Blue Eyes

2.26.07: Baby's got blue eyes


It looks like Charlie's going to have blue eyes. This is a beautiful thing.

You see, Will has got the most gorgeous set of blue eyes. I can't even find words to describe them. But trust me when I say that they are a pair of stunners.

I have kind of blah brown eyes. And, since I put a lot of stock in things like scientific statistics and mathematical probability, I was pretty certain that my dominant brown gene would stomp all over Will's delicate blue recessive gene, and I felt really bad about that. His eyes are the kind that should be passed on. And, the thought of me wiping them out of the gene pool—at least in this generation—felt almost criminal.

My father had blue eyes, so I knew that I carried a recessive blue gene, which gave our kids a 50/50 chance of having blue eyes. Since Julia has blue eyes, I just sort of assumed that all probability pointed to Charlie getting brown. But, against the odds, they both have blue. Julia's are the warm blue of a tropical sea, with specs of golden sunshine radiating out from their centers. Charlie's are the cool, clear blue of a mountain lake, reflecting tiny bits of fluffy white clouds.

This past week marked the 11th anniversary of my father's death. He died a few years before Will and I were married, so he wasn't there to walk me down the aisle at our wedding, and he never got to meet his grandchildren. But a piece of him—a piece that I have carried silently within me my entire life—is here, in my daughter's eyes, and now in my son's.

Charlie's other namesake, Will's grandfather, was the original blue-eyed stunner. He, too, died several years ago and never got to meet his great-grandson. And yet, his blue eyes live on.

I sometimes think about Will's strand of DNA and my strand of DNA curled up together inside our kids, and wonder what other pieces of these men—these men who are no longer here with us—were carried on those strands. Which parts of them will live on in Charlie? My father's tall, lanky legs? His strong shoulders? Will's grandfather's chiseled jaw and booming voice? I hope it's Will's grandfather's charm. His generosity of spirit. My father's strength and independent mind. Fear strikes me to the core when I think that it might be whatever genetic trait caused my father, and his father before him, to die so suddenly and unexpectedly of heart attacks at young ages. I lie awake at night and pray that Charlie's heart will be stronger. I look into his blue eyes and have to believe that, in spite of the statistics, it will be.

It has to be.

Join's Managing Editor Dana Rousmaniere each week as she chronicles life with a new baby.

Read the next entry: 3.5.07: The Fourth Trimester