This week, my sister scanned a bunch of old photos and shared them with our family online. It has been so fun to relive the childhood memories made with my cousins when we were little kids.
Playing ring-around-the-rosy in my grandparents’ front yard.
Piling on an uncle’s back for a “pony ride.”
Posing in the kitchen on Halloween.
Cramming 10 kids together onto a couch at one family gathering or another.
A favorite aunt waiting at the bus stop at the end of a long day in first grade.
The clothing and hairstyles make us laugh. And groan a little.
But the memories are priceless.
And it is uncanny how strong our genes are.
We look at pictures from our childhood and easily see our kids there.
My sister’s kids look just like she did when she was little.
My cousins’ kids look just like they did when they were little.
I love it.
And it feels a little like a jab in the heart.
Usually I just stay silent during these conversations.
Sometimes I pipe up with a sarcastic comment or two.
My daughter doesn’t share my genes.
I have no doubt that she belongs in our family.
But moments like this are hard.
I scan her face and long to see my own reflected there.
It’s something that you don’t think about when you choose adoption.
At least I didn’t.
I don’t believe I could love this little person any more if she grew inside my body.
And still it is a giant exhale when one cousin comments that my daughter often makes the smug expression that I wear in nearly every childhood photo.
She doesn’t have my eyes. Or my hair.
But she has my mannerisms. My appreciation for sarcasm (help us!). My bleeding heart.
These things matter too.
And so, though my photography skills leave much to be desired, I snap one hundred pictures of this beautiful girl with her cousins.
I will save them all.
One day, perhaps, the clothing and hairstyles will make them laugh. And even groan a little.
But I hope, if my daughter chooses someday to become a mom, that she will look at these photos and see her babies there.
Babies grown in her body or her heart.
Babies who share her passion for life and her dogged determination to achieve her goals.
Now that would be an inheritance.