"When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also." -- 2 Timothy 1:5 [paraphrase].

"The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."- William Ross Wallace, Poet

"Was it because I drank Dr. Pepper when I was pregnant?" I asked the doctor when my son was born with slightly deformed fingers and toes.

"No, Syndactly syndrome is genetic and it can be corrected with surgery. Does anyone in your family have this?"

"Not on my side," I accused, looking at my husband, Ron who obviously had some weird relatives I had never met.

"Mom," I said over the phone that night. "Some of Jeremy's fingers and toes are formed together. It's genetic, but Ron said it's not from his side."

"I have a cousin who has webbed feet," She answered.

My husband smirked, "Who has the strange relatives?"

That night, I went to sleep and dreamed of giving birth to twin ducks.

A Family Resemblance

My husband's family might have normal fingers and toes but their noses are unique -- large even. My mother-in-law, Frances, gave birth to nine children and on each face is an identical nose. You can tell a Ruiz from a mile away. Two of our children have the Ruiz nose and two have my family's toes. At least we're even.

It's common to look like your kinfolk. A while back, my mother gave me a black and white photograph, so I framed it and hung it on my wall.

My husband came home from work and asked, "When was that taken? I've never seen that picture of you before."

"Ron -- that's my Great-Grandma Boone."

"The resemblance is scary," He replied.

And how about this for a family resemblance? Recently, my doctor called just to let me know that my cholesterol is up to 278.

"Are you kidding? After all this time on a low-fat diet?" I asked.

"Both your parents had high cholesterol."

"Well, this is another genetic trait that I could live without."

Fortunately, we've passed down more in our families than big noses, webbed toes and high cholesterol. There hasn't been any money, but there is Aunt Mabel's recipe for piecrust that we bake, the antique clock that winds with a key, many beautiful handmade quilts, and our love for fried green tomatoes just like my Grandma Denney serves.

And then there are those really special items passed down that I hope stay in the family for a long time to come.

My Favorite Heirloom

My all-time favorite heirloom is the Denney bassinet. It was purchased at a second-hand store in the winter of 1938 by my Great-Grandma Sadie Denney, who bought it for her newborn granddaughter (my mother).

It wasn't much -- just a used yellow wicker bassinet with a blue bow painted on the side. My mother slept in it and in the following years so did her two younger sisters and then a brother. It made the rounds when the next generation used it including my sister, brother, some cousins and me. My mom repainted it when I was pregnant with my first child. The wobbly, old legs were secured just in time for my daughter's arrival. Her sister, two brothers, and more cousins eventually slumbered in the bassinet.

Last June I asked my husband to dig the bassinet out of the attic and dust it off. You see, our first grandchild was on the way.