My teen son had his first official orthodontic appointment the other day, complete with pain and suffering. My bad. My genetic bad. I realized sitting in the waiting room that I was to blame for his overbite. And, probably, my younger son's underbite too. I think my childhood nickname says it all: Bucky. Honestly, along with the less-than-perfect teeth, I'm also to blame for many other unfortunate inherited characteristics.
But the miracle of DNA is that along with the bad, you get some good! So, in an open note to my sons, here are my genetic cons...and pros!


  • Limited vocal ability. You, my sons, will never win American Idol. Or record a cast album for any Broadway show. While I love music (pro!), I have a lousy singing voice. But I do have a very large CD collection that you are welcome to raid.
  • No vertical skills. I can't jump at all. Like, my feet can barely leave the ground. So basketball, volleyball or any career requiring fence-scaling is probably out for you guys. And, while we're on the subject, I can't jump lengthwise either. So take triple-jumper off your list.
  • Intolerance for spicy food. I'm sorry that my Irish/German background has left me with a sensitivity to spice. I know that someday you'll have girlfriends who want to take you out for green chili enchiladas and the truth will come out. You'll sweat and ask for a lot of sour cream, thus being labeled a "food weenie." Yes, I buy "mild" salsa, but that doesn't make me unlovable. Look for girls who like mashed potatoes as much as I do.

  • No fear of parking. I will never miss out on a fabulous cultural event because I worry about "getting a spot." It's in my blood to believe there will be parking, either in a paid lot or on the street. No Fourth of July parade or massive rock concert is beyond that belief. As an added genetic bonus, boys, I am also an excellent parallel parker.
  • Strong organizational skills. This comes in handy for planning birthday parties, school fundraisers or family holidays. I know I may seem a little bossy now, kids, but one day soon, you'll recognize that my attention to detail is an asset, not just nagging! And, it can be your asset, too, if you embrace your heritage!
  • Ability to gloss over personal tragedy with humor. Seriously, this is one trait you will thank me for someday. Why dwell on tiny issues when you can simply turn them into an entertaining anecdote? It's so much healthier to see the funny instead of finding the blame. So, go ahead, laugh. It's in your DNA!
What are your genetic pros and cons? What gifts have you passed along to your children? And what personal flaws? Share and feel no guilt.

Lian Dolan is a mother, wife, sister, friend, daughter, writer and talk show host. She writes and talks about her adventures in modern motherhood for her website,, and her weekly podcast, The Chaos Chronicles.


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