Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Our daughter was lamenting the other day what a raw deal she and her brother got in the DNA department. Both children have their father’s flat feet and bad ankles. Both have my tendency for anxiety. Both have their father’s attention deficits.

I reminded her that we owe our lives to flat feet, and that there are flat foots on my side of the family, too. My maternal grandfather immigrated to the US in about 1908. In the spring of 1914, he went back to his village in Northern Germany to attend his oldest brother’s wedding. He was promptly drafted into the German army. His very flat feet made it hard for him to march as smartly as the officers wanted him to, and he was given a medical discharge after a few weeks. He hightailed it to Bremerhaven and sailed back to the US just before the First World War broke out. Daughter wasn’t impressed. Her bad feet and ankles are quite problematic for her lately, but she is taking measures to resolve the issues with physical therapy.

I, on the other hand, inherited my father’s perfect little Dutch feet, mechanical aptitude, and musical ability. I also inherited his temper and lack of patience. I like to think I inherited a penchant for cooking from a great grandmother who was a professional cook in Hamburg in the early 1900’s.

We can learn new things on our own. We can manage our tempers. Who is to say we haven’t learned a lot of problematic behaviors and attitudes, not inherited them? You can’t argue the heritability of flat feet, though.

What good or not so good things do you think you inherited in your DNA? Who do you look like?

46 thoughts on “Thanks, Mom and Dad!”

  1. The leading cause of death in the US is heart disease, cancer, accidents and Alzheimer’s, in roughly that order. People in my family die of heart disease almost exclusively, although Alzheimer’s has claimed a few. What my family members need not worry about is cancer.

    That is no small matter. My mother died of heart disease at 80 in spite of smoking cigarettes all her adult life. My dad was a three-pack-a-day man virtually all his adult life, dying finally of heart failure.

    Some things in life scare me: climate change, Trump and heart failure, for example. I don’t worry about cancer at all. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Heart disease is what gets us, too, although my dad and his sister both died of colon cancer. That, at least, can be mitigated with colonoscopies.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I think most people are also inclined to overestimate the strength of the link between smoking and lung cancer. Most smokers, in fact 85 percent or more, never develop lung cancer. So if you had a parent that smoked and never developed lung cancer, it’s not necessarily because they have cancer-proof genes, it may be just because they came in on the larger side of the odds.

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  2. I always comment that 50% of the Bible is how to do life right with lessons on doing it correctly and 50% is how to do live wrong with lessons on how not to do it and that if my children miss out on the observations of what I’m doing wrong or missing some of my best stuff
    My kids are easily tanned fair skinned easy tan fair skinned easy tan fair in that order fair skinned from the irish side easy tan from the native american side i assume
    my dad loved to sing in the shower, doing errands, driving down the road, i picked that up and passed it along. mom sang pretty i picked that up
    luckily cooking gene did not get passed on
    mom was/is a terrible cook
    dad did bacon eggs and pancakes that’s it
    i and one of my sons fiddle with the skillets
    my dads nervous stomach and my moms rolling with the punches make a nice set of bookends. ulcers and tension would be a bitch without the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel
    i inherited buck teeth and sticky spit from my parents and tooth issues to go along
    bad back and good brain are parts of the deal too

    take what you get and go do something with it

    Liked by 6 people

  3. I have my dad’s feet and ankles, my mom’s hands. I don’t look much like either of them, but I think I look like my paternal grandma in her old age. Both my folks waited till way late for their hair to go gray or white, as I am just now finding little white hairs…
    I seem to have inherited my mom’s ability to play music by ear and sing (usually) on key, and my dad’s interest and ability to listen to people. Mom says her mom loved to dance..

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have noticed that people’s features do that during different developmental phases—resemble one person then morph into another. It is a miraculous phenomenon, isn’t it?

      Liked by 3 people

    2. When I was a teenager, some of our neighbors commented on seeing me walk down the street next to dad, that there was no doubt that I was his daughter. Apparently our gait was the same.

      Likewise, I’ve noticed that husband’s hand movements, the way he holds his fingers, are exactly the same as his father and two brothers.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I have my Dad’s family’s small feet with high arches that tend to descend into plantar fasciitis (ouch) and that bad right knee. I also got Dad’s allergies, along with his ability to talk about anything and everything, curiosity, and restlessness. I am (thankfully) far more like his side than my Mom’s side, allthough I am much like my maternal grandmother in the ability to manage money, invest well, and having entrepreneurship. (I do wish someone had pointed out to me earlier in my career that those traits do not fit well in bureaucracies—that would have made some things easier!). My dad was well-known for his high intelligence which was not at all a good fit in school. That tended to show up in mischievous creativity which is unwelcome in the classroom. Same for me. However, many of his agrarian ancestors were combinations of teachers, writers, farmers, and carpenters on the frontier. There was even a famous writer and naturalist, Gene Stratton Porter. My sister is also a fine writer.

    Thanks Mom and Dad.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Jacque, I haven’t read any of Gene Stratton Porter’s books for years, but I loved them. One reservation though, is the incredible amount of work “The Harvester” would do in the course of a day, on a three hundred acre spread. Without even a John Deere to help him.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Stratton is my last name. Gene Stratton Porter’s Grandfather, Daniel Stratton, is our common ancestor and the maker of the wagon box in my living room that serves as our coffee table. There is a large nature preserve in Northern Indiana that bears her name. I have not visited there, but I would like to now that travel is returning.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Our daughter in law was adopted from India, and knows nothing about her ancestors, other than that they are Bengal. She was given the middle name if Meenu by the adoption workers, which means “She who has beautiful eyes shaped like dolphins”. She has very beautiful eyes, and our grandson has them, too. He also inherited my father’s building and mechanical skills. Last weekend I put together bookshelves and other shelving for them, and our grandson got so excited, wanting to use the tools I was using and exploring the tool box.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. The most dramatic line of continuity in my family is storytelling. My dad was a storyteller. My daughter and I are storytellers, and it seems my grandson is too. But this is not genetically transmitted. It is the consequence of people telling and listening to stories.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I look like Dad when he was young. He looked to have a wisdom he didn’t have. But he had talent, he could do anything. I can do things if I’m interested. If it was invented after 1960,I’m not. He wasn’t like that. I have his work ethic, fighting with Mum’s lazy streak. Though she had the same battle, I believe. I like to think Dad had Aspergers Syndrome, and that most of us have inherited it, it explains a lot. My sister’s son was diagnosed with it several years ago. I hope I’m not the sexual predator Dad was, and don’t share his blinkered attitude to life.
    And I have his artistry, but it comes out in a different way.
    I don’t inherit Mum’s colossal ballet talent, which I really only know of by hearsay. But am intensely proud of it. And I believe I inherited Mum’s wish to be a good person. I don’t think I learned it. I don’t always succeed, you don’t know the half of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’d like to blame Dad for my fat belly but I must take responsibility for that. The baldness comes from Mom’s side of the family. I embrace it.
    October 14 is National Be Bald And Free Day.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I’ve inherited my dad’s small feet, small hands, and small ears. Although I grew to be a couple of inches taller than he, I maxed out at 5’9-1/2″, probably due to better nutrition as a child, generally, I’m physically a chip off the old block. I also inherited his freckles and strawberry blonde hair, though he lost all of his in his early twenties, and mine has now turned mousy grey. As to the rest of it, I don’t know how much is nature vs nurture. Dad was stubborn as all hell, probably had to be to survive, and that’s a trait I have in spades as well.

    My love of music, singing, and dancing come from mom and her side of the family, but I don’t know of how much of that is genetic as opposed to cultural and exposure.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Morning –
    I got dads bad feet too. And passed them on to daughter. The bunions skipped me and went right from Dad to his granddaughter. Whew!

    I’m a good mix. I got dads ability to fix stuff and mom’s attitude and temperament. (Although I think when I was younger I had Dad’s attitude. That means I got mad faster and yelled more.)

    We are pleased our son got both of our sarcasm genes… So far, daughter is as bull headed, stubborn, and opinionated as her father. Not sure who’s fault that is.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Husband and his two brothers look very much alike, and very much like their father, except for one very obvious feature: they have their mother’s lips.

    Their mother died when husband, who is the youngest, was sixteen, so I never met her. His father, on the other hand, lived to be ninety, so I’m well acquainted with his behavioral patterns, and I find it just a tad disconcerting to watch husband become a little more like his dad every day. When I address him as Torkild, he knows he’s gone too far.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I suppose I look a little like my dad, but I really can’t tell. I just look like me. I look nothing like my mom.
    As far as inherited traits, I can’t think of any I could identify. My parents and I were never very much alike.
    One grandfather died when I was four and the other, who lived out of state, when I was ten. One grandmother lived in Milwaukee and I saw her about once a year. The other grandmother (my father’s mother) was nothing like me.

    I just can’t conceive of myself as a replica of anyone else.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I understand that sentiment, Bill, I don’t think of myself as a replica of anyone else either. In my case, as you already know, I have no idea who my father’s ancestors on his father side are because I don’t know who his biological father is. Although I do have this information about the parents of my mother, I have never met her father who abandoned the family when my mother was a teen. More importantly, I have never thought of genetics as something that would determine who I am or who I would become. In part, I’m sure, that’s because I’m endowed with normal intelligence, good mental and physical health, have been provided a reasonably good education, and have always been aware that my own personal choices would have consequences. From time to time, that has been a painful lesson. I don’t attribute any misfortune of mine to genetics. It’s been almost entirely attributable to personal choices I’ve made along the way. BUT, I know this isn’t the case for everyone.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I look quite a bit like my mother. I don’t really resemble either of my parents in any of the ways that really count, though – I missed that train somewhere along the line. My genes went rogue.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Either that or you decided to take personal responsibility for how your life turned out by making choices that were more likely to yield the results you wanted?

      Liked by 1 person

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