to light, smells, and sound. When the time comes, I promise to get you the medical help you need, but there's no escaping this. I can only say that it's a good excuse to take a nap.

I think that's a good starter list for you. Feel free to keep this handy and to highlight all the parts where I deserve praise and admiration.



Traci Anne said...

Awwwwww :) This entry=so cute.

I have my dad's blue eyes and dark hair, my mom's super pale skin, my mom's face, a combination of my parents' figures, my mom's lactose-intolerance and thinning hair (thanks), and we have no idea where my non-morning-person-ness comes from, because I come from a family of early risers (my mom had to grow into it).

Lisa @ Take90West said...

I loved this!
My husband and I were just commenting last night how our kids seem to be a 50/50 split between the slobs vs. the neat freaks. Just like my husband and myself.
And I wish I could say I was the natural neat freak, but it's something I've had to grow into during the marriage.

Family Adventure said...

I love how different your two girls are...

Heidi :)

Grace Ellen said...

Um, I'm only 5'9. I wish I was 5-11 to 6-1.

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Grace Ellen: Either you've grown several inches since I saw you on Monday or my brother is using your login. Michael, if it is indeed you, are you really only 5'9"? Seriously, I thought you were taller than that. Maybe it's because Mom gave me all her short genes and everyone looks tall to me. Yeah, it's all Mom's fault.

Josie said...

I absolutely love this entry Jen. Love it.

The only thing I'm not sure of is where WB got his height - 6'2. I'm 5'7 and his Dad is 5'9 at best.

countrymouse said...

This was so funny! My daughter and I have discussed (to laughter and tears) where all her bad genetic quirks come from. We have settled on the phrase, "Sorry, honey, you are NOT adopted." Covers pretty much everything : )

Bunny Bunster said...

"your skull will explode and your eyeballs will shoot across the room and splat against the wall"

Yep, that's pretty much covers it.

Sucks, don't it?
I had one Wednesday. I had to go to the doc to get a shot and then slept the rest of the day/night. Still have a twinge of it yet.

I love this post and your writing style.

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Bunny: I feel your pain. Literally. When I wrote this yesterday, I had woken up with the same migraine I'd had the day before and I was decidedly unhappy about it.

Melissa said...

So sweet. You have lucky daughters.

smalltownmom said...

It's interesting what genetics pass on. My younger son has his dad's distinctive feet.