This is my entry for Living Out Loud. The theme is “All in the family”.
I am the youngest of six children. I have two brothers and three sisters. Our personalities are vastly different from one another, and we’ve each taken different paths in life. Physically, we resemble one another. Yet again we are each quite unique, gifted with different traits from each parent. The women in my father’s family are tall and slender. The women in my mother’s family are a bit shorter and more rounded with what they call the “Harris hips”. Although, I have the height of my father’s side, I have to be careful in gaining weight because it goes right to my hips!
Throughout the years, people have remarked that my parents even look alike. What is funny about that is that when I was researching my genealogy, I found that the grandparents of the seventh generation of my father’s maternal line were the same as those of the sixth generation of my mother’s paternal side. And no, it doesn’t stop there! These same people are also my husband’s ancestors. I have found genetics of genealogy fascinating. I love pouring over old photographs and comparing family features. However, family history such as trades and talents have been passed down as well.
You have to know that all three of my older sisters have always been incredibly pretty. I have always considered myself the “ugly duckling”. I figured God had run out of all the good stuff in the beauty department when it came to me and the traits I received. So, instead of pretty and popular like the others, I became the studious one. Oh, I was still obsessed with my looks for many years. It has been until only very recently that I have embraced my inner qualities. As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is perception. Other’s opinions are based on their relationship to me. Superficial relationships judge me on appearance. People with whom I have intimate friendships know who I really am.
This is my mother and sisters (oldest to the youngest). I am at the far right.
Those words “one of those Carter girls from Schuyler” stayed with me long after they drifted from that guy’s mouth. I wonder how many other people from my past define me the same way. It is a label I have tried all of my life to escape, and I actually thought I’d been successful. Not that there is anything wrong with being a Carter girl from Schuyler, I just wanted to be me. I wanted my own identity, and I had struggled to achieve it. I can’t help but be perplexed by that guy’s remark. Did it mean I actually wasn’t the ugly duckling I’d perceived myself to be? Or was it some other trait that stood apart amongst the sisters? Maybe, I should have just been bold enough to ask him.
It’s really hard to say who I look like. I have physical traits of both my mother and father. Both of my parents have dark curly hair, so I guess I was destined in that area. While I have the downward slant of my mother’s eyes, I have the hazel tone of my fathers’. My father passed his nose to me and my mother handed down her cheek bones. Mannerisms are an entirely different story. I am very much a talker and story-teller like my father, yet I am a listener and sympathizer like my mother. My mother and I both tap the table and move things around while we listen, and my father and I use flamboyant hand gestures as we speak. Growing up, I swore I’d never be anything like my mother. A few years ago, I realized I had become my mother. And now, I know that’s a good thing. I’ll include pictures and let you decide. Personally, I think I look like my mother’s mother. Again, I’ll let you decide.
I have facets of both parents in my personality. My mother has always been a nurturer. She has always taken care of others. She was and still is incredibly emotional, gentle, resourceful, generous, and compassionate. She creates from her heart. My father was a grower and builder. He creates with his hands. He was and still is creative, stubborn, sarcastic, intuitive, and resilient. And even though a combination of all those things make me, I’m still simply Suzi.
I am in the center. My maternal grandmother is above, and my paternal grandmother below. So, what’s the verdict? Lastly, I will add pictures of each son when they graduated from high school and a picture of Dirt Man and I when we were much younger (shortly after we were first married). I think they picked up a few traits from each of us. What do you think? (My humble opinion is that Oldest looks like me but acts like Dirt Man, and Youngest looks like Dirt Man but acts like me.)