The very Anyaness of her

I’ve always been fascinated by genetics. How traits are passed down from the mother and father, and even distant relatives. How eye color can skip generations. Things like that.

One of the running jokes in my family is my obsession with my nose. But seriously — I don’t know where my nose came from. It’s not quite like my dad’s, and not quite like my mom’s. It’s almost, but not entirely, an amalgamation of the two.

I can tell you where I got everything else. My hands, my chin, my teeth, my hair, my knees. The one hazel spot in my otherwise gray eyes (I had to go to a family reunion for that one…my grandmother’s sister, apparently, has the same eyes). But my nose is a mystery.

One thing I never gave much thought to was the passing down of personality traits. Sure, I share my mother’s love of books, my father’s love of rocks. I’m obsessed with clean, like my mom. A loner, like my dad. I figured these things came from observation and imitation. The parts of me that are not like either of them — my love of singing, my creativity, my love of making things from scratch — these things I just accepted. They never struck me as weird until I had a kid of my own, because I never thought you could inherit who you are as much as you do what you look like.

Anya has my eyes. Her father’s forehead. My thumbs. His feet. My thighs. But she also so obviously inherited portions of her personality. She’s more like her father than me — all hot temper and gregariousness and affection. They are athletic. They make friends wherever they go. And they love openly, freely. She’s fearless in ways I don’t think I ever was.

But she’s also got a flair for fashion that came from neither of us. A love of dancing. A need to perform and entertain. She’s way girlier than I could ever be. And she has an appreciation for 40s music that neither of us really understand.

From her first month of life, she was struggling to scoot off our laps. Then she was wiggle-worming out of her carseat. She crawled early. Walked early. Ran. Now it’s climbing. She needs to go, move, do, reach, with an urgency neither of us ever exhibited. She will run laps around the couch if she has to.

I’m in awe of these things because they prove that she is far greater than the sum of her parts. She is not simply Mumma + Daddy. She’s something more. And I am captivated by the differences, the innate Anyaness of her.

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