Dec. 6, 2014.
That was the day that the first photos of anyone I was biologically related to popped up in my Inbox. OK, so that’s not counting the Google + photo of the person who emailed me with said photos in the first place. That’d be Tom. Tom, who (as luck would have it) would prove to be my third cousin. (He serves as additional proof that fabulousness is indeed inherited.) More on how Tom came to find me shall be forthcoming. Another time.
The first photo I opened was of my grandpa. It was the eyes that did it. I got goosebumps. The hairs on my arms stood right up. I just knew.
And, if I’d had any doubts whatsoever, opening the second photo really sealed the deal. It was a photo of my grandparents, lounging around with an inordinate amount of fabulousness on display. A truth I’d long suspected overwhelmed me. You can actually inherit fabulousness. (What? Did you think I was going to make an observation about the sacredness of ancestry, or something else with more depth and poignancy?)
Also? I bear a striking resemblance to Grandma back in the day. More goosebumps, more arm hair standing on end.
I immediately assumed that this was just a casual snapshot of them, and that they woke up looking this way, and that it required no effort on their part whatsoever, because inherited fabulousness and all that. Well, it turns out that Grandpa played for the St. Louis Cardinals, and that this was in fact a press shot. I would have been a tad disappointed to discover that this wasn’t actually a candid snapshot taken in passing, if not for the fact that Grandpa turned out to be a star athlete and Grandma was a babe of a nurse. In some photos, Grandpa even bears a certain resemblance to Ryan Gosling. (Which makes me more than a little uncomfortable now about how attractive I find Ryan Gosling to be, but whatever.)
Of all the adoption fantasies I’d harbored over the years, this was NOT a bad first few steps on the road to wish fulfillment. So maybe it couldn’t quite top my fantasy that I was a descendant of the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, or at least of the Romanov’s infamous mystical faith healer (let me tell you, I had BIG PLANS to have business cards printed up with the words “Rasputin’s Spawn” on them), but NO complaints here. None whatsoever. After years of bracing myself for the discovery that I’d been the love child of Tiny Tim and an axolotl, this was an admittedly pleasant surprise. I mean, seriously – THIS could have come crawling out of my family tree instead:
And there were plenty more of those pleasant surprises to come.