Sunday, January 23, 2011

the eyes have it

This is a story about not getting what you want. And why that's a good thing sometimes.

1986. Legwarmers were in fashion. Hairspray was all the rage. Kids used to breakdance on cardboard. There was a thing called a "boombox".

It was a dark time.

I lost the district spelling bee. The word was exon. It's not spelled with two X's. Please see definition here. Please note: Spell check does NOT even recognize that as a word. Also if I had asked them to use it in a sentence I would have known they didn't mean the oil corporation. I'm bitter about it. But one good thing did come out of that humbling loss. The boy that would grow into a man and become my husband some 24 years later won... the bee, and my heart.

It was these that got me:

The eyes. The breathtaking eyes.

I said to my friend, "Friend, did you see that guy with the blue eyes? Who is he? He is SOOOOO cute." (This is a paraphrase. I was 11, my memory isn't that good.)

I was intrigued by the Gulf of Mexico Pacific ocean blue. Probably because I'd been looking in a mirror at these:

Brown. Or some shade of it.

(This was taken at our wedding by the way. Please note: Wrinkles. Many.)

Fast forward...

24 years later we got married.

And here we are. Blue. Brown.

There is nothing wrong with brown eyes. Not. A. Thing. I got mine from my dad.

This is him:

And me. I'm the pregnant one.

I always wanted blue though. Which is probably why I picked a blue eyed man. Genetics be damned.

Now, I don't know how much you know about Mendel. But in the event you don't have time to re-learn eight grade biology, let me just tell you the odds of me having a blue eyed baby aren't great. Given that my grandmothers both have blue eyes but both my parents have brown. Not too good at all.

I got pregnant. We went to see the midwife and she asked me, "Did you put in your order for those blue eyes?"

Yes. Yes I did thank you very much.

This wasn't the first or last time the topic would come up during the pregnancy. Though the Man never said anything but he hoped she looked just like me, the overwhelming public opinion was that she ought to get her dad's eyes. And when Ella was born the first question I'd usually get (after the person heard she was born in the kitchen and weighed 10 and a half pounds and after they had fully recovered from the cardiac arrest I'd just given them with that news) was, "Are her eyes blue like her dad's?"

The short answer. No.

They started out that way, but I had my doubts from the beginning. In fact every baby I've given birth to has STARTED that way. I've got a hazel (my eldest). A brown that is just like mine (my middle, who looks just like me too). And a color that is hard to describe. A kind of two toned blue and brown (that's little Owen, who isn't little at all anymore). And there's Ella.

They aren't brown. Yet. But they are going to be. I'm like 99.97% sure. (Also I'm pretty sure she has her dad's eyebrows.)

The day I figured this out was the day I looked at her eyes and realized that they weren't getting any more blue. And I was sad, I'll admit. I said sullenly to the Man, "Man, the baby is going to have brown eyes." And I apologized to the baby for being genetically dominant. "Baby, I'm sorry your mommy made it nearly impossible for you to get your dad's awesome eyes."

I felt bad for being sullen about it.

The Man said to me, "Don't you apologize to her for getting your beautiful brown eyes."

Oh. Yeah. I forgot. Not everyone thinks blue is better than brown.

Also he loves my ears. The ears I was endlessly tormented for those as a kid. Whaddya know? I married someone who thinks they are cute. Adorable even.


In a way I'm grateful that Ella's eyes are going to probably end up brown. When I look at her and I see my own eyes looking back at me, it makes it a little easier to love the brown. And the ears. The fact is, odds are, she's got those too.

Lucky kid.

And I hope she's lucky (and smart) enough to end up with a Man who loves her brown eyes too.


Lizzie said...

Who won that spelling bee? I was at one and I lost on the word attempt. I was so focused on the empt, I forgot one of the t's. Never forgot it again.

Lizzie said...

oh duh, he did. Garsh!

borboleta2010 said...

Loved that post! But let me give you some hope here :) I have brown/green eyes and dark hair. Hubs has blue eyes and blonde hair. Thinking dark was dominant, I was certain my first born would be dark - like me. Nope. Not the case. My beautiful boy, MK, has blonde hair and the most beautiful, big blue eye you ever saw. To say I was flabbergasted when he popped out is an understatement. A big one.
Brown won the second time around. My younger boy has brown eyes ("like you, mommy") and light brown hair........
As for characters...... no, won´t start on that!!

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