Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I know, I know, I should be working.  But I wanted to get something down before I totally forgot and the moment passed me by.
I'm writing a list of things in my notebook for a project I'm working on.  It involves a lot of numbers and a few words and grouping them according to unit.  It suddenly struck me as I was writing a { and a label of how many times I watched my dad write the exact same symbol in almost the exact same way and with his sure hand label something he was showing me.
I can't count the number of projects and assignments and other "things" he's helped me with over the years, especially the school years, where I've watched him write a neat list and use a bracket to group parts of the list together and label them.  I don't know why this particular entry in my notebook so suddenly and powerfully reminded me of Dad, but it did.  I guess for a change my letters and the way I wrote my "2" look more like his steady, sure, dare I say engineer's, hand makes them.  (Sorry Dad, you may protest that you're a physicist stuck in an engineer's role, but compared to the engineers I know and work with, you're an engineer.)

Of course, this makes me think of other quarks I share with my parents and my brother.  It reminds me how in college the first time I saw Ben in about 8 years how I couldn't get over how much like my brother he is in mannerisms and those little things that make Jon "Jon".  The sarcastic, yet honest, joy in a thank you for a silly gift.  (The appreciation of the gift in the first place.)  The head tilt and even word choices and voice that sounded so much like my brother in so many ways.

I share a laugh with my mother.  I share a devious sense of word play with my father.  Jon and I can have entire conversations with a glance.  I fondly remember my dad protesting on more than one occasion "you were supposed to inherit all of my good traits!".  Of course, Mom or I would usually answer with "what good traits?", which in turn would be returned with "not that one!".

Now I have to wonder what traits of my own, good, bad or indifferent, that I will see, already see, in my son.  And those of my dear husband as well.  I'm not just talking about his physical traits (he looks much more like Gak than like me most days, but you can still see my features in there too).  I'm not talking about the fact that he's a lefty like me.  I'm talking about the way his mind will be ordered or not.  I'm talking about the little motions or sayings or postures that will speak volumes above and beyond normal conversation.  I'm talking about preferences and all those little quarks that will make him uniquely "Boo", not some other little blonde-haired, blue-eyed little boy.  I'm talking about those traits that will tie him permanently and irrevocably to our family, his unique blend of families.

Sometimes nature is greater than nurture.  (Like those invisible ties where only part of a genetic code is shared between Jon, Ben and I that screamed at me loud and clear on that cold November day in New York.)  Sometimes it is nurture (the making of lists) that brings out the nature.  Sometime it is routines and habits that get passed down from generation to generation just "because that's the way mom/dad did/does it."

So, I will head back to my lists and enjoy the little quarks that make me who I am and tie me to my dad.  I will look for them and smile at them and appreciate them for the gifts they are.

I bid you peace and may your own quarks make you a wonderfully unique person.

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