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Posts Tagged ‘family tree’

Family Resemblance

Monday, May 21, 2012

Jason Poole, Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, NYC, High Line

Mom, Dad and I on the High Line in NYC (Winter 2011)

Something startled me yesterday morning.

I was looking at my face in the mirror while I was shaving, making sure not to cut myself.  I turned my head slightly to get a better angle for shaving my chin and for an instant, it was as though I was looking at my father.

I mean, it REALLY looked my dad’s face in the mirror.  Something about the angle and the way I had my mouth fixed.  It was kind of surreal.

It made me stop for a minute and really look at myself.  I began moving my face around slightly–and with each move, it was as though I was transforming myself into another relative.  Almost like something you might see in a sci-fi movie.  If I raised my eyebrows, I resembled my mother.  If I puffed out my cheeks like my nephew does, it was like it was HIS face staring back at me and not mine.

I was blown away by the family resemblance.

And it got me thinking:  it’s not really that strange.  We all share the same DNA so we have similar characteristics.  And those characteristics have been passed down from generation to generation.

Right?

Same family tree…

Pops and I at Moʻoʻula Falls (Molokai, HI 2008)

But then I started thinking about Pops and how I resemble him even though we DON’T  share any family DNA.

I sound like him when I speak Hawaiian–his voice is the voice I hear in my head.  My reference point for the language.  I gesture like him when I teach.  I use similar examples, similar stories to illustrate a point.  And I’ve picked up his mannerisms over the years, physically resembling him, as well.  I can hear Mom Solatorio saying to me, “You look so much like Pops when you do that!”

(Fun Fact:  Pops and I made a recording one night–really late at night while we stayed up in Kaunakakai–strumming the ʻukulele and taking turns singing lead and harmony on an old Hawaiian song.  Here’s the crazy thing:  when I played it back, we couldn’t tell who was singing which part.  Our voices sounded identical at that point!)

And then I thought about how so many of of my friends who were adopted as children “look like” their adopted families–even though they don’t share DNA, either.

So I thought some more.

Maybe family resemblance is a lot more than just DNA.  Maybe it’s a combination of all sorts of contributing factors.

Maybe it just goes to show you that we’re amazingly adaptable creatures that form families–by blood, by choice.

Like Pops says, “E ʻohana mākou.”  We’re family.

And the family tree continues.

Right on.

What do YOU think about family resemblance?  Drop me a line!  I’d love to hear from you!

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