Seeing what we want to see

During our visit to the dentist’s office last Friday, I heard something that I hear very rarely from people.

The staff at the office (who know the rest of my family, and my parents and Auntie still go to this office), took a good look at Baby Boy and said, “He looks just like his mommy!”

Actually, what we hear the most often is that Baby Boy looks like his Daddy. It was very strange to hear the opposing point of view. The funny thing is, he looks like his Daddy does right now, not like his Daddy as a baby. But most everyone says that the Munchkin looks like me. Yet everyone says that they look like… each other.

Growing up as a child of an interracial marriage, I got used to not “looking” like either parent. I either had people telling me that I had some very strong Japanese features, or that they couldn’t believe that I was half-Japanese. I don’t look like my dad, but neither do I strongly resemble my blue-eyed, blond mother. In fact, the only people I do look like are my siblings.

Now, there are some differences among the four of us. My brother definitely gives you the impression that he resembles our dad more, because his features are masculine and most of his expressions are Dad’s. My middle sister has more Japanese features than the rest of us, and led more than one person to ask my mother if she was adopted (my dad wasn’t around), but she’s the only one who has my mother’s nose. Auntie is my own personal Mini-Me, but even she doesn’t look exactly like me anymore – I wore glasses when I was her age, and her eyes are more like our brother’s than mine. But you put all four of us together, and we look like siblings. Add our parents to the picture and the lightbulb goes on for the casual observer.

The Munchkin and Baby Boy look very alike. She is fair, and he is darker, but they look startlingly similar. I pulled out the Munchkin’s 9 month old portrait yesterday and started laughing. It’s a lighter version of Baby Boy.

So who do the kids look like? I think that people see what they want to see. If they want to look at the kids’ almond-shaped eyes and see me, then they see that. If they focus on the shapes of their faces, they see the Webmaster. If they look at their chins, they see my mother. If they look at their noses, they see my father. When they see the kids smile, they see the Webmaster.

When the Munchkin was six months old, her great-grandmother turned 90. There was a huge party at my in-laws’ house, with a lot of extended family, many who the Webmaster and I hadn’t seen since we’d gotten married. One of the Webmaster’s great-uncles took one look at the Munchkin, who I was holding, and pronounced, “Well, that child’s a Hale!” (His side of the family.) Five minutes later, his wife (who hadn’t heard what he had said) looked at the baby Munchkin, patted me on the arm, and said, “Well, there’s no doubt that this little girl’s the image of her mommy.”

I rest my case.

2 Responses to “Seeing what we want to see”

  1. linda
    May 2nd, 2006 10:54

    Deanna, Congratulations on your nomination!
    And, as to whom the little ones look like, they are Beautiful as ‘just themselves’!
    In our family, the two older of us don’t really look anything like the two younger girls! Alan and I are darker haired (or were before the gray hit!) and Beverly and Faith are both blondes (with gray, now!) But, when we are all together, we really look alike except that I am much taller than the others! That is what happens with two different Mom’s and one Dad!
    Amazing what familial genes can do!
    You are all Beautiful family and folk!

  2. DozeyMagz
    May 3rd, 2006 05:37

    Sounds like they have the best from you both! I bet they are real little sweeties!