Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Family Legacies

People leave all kinds of things to their descendants. Money, possessions, genes, quirky behaviors. We never know which of our phobias (should we have any) will become imbedded in the bodies of our offspring. We hope for the best, pray the worst will pass through without sticking, and wonder what magical mixture of genes from Mom, Dad, and previous generations will mesh into a unique human being.

We – hub and I - somehow raised two great kids. I am sure luck played a part in it, but some credit must go to the parents (us!).

There are those smart, thoughtful, deep-thinking individuals who write letters detailing what they hope their legacy will be, what they hope their kids learned from them, how they hope their kids will act, what kind of human beings they want them to be. They discuss positive attributes they hope the kids display throughout life, like kindness, a sense of humor, respect for others, hard work, maybe a love of animals…the list goes on.

Rarely do they mention the not-so-positive traits passed down.

Like greed or stinginess or dishonesty or self-centeredness.

Or laziness. defines laziness as:
1. averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent.
2. causing idleness or indolence:
3. slow-moving; sluggish:

Not very positive, uplifting, or desirous.

Unfortunately human beings do not possess only positive traits. All of us are a mixture of the good and the not-so-good.

Somehow the laziness gene seized my body, refusing to move along.

I am not sure how it happened. My parents did not possess the gene, and I doubt my hard-working American and immigrant grandparents exhibited laziness.

It may have remained latent, silent, for generations amongst the twisted DNA of my ancestors, waiting for the right time to pounce, announce itself and take possession of a body.


My boys may have inherited it, but I doubt it. They are hard-working young men. The grandkids, well, that might be another story. The gene may have skipped a generation. Ask the kids to clean up and the response is, “But they’re not my toys…I did not make the mess…I don’t want to...” or simply, “No.”

My hub’s negative trait, yet unknown whether or not it passed on to a future generation, is, for lack of a more scientific term, the “I can’t find it” gene.

I ask, “Can you please take the milk out of the fridge?”

He opens the refrigerator door, scans the contents, then says, “I don’t see any. I guess we’re out.”

At which point I walk over and grab the milk, prominently positioned in the middle of the top shelf, nothing in front of the large container blocking the view.

Admittedly this is not a debilitating trait, just sometimes an annoying one.

Legacies. The good, the not-so-good, and sometimes the annoying. 

1 comment:

  1. Well, Meryl, I think you know that all kids have that same response when you ask them to clean up: "It's not mine..." And, er, your husband is not the only American male who has the I-don't-see-it-gene.

    All I know is that the worst thing about kids is when they show a negative trait ... and you realize they got it from you!