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“I’m not surprised your little Egg gets sunburnt so easily,” someone told me last week. “She has your light, soft skin.” Which, of course, is true.
Genetics can be cruel. My five-year-old daughter is an accumulation of the worst traits the lovely Snapdragon and I possess. She got my round, ugly nose instead of her mother’s beautiful facial features. She got her mother’s affection for drama and tantrums instead of my reasonable and balanced nature. And she got Snapdragon’s brains – I know it, because I still have mine.
“Your son is such a handsome young man,” people often say. I don’t like it, because I know he looks like his mother. People say Egg is a carbon copy of me. “Yeas, he’s good-looking,” I always answer. “But don’t you think Egg is pretty?”
They then look at my daughter’s wild, werewolf-style hair, her dirty bare feet and her toddler version of what looks like a little beer belly. “Hmmm… She’s certainly an unusual little girl,” they would say. “And pretty,” I’ll try again. “Unusual,” they would insist.
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I hate family gatherings. “You look just like your late father,” my cousins tend to comment as soon as I greet them. “Always have, but more so now that you are growing older.” I got used to that, despite my usual insistence that I’m my own person.
As a 16-year-old schoolboy, I often promised myself that I will never become anything like my father. I didn’t find his corny jokes funny. I criticised the way he dressed. And I didn’t think he was too bright.
The evening before I got married for the first time, at 26, my dad and I went out for a beer or two. We talked a lot. I suddenly realised he was one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. And a gentleman to boot. I was shocked by just how much that old man has learned in just 10 years.
Now people say I look just like him. I have never agreed, but when I put on a jersey one chilly morning this week, I noticed his hands coming out of the sleeves. Of course they were mine, but they looked just like his. Strong, honest hands with scars from hard work. You can try to run away from your genes, but you can’t hide.