Sunday, March 27, 2011

Do You See Who I See?

One of the most entertaining joys of being Mama to the Reds is playing the "Who Does He Look Like?" game. You know the one - where you study family photos and try to find your own nose?

The second I laid eyes on my tiny, fire-haired Matthew, I thought, "Wow! The McLennan genes are strong - he looks JUST like my father-in-law!"

Five years later, he still does, until  he turns a certain way and then all I see in my cousin, Aaron. Or me. Most people think he looks like Mark, which he does...except for when he doesn't.

Luke was the spitting image of me as a baby, but his dimpled smile is one he shares with Mark's sister. These days, I don't know who he most resembles although eerily, something about him reminds me of my brother. Most people think he looks like me, which he doesn't...except for when he does.

The Reds, looking like each other.

 Both boys will need glasses (You're welcome, children. Mama loves you.) and possibly braces ('re welcome.) but their hair, when long, is curly like Mark's and they have also inherited his impossibly long eyelashes, so all is not lost.

For someone who has spent their entire life looking like Uncle Bob or Great Aunt Suzy, the "Who-Does-He-Look-Like?" game is an eye roll-inducing one. But for an adopted person, this is an endlessly fascinating way to pass time - my Mum and I LOVE to gaze upon my children, seeing who we can see. She is the only person in the world who GETS how exciting this game is and it makes me love her all the more.

Baby Bellymonster
I didn't look like anyone until 17, when I met my birth mother and maternal bio-family for the first time. After that, it seemed as though I looked like everybody. Frankly, I was amazed that I'd never suspected, since one of my cousins attended my high school and we could have been twins. Weirdly, having spent years wishing I knew whose eyes I shared or who loved words like I do, I suddenly longed to go back to the days of having how I look/act/sing/dance belong soley to me.

I don't know that I will ever tire of watching my children grow into themselves, but will admit that I am a wee bit obsessed with who ELSE's face they may grow into, too. I know, intellectually, that the Reds are entirely their own person(s) and it's not fair of me to attribute quirks of personality to them, simply because they resemble a family member who shares the same ones.

I do it anyway.

I delight in seeing the past and whispers of the future in their features. Though it drives my husband crazy, and will likely be fodder for the therapy the boys will one day seek ("My mother has never, EVER allowed me to be my own person. She kept waiting for me to lose my marbles like everyone else and she finally got her wish, here I am!"), I am comforted by this:

 If the boys become amazing chefs with a teensy pot-smoking problem, at least I will recognize them!

Play the "Which-Red-is-He" game: Matthew or Luke?


  1. I love this. Well written. And this is incredibly insightful (and can be applied to many things, I think): "Weirdly, having spent years wishing I knew whose eyes I shared or who loved words like I do, I suddenly longed to go back to the days of having how I look/act/sing/dance belong solely to me."


  2. Well, thanks, Leanne! It was a confusing time, that. I had spent so many years being special and unique, it was a hard thump back to Earth, knowing that mine was but the latest in a long line of gap-toothed smiles. I mean, I LIKE my smile, but it was disconcerting to have to suddenly SHARE it.