DEAR ABBY: "No Laughing Matter" (Feb. 22) wrote about her mother-in-law making snide comments because there is so little resemblance between her son and her grandchild. It's a fact that not all offspring look like their parents.
My husband and I have seven biological children who are now young adults. We marvel at the breadth and depth of our collective gene pool.
I am a petite brown-eyed brunette, and my husband is tall and blond with hazel eyes. None of our kids look alike. One daughter inherited my brown eyes, but her hair is blond. Two kids have my dark hair, but one has blue eyes and the other has green eyes. One son is the spitting image of his dad, while another resembles my father as a child. Our "baby" girl is the tallest female and has a buxom figure she certainly did not inherit from me.
Another thing: Out of all nine of us, our second child is the only family member who cannot curl her tongue. The study of genetics is an amazing thing, especially when we find out what we think we know isn't necessarily so.
— THEY'RE ALL OURS IN VIRGINIA
DEAR ALL: Thank you for your in"gene"ious response. Other readers felt "No Laughing Matter" should ignore her mother-in-law's comments and handle the matter with humor. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: When my daughter was about 13, my "dear" mother-in-law said she didn't look like her son, also implying that I had been unfaithful. I looked her directly in the eye and replied, "Of course she doesn't look like your son. She resembles MY side of the family." She never commented again.
— NOT UNFAITHFUL IN FLORIDA
DEAR ABBY: The next time "No Laughing Matter's" mother-in-law remarks how one child bears no resemblance to Dad, she should say, "You know, genetics are fascinating. I've often thought how much this beautiful child resembles you."
— MARC IN CLEVELAND HEIGHTS
DEAR ABBY: My oldest brother and I look identical despite our 10-year age difference. Our middle brother, however, didn't look like either one of us. Our family jokingly referred to him as "the milkman's son" until he hit middle age. At that point in his life, he became the spitting image of our father. "No Laughing Matter" should not take her mother-in-law seriously.
— KATHY IN SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.
DEAR ABBY: I bet if that mother-in-law looked through an old photo album she might notice that this grandchild has Grandpa's nose and eyes, and maybe Great-Uncle Charley's ears. My wife and I have five children. Three of them closely resemble us. The other two don't look like they belong to us — until you look at my wife's maternal cousins. Our daughter and one of her cousins could pass as twins.
— LEROY IN POULSBO, WASH.
DEAR ABBY: My mother was widowed at 35 with three young children. A few years later, "Pop" came into our lives and married "us." He always treated us like we were his biological kids and we knew we were loved. Pop was a mailman in our small town and my brother used to tag along with him on his route. Many people would comment that they "knew" immediately that this was his son, "He looks just like you!"
"No Laughing Matter" needs to move on. Life is too short to feel bad about thoughtless people and their silly comments.
— JACK'S DAUGHTER IN UPSTATE NEW YORK
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.