Why Can’t I Just Be Smurfy Like My Dad?

 My Dad visted my brother, sister-in-law and their two adorable boys in California this summer. While there, he sent and email to my other brother and I, in Toronto, that went verbatim like this:

“Hi Guys,
How is everyone? Took the boys to see the Smurf movie yesterday and it was smurfing great. Going to the smurfin beach today. It is not as smurfin hot here as it was in T.O. Who took away the smurfin summer?”
Love you & smurf you all a whole bunch, 
Papa smurf”

This email kills me. Do you mean to tell me that I really had a 50-50 chance to see the world through Brainy Smurf’s glasses and instead I ended up Neurotic Smurf. At least my brothers get to be Doctor Smurfs. I can’t believe I had a chance to be so happy, to be the kind of person who genuinely appreciates all the small, day-to-day things that email chain letters are always telling you to, and I’m not. Maybe I was wrong to delete that one about happiness being a gift and instead should have ‘gifted’ it to 5 of my friends like the lame email told me to? Well, shit.

My Dad’s joie de vivre baffles me. He absolutely loves pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain. Don’t even get him started on the feel of the ocean, or the taste of champagne! He’s attended several Jimmy Buffett concerts wearing a Hawaiian shirt and he’s told people about it. He still calls me Wendel Shmendel Bendel on a regular basis, even when asking for legal advice. Restaurants, like McDonald’s, are cafe’s or bistros and a tiny mall called Masonville in London, Ontario, is pronounced maison-vie.     

I love spending time with my Dad, whether we’re having lunch at this little place on the lake that he just adores or he’s helping to fix something in my house and passing no judgment on how messy it is,  but it always reminds me just how much a loser I am in the genetic lottery. This fact is never more poignant on those afternoons where I find myself huddled in the corner of my house in the fetal position, reading Sylvia Plath poems, and get a phone call from my Dad telling me about what a wonderful time he just had in a lavender patch. Or at the Port Credit Southside Shuffle Music Festival. At a quiet little inn just outside the city. Or at the Smurf movie with his grandsons.

Why couldn’t I just be like that!? Why can’t I go frolick in a lavedar path!? I wouldn’t even know where to find one. 

Why couldn’t I just get the Smurf gene?

Genetic uncertainty has made the decision to have a baby a very fretful one for me. I am terrified of conceiving a child and it’s an issue. With his ovaries pulsing faster than Justin Beiber and Dr. Dre’s “Justbeat” headphones, my husband accuses me of hating babies. This accusation is entirely unfair. I don’t hate babies. I just hate the idea of my baby. Or a baby with my genes. I would love to adopt a baby, to give all the love I have to a pre-existing child who really needs it. Beacuse I know, that in my very worst moments, I wish I wasn’t here. The fact that I can make that decision for our baby is enormous for me. If only my husband understood that it is because I love our unborn child so fiercely already, that makes me fret. It’s because I worry about our little boy or girl spending afternoons huddled in the corner of their room, in the fetal position, reading Dylan Thomas poems, and knowing all too well the untouchable depths of their suffering. And knowing their pain is from me. Directly, genetically, from me. That they had a 50-50 chance to have a racing heartbeat limited to overtime in sporting events like their father, but lost that genetic roll of the dice.   

When I see this image, I close my eyes tight and picture myself tip-toeing across the floor of their room. I see myself, knealing down beside them and putting a gentle hand on their shoulder as I pass them the phone.

“Your Grandfather has something to tell you,” I say, “You’re going to be smurfed away by how smurfirific it is. He smurfs you a whole bunch.”