People ask me who Emma looks like. My husband or me. Most people say me and I joke that is only because she’s a girl. Or because I have a round nose that looks like the ubiquitous baby nose. Then someone usually comments that babies change so much that you never can tell at this stage.
My mother is tall and willowy, she has delicate angular features, auburn hair, and hazel eyes. I am short, built like a farm hand, I have round features, curly blonde hair, and dark blue eyes.
I don’t have any sisters. To be honest I look like my Dad. Now this is disconcerting for a young lady. Having your main physical counterpart be a man is a little odd and not at all comforting to one’s femininity. As I’ve grown my family has noticed that I look like my Dad’s sister. I don’t know my Aunt Claudia that well, only because she has lived in Colorado for all my life and I have lived in California. In the year that I did live in Colorado I did get to know her better. We kind of checked each other out. Same height (down to the quarter inch), similar build, same hair color, same capable hands, same shell shaped finger nails. The same hands that my brothers and father have, consequently making me feel like I have man hands. So it’s a comfort to see them on another woman. Emma was born with long thin fingers that had nails with a delicate taper. This was witnessed with some sadness, I desperately want my baby girl to look like me. Even down to my unfortunate un-ladylike hands. Early on while I was nursing her she fell asleep at the breast and her hand fell open, I saw that the lines in her little unused baby hands mimicked my own. My heart stopped for just a moment. Here in my changeable little child was concrete proof that she is my own and bears my likeness.
Why is it that I so desperately want my little girl to look so much like me? Is it legacy? Or is it simply having a visible link to another woman. I definitely felt more okay with myself after realizing that I look like my Aunt. As if seeing my features in another woman validates me. Like nature felt them good enough to repeat. I almost wonder if it saddens my mother that I don’t look like her.
As Emma has fattened up her hands have filled out and begun to look more and more like my own. Her nails have widened and have taken my characteristic clam-shell shape. Her big blue eyes have settled to a pretty ink blue color, not like my changeable green blue or her Daddy’s denim blue. Her eyes have her father’s shape, big, wide, and alert. Her skin looks mine, pale and fair, precious on a baby and unfortunate in the sun. Who knows what DNA has taken over, what recessive or dominant genes have receded or dominated. She will change throughout her life and become her own precious person. Her own special blend of all mine and Scott’s generations. Sometimes I still selfishly hope she looks like me, mostly I hope she feels beautiful. And often when I get a sweet priceless baby smile and giggle I just don’t care at all.