I’ve been hearing a lot lately how much my son, Royce, looks like me. I completely disagree – I think he has my smile, but otherwise looks like a miniature version of my very handsome husband. In my irrational pregnant brain reactions – because sometimes I find these remarks sweet, and other times frustrating – I figured now is as good of a time as any to investigate this desire we have to find similarities in looks within family members.
My sister Tracie and I, in our opinions, do not look a thing alike. She looks like our mom, and I look more like my dad, although as I’ve gotten older I’m an interesting mix of all. Tracie has the family nose, and therefore looks like a lot of my mother’s family. I have some stranger’s nose and look like no one – not even Royce, who has his dad’s nose.
Tracie and I hear often how much we look alike – and we are just perplexed. Do you see it? Something we are alike in is voice – we sound almost identical in speaking voice, although I’m generally louder and Tracie has sharper comments. We also share in many interests and personality traits, and these have made me feel very connected to her as a sister. Looks, however, have always been very dissimilar.
It used to bother me that I didn’t look like anyone in our family – I mean I do vaguely, but nothing like other family members similarities. I know for a fact my parents are mine and I’m not adopted, which made it even more weird to look so dissimilar from my sibling and cousins. As I’ve grown up, I have become accustomed to it, and even find myself sharing tons of similarities with adopted members of my family – and it occurs to me that looks are the least important of family connections.
So the question is, why do we all place so much importance on who the baby looks like? I recently heard myself saying a friend’s daughter was a mirror image of her aunt – which is ok as her aunt is beautiful – but I thought afterwards, if she looked like nobody, what would be the problem?
I am guessing looks used to be the way to prove paternity – and if that was the case, my sister would have been an awfully suspect child – she looked just like mom’s family from the beginning, and her traits from dad’s side came out later – would my mom have been questioned if my dad had suspicions? Lucky for them if there were, we now have paternity tests.
My mom has said from the beginning, Royce looks like Royce every time we attribute a look to someone specific. This promotes calmness in me – as I think it gives him individuality and a sense that no matter how he looks, he’s ours.
For those of us who don’t look much like family, whether by chance of genetics or because of adoption, we must remember that even though looking like ancestors is a fun way to remember our history, being part of a family is more than genetics, it’s about the love we share with each other, and how we show our love honors God, as we are gifts to one another from God. Those bonds of love mean so much more than DNA, and I hope I can convey that message to all those in my family – past, present and future!
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.