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That Dimple

The genetic pathways in my family seem to follow mostly straight lines. Corrie has my eyes and tendency to talk without ceasing. Adam has Hubs' cowlicks and his math skills. Stephen has my facial structure and my lack of math skills. Joseph has Hubs' height.

Sometimes, of course, the pathways twist a bit, keeping things interesting. Joseph has my dad's temperament. Stephen has a distinctive run, just like my brother. Corrie, it appears, is going to be tall, like my husband's grandmother, and she frequently purses her lips just like my grandmother always did.

I could think about this stuff all day. We trace these pathways, remembering the people we love, and our hearts warm to see how little parts of them appear in a different generation. We play the where-did-it-come-from game, noticing eye colors and eyebrow shape and funny laughs, and we can generally attach it to somebody, somewhere.

Except that dimple.

Corrie has a dimple. It's on her left cheek only. I've held my breath as her lovely baby-chub has fallen away, hoping that the dimple wouldn't disappear with it. But it remains, appearing every time her face lights up, which is, thankfully, often.

And we have no idea where it came from. Dimples, which are genetic, do not appear to run in our family, as far as we can tell. I don’t have one and neither does Hubs, nor do any of the grandparents. We have thought and remembered and asked around, and we can't find a family member who has one.

As if dimples aren’t charming enough on their own, the mysterious origins of Corrie’s dimple makes it even more endearing. I don't know where it came from, but I think of him, or her, whenever my daughter smiles. I think of this Mystery Person (People?), a handful of generations back, and I'm so thankful their lovely genetic fingerprint wandered this way.

Maybe – and this is just as lovely a thought – it’s all hers, a very fortunate new genetic turn of events, one she’ll pass on to her kids. I hope so.

Honestly, the origins of that dimple don’t really matter to me. At the end of the day, when she’s tired and I’m cranky and her face unexpectedly lights up, I'm just really glad it's there.


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