Nature v. Nurture

There have been a number of occasions when my sister Bec and I have been together someplace, and a total stranger has come up to us and said, “Oh my heavens, you must be sisters. You look like you could be twins.”

The first time that happened, we were at a store in Washington D.C., back in the days when Bec lived there. We were so taken aback that our mouths dropped open and I think we weren’t even able to respond to that woman.

We had never considered that we looked alike in the least little bit. She has dark hair and Dad’s beautiful olive-colored complexion. My coloring is more like my mother’s. Still, over the years since then, I have come to see what people are talking about…..

Bec Kris collage

It’s the chin, my friends. But what you can’t see in the photo is that we also walk the same, and have many of the same facial expressions. As we get older, the facial expression is unfortunately mostly confusion. Whatevah.

I spent much of Saturday (as I will likely spend many days this summer) at swim meets. Kaiya swam in three events at her swim meet and Maggie Faith, Dagny, and Addie all swam in various events at their swim club.

Anyway, as I was standing by the pool at Kaiya’s meet early Saturday morning, Court walked over to me and said, “Where’s Kaiya?” He knew she was with team members who were about to swim in the freestyle event, but couldn’t spot her. “I think that’s her over there with her legs crossed,” I told Court. He laughed and said he knew it was her because she’s the only girl in the world who crosses her legs that way.

I looked again carefully and couldn’t help but laugh. Sure enough, she had her legs crossed at her knee, and then again at her ankle. But what I immediately explained to Court is that Kaiya is not the only girl in the world who crosses her legs that way. In fact, that is exactly how I cross my legs, and always have.

kaiya nana legs crossed 6.2016 (2)

What’s more, that is exactly how my mother – Court’s Nana and Kaiya’s Great-Nana – always crossed her legs. I actually didn’t realize that until after she had passed away. My niece Maggie came up to me when I was sitting that way and told me that I reminded her of Nana because that is exactly how Nana used to sit. Here is proof…..

Dad Mom Leona Elmer

The newspaper blocks the proof a bit, so you will have to take my word for it. She is second from the right.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about how family traits can unexpectedly show up in the most unique ways. As I said at the beginning of this post, strangers have commented on the resemblance of Bec and me. And yet, my whole life, friends and relatives have said that I look just like my mother. And I don’t think people have ever said that to Bec. I wonder why. I suspect that it has less to do with the shape of our noses or the color of our eyes or the way we smile. I think it has a lot to do with mannerisms and personality. There must just be things that I do that remind people of my mother. That fact has always made me happy.

I love all of my grandkids. But I won’t lie; the fact that the ones with whom I share blood occasionally pop up with something that reminds me of, well, me, tickles the heck out of me.

So here’s to genetics, family traits, and that one dimple that Kaiya has that replicates mine.

kaiya nana dimples

4 thoughts on “Nature v. Nurture

  1. I love that Kaiya has some of your traits.
    Joyce has told me several times how much Maggie looks like me and it always makes me laugh. But some of my mannerisms, that I believe. I am convinced that Austin got his blue eyes from me only! 😊

    • Austin DID get his eyes from you; however, there is not one single thing about Maggie that is you. I’m sorry. That’s just a fact. It reminds me of the time that Bill brought Addie into the office when she was a baby and the receptionist told him she looks exactly like Kris.

  2. I think its awesome that you can trace knee crossing down your family tree – as well as other fine traits. 🙂 My 3 year old granddaugther gave out an exasperated “oh man!” to something she was not happy about the other day. I kinda chuckled and asked, “where did she learn that?” To which all my family turned to me and pointed! Geez!

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