Recently, my hairdresser and I were talking about our children and my grandchildren. She asked if my girls had hair as dark as mine and if any of them had my hazel eyes. I was shocked that she noticed the color of my eyes since most everyone referred to my eyes as brown. It took me back to when I was expecting wondering what my children would be blessed with?
When my eldest daughter was born, she had light brown hair and, like all newborns, she had dark blue eyes. As the months went by, her hair got lighter and her eyes bluer. Never did I imagine I would have a blond, blue eyed child. When we were out together, invariably someone would stop to comment on my precious girl. Many times, it started with “where did she get her beautiful…” and then the person would stop without finishing the question. I would smile and answer, “from her dad.” The reason they wouldn’t finish asking was in case she wasn’t mine. For, with her blond hair and bright blue eyes, she looked nothing like me with my dark brown hair and brown (hazel) eyes.
I was amazed that my dominant genes hadn’t taken over, but apparently, my husband’s genes were stronger. In looking at my family, I realized that even though I had dark hair and eyes, I carried a recessive blue eye gene from my mother, and a blond hair gene from my father. So, what were the odds this would be the case with my other children?
Three and a half years after our first daughter was born, our second baby girl came along. The old wives’ tale of having heartburn during pregnancy meant the baby would have a head full of hair, proved true in my case. Little miss number two was born with a head full of jet black hair. Her eyes hovered for months as dark blue before deciding they wanted to be brown. So, my dominant genes took over, but only in hair and eye color. She, like our first, favored her dad in looks.
I started thinking about my sister. As a child, she got the blond hair my dad had as a child and his dark brown eyes. Her first daughter had light brown hair and brown eyes. Four years later her second daughter (yes, we were a family of females) was born with blond hair and blue eyes. So, it was recessive genes for the win again.
A few months shy of another three years passed, and our third daughter was born. Where would the gene wheel land with her? Well, it was back to blond hair and blue eyes and, like her sisters, she favored her dad – good thing he is handsome.
Many years passed before grandchildren started appearing on the scene. It was obvious that our eldest daughter’s children would all have lighter hair and blue eyes as that were not only her genes, but her husband’s as well. Our middle daughter’s husband has blue eyes and had lighter hair as a child. Whose genes would take over? Their daughter has light brown hair and brown eyes, but their son has blond hair and blue eyes. Our youngest daughter’s husband has brown hair and eyes – once again, whose genes will be front and center? In their case, both their daughter and son got their dad’s coloring. Well, with the exception that their son got his Gigi’s brown (hazel) eyes.
The impromptu conversation with my hairdresser has piqued my interest in looking back through my family’s history. My maternal grandmother loved genealogy and left detailed notes that went back centuries. Maybe it’s time to learn more. I wonder if any of my ancestors had hazel eyes?