When I was pregnant with my daughter—my firstborn—I had steeled myself for a number of less-than-desirable scenarios, such as possible health issues, or a colicky baby, or maybe a labor and delivery that would last even longer than a Kevin Costner film. Although I got lucky on all of those fronts, I was hit with another startling issue—something for which, in nine months of daydreaming about the kid, I had never braced myself. Something that didn't hit me as a possibility until my final weeks of pregnancy and I e-mailed the baby's 3D ultrasound pictures to my mom.
"She looks exactly like Carl," Mom responded with a trace of disappointment.
Deep down, I knew she was right. The baby clearly had my husband's nose and lips and chubby cheeks. So I handled her observation as any mature mother-to-be would.
"You think? I don't see it," I growled.
Hey, I was nine months pregnant. Of course there was growling involved.
I didn't allow myself to think about it for the remainder of my pregnancy. After all, the baby was squished in there. Who knew what she would look like once she unfolded herself out here in the real world? However, after my daughter was born, I heard it from everyone: the OB; the nurses; the pediatrician; my entire Facebook community; the coffee shop barista; the homeless person walking by on the street. Boy, does she look like her father! And, boy, was I unprepared for how defensive I would feel every time somebody would note it.
Lest you think I am a terrible mother, I should note that I thought my daughter was—and is—the most beautiful little thing on the entire planet. Nay, in the universe. I took more than ten thousand pictures of that beautiful child in the first year alone. I would stare at her in awe for hours on end, until she would finally give me a look that would say, This is getting awkward, Mom. But I could not shake the disappointment I felt that I did not see myself reflected in any way physically, that the presence of my genes were not obvious in our daughter—except for her huge feet, that is. Woo-hoo! So glad that legacy lives on. Not. (Sorry, kid.)
That's one of the reasons we have kids, right? To have a legacy? So I think it is only natural to feel a little bummed when that legacy looks nothing like you.
To add insult to injury, my husband would try to throw me a bone every once in a while: "I think she has your ears!" (followed by "...They're starting to stick out like yours!" Hmpf.) Or, "I think she has your eyes. I really do!" And, by golly, I convinced myself she did have my eyes.
At 2 years old, her big eyes have now turned dark. Mine are blue-green. Hmpf.
Not that any of this nonsense makes the slightest difference in our relationship. In fact, despite her strong resemblance to her father, our daughter is a shameless Mama's Girl. And I look forward to the day when I can hold our sweet girl close and whisper reassuringly in her ear:
"Don't worry. Big feet make your legs look thinner."