The Feisty Gene

FEISTY: spunky, exuberantly frisky, having or showing a lively aggressiveness

Photo Credit: John Templeton Foundation

Photo Credit: John Templeton Foundation

 When I look in the mirror, I see a feisty red-headed Irish girl with year-round freckles and eyes that glimmer with mischief.  

Looking at Daughter is like looking in a fun house mirror.  I’m there, but altered.

The first time our genes met each other in the boxing ring known as my womb, Husband’s genes beat mine up in every round.  My blue-eyed genes received several left hooks from his brown.  My red hair received a powerful uppercut from his brown. 

Brown genes are bullies. 

After his physical attribute genes administered a sound licking, Husband’s temperament genes continued to dominate. 

In the end, Son emerged – a short version of Husband in nearly every way.


When the womb rematch known as Daughter came, my genes were ready for the fight.  They lost the first few physical attribute rounds, but came back bruised and bleeding to score points in the temperament round.  She’s Husband on the outside with a solid dose of her mother hiding beneath the surface.  The color of her eyes matches Husband’s but the twinkle matches mine.

Daughter’s unique combination of Husband’s physical attributes and my temperament has forced me to reconsider my some of my genetic theories.

Until her arrival, I’d always believed there was a causal link between my feisty temperament and my red hair.  Red hair seems to me to be the physical manifestation of fire in a person’s belly boiling up and overflowing in flame-colored locks. 

According to family lore (passed down from a long line of redheaded Irish ladies), that’s the way it works.   Irish girls not lucky enough to be of the black Irish variety receive red hair.  Red hair is just one part of the Irish full-meal-deal that includes pale skin, freckles, and a feisty temperament. 

A la carte orders are not accepted.

As I aged and learned to loosen up, my hair color mellowed to a less intense red.  This supported my genetic hypothesis.  

But lately, I’ve started to doubt the science.  

The feisty brown-eyed/brown-haired specimen in my lab does not support my theory.

Perhaps the red hair/feisty connection is a random correlation and does not reflect causation. 

Perhaps Daughter is an anomaly. 

Perhaps Daughter has been secretly dying her hair without my knowledge.

Further research is needed…


What do YOU see when you look in the mirror?


3 thoughts on “The Feisty Gene

  1. Loved everything about this post! I have a red head daughter. She is definitely a fiery little one. I am brunette and pretty easy going. (But apparently my genes are bullies!) Love, love, love your sense of humor and your writing style!

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