My sons have their mother’s eyes.My wife was born with Heterochromia, so she has two different colored eyes. One blue, like a strip of emerald water glued to a flat beach with gem-heavy sand. The other, a greenish brown, like an old growth forest was melted and suspended in a screenshot, then forged into a verdant marble. Heterochromia occurs in every 11 people out of a thousand. This condition is perhaps best known for preventing the Rage Virus from occurring in 28 Days Weeks Later.
My two sons Gren and Teaghan are nearly six months old. As they get older, the more I wonder what kind of genetic puppet show took place as their atoms were fused together. My theory about genetics is similar to Jeff Goldblum’s from Jurassic Park, that it’s the greatest force on earth, and our genes are controlling how we interact with our changing environment on a daily basis as each baby is born. I can’t help but wonder what types of traits I’ve passed on to them that the genetic hierarchy deems worthy.
That’s a lie. I don’t wonder about it any of it. I just pray. I’m not religious whatsoever. I just pray. I just pray they don’t suffer from depression.
Just stay blue. Please be blue. Apparently, an infant’s eye color can change dramatically within the first year. Usually, by the end of the 12 month color selection you’ve got a definitive hue. I’m counting down the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months until we’ve crossed that pigmentation deadline. If they still look like that layer of deepness you spy from your window seat as you cross the Atlantic Ocean, then I can breathe a little bit easier when I’m rocking them to sleep at night.
I even say to them as they look at me, bending their little eyelids down like a couple of tired petals: “I hope you’re okay. I hope you don’t have what I have.”
I hope the calmness of their mother is reflected in their eyes. She has a sense of Zen to her being, which compliments my emotional rashness and unpredictability. It’s one of the reasons I love her so much. The blue from her one eye is like a tamed wave, and I hope that cerulean pearl is reflected in our children. I think it’s natural as parents to not want your children to make your same mistakes, have the exact ailments, or have the identical demon sitting on your shoulders and whispering in your ears.
Being at the mercy of genetics, is like being at the mercy of god. You have little control over what’ll pop out on the other side of DNA, but you hope that whatever flaws you have, evolution will flag them like a spellcheck and auto-correct them.
I just don’t want them to have picked their wrists open into shimmering blotches of sparkled red, to show off like an engagement ring. I don’t want them to overeat to escape the mundane and the unrealized. I don’t want them to survive on other people’s happiness, or do things to make other people happy, instead of listening to themselves. I don’t want them to get lost in abusive relationships because they’re afraid to start over.
And most of all, I don’t want them to drive to the High Bridge in late January, and watch the dark and abyssal currents of the Mississippi river bending against the sharp bluffs, like a gate between hell and earth had slithered open for them to jump into, only to have a dog whining in the backseat lure them away from depression’s siren call.
But, if the faceless nightmares do come, and that blue doesn’t stay the mark of a tranquil sea but an endless tempest, they can know their father has survived it.
And he’s here to help.
Bio: Patrick W. Marsh is a writer and blogger from Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can find more nonfiction essays, monsters, and dachshunds at his blog What the Basement Said or www.basementsaid.com.