This weekend I took the opportunity to visit my parents P & E in lovely Northeast Ohio. I mean no sarcasm with that adjective. Here in the corner of the country where the great plains blend into the western reserve of Pennsylvania, the hills are rolling, the air is fresh, and Lake Erie provides a pleasant background up until the point that it starts spitting out “Lake-Effect” snow for weeks on end.
I’ve always said – with only a touch of exaggeration – that I managed to score the worst gene combination possible stemming from my exceptional parents. Lest you roll your eyes or offer to play a few bars on the world’s smallest violin, let’s examine the evidence.
Hair: Mom’s is fine and stick-thin. Brown. Dad’s is lush and wavy. Blonde (until it was gray). I got Mom’s hair.
Eyes: Mom didn’t need any corrective lenses until she was 42. Dad and I both got fitted for glasses around age 7.
Cholesterol: Mom’s is off-the-charts low. Dad’s is elevated despite a healthy diet and exercise. Mine is on the way up. I’d better enjoy that Pamplemousse now because one can’t consume anything grapefruit when taking Lipitor.
Musical Ability: Dad can literally take any instrument and play any song by ear. Piano, clarinet, trumpet. Mom needs sheet music. So do I.
Artistic Ability: Dad can draw and calligraph. I once drew a banjo while playing Pictionary and my team guessed “tiger.”
Skin: Mom is olive toned and tans easily. Dad is fair (and has flaky dry skin to boot). I’m the latter.
Leg hair: A bizarre one, but worthy of mention. Neither of my grandmothers ever had to shave their legs – they just didn’t have anything grow there. I have to shave enough for the three of us combined.
Overall Demeanor: Generally speaking, Mom is a bit more laidback while Dad does the worrying (sometimes unnecessarily). Anyone who has spent any time with me at all knows my anxiety is one of my most endearing traits.
Oh! But at least I’m not allergic to cilantro like Dad is. Check one. Mmmm … burrito.
I’m also not as good a cook as my Mom, as good a writer as my Dad, or nearly as industrious as either. But I suppose there are worse problems.
The so-called American dream is for one’s kids to go farther in life than oneself. But having parents that continue to inspire you into your 30s (not to mention having parents that remain healthy, happy, and productive past their own technical retirement ages) is a pretty sweet deal as well.
Just wish I had thick blonde hair or still had several years to go with perfect vision.