Genetics get funny when your kid’s ancestors hail from as diverse locations as China, Korea, Western Europe and the native lands of the Cherokee. We get a lot of looks when we go out as an extended family.
I get it. From a distance it might be difficult to tell that Will and his NaiNai are related by blood–except for the obvious love for each other that glows in both of their faces whenever they meet.
But to those of us up close, well, sometimes Will seems almost more Chinese than anyone else in the family– in his mannerisms, his food preferences and even his language. He hasn’t heard the language spoken regularly since we left China when he was 8 months old, but Will still seems to have a far easier time learning and pronouncing words in Mandarin than in English.
Through the viewfinder on my camera, Will and his NaiNai look far more alike than I could have ever imagined on the day we brought Will home from the hospital. They have the same nose, same cheek bones, same wide smile. From the bridge of Will’s nose on down, he is nearly the spitting image of his NaiNai and his father.
And even if he didn’t have those features, the older Will gets, the less it really seems to matter anyways. Will has a paternal grandmother, a beautiful NaiNai, who never seems to run out of energy for one more game of tag and who would rather take her grandson everywhere with her than go anywhere without him. She loves exploring and dosas as much as or even more than her daughter-in-law and will always be far better at picking out and arranging flowers than I am.
And as long as I’m tangentially on the subject of Will’s Chinese heritage, I have one story from a few weeks ago that I have to record here for posterity’s sake.
The other day, as we looked at a huge sheet full of animal stickers together, Will picked out first a rabbit sticker and then, very deliberately, a snake sticker. Neither are his favorite animal and, after selecting those two stickers, he abruptly walked away from the table totally disinterested in the rest of the page. It was so uncanny that I nearly called my (slightly, just slightly) superstitious Cantonese mother-in-law to tell her about it right then and there.
Will was born in the Year of the Rabbit, which he might have known; his sibling will be born in the Year of the Snake, which he certainly did not.