my dad and me.

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this is my dad. and this is us, holding up a plate of chicken liver on toast… a dish he grew to truly dislike as a little boy because his mom made it often and a dish that i tried for the first time after taking this photo. spoiler alert, i was nervous to try it after he shared stories of hiding his bites in his napkin or under his plate when his mom wasn’t looking, but i actually didn’t mind it at all!

i’ve always loved hearing stories from my dad’s childhood, because the majority of them are so mischievous and funny. he was raised in the heart of chicago, on the northwest side, the middle child of five kids, and someone who still to this day, finds the best parts of life to celebrate with one of the most optimistic attitudes i’m always hoping will rub off on me a little more.

growing up, i feel like my siblings and i always knew more about my mom’s side of the family, her ancestry, heritage, all the yummy ukrainian, slovakian, and polish food from her roots and when we did see extended family, it was mostly always from her side. i think a big reason was because in their last years of life, my mom’s parents came to live with our family as they dealt with health issues, so naturally, we children grew very close to our grandparents as they were a constant staple in our childhood and teenage years at home. my mom’s side of the family is amazing, and i have loved knowing them so well. but as i’ve grown older and had children of my own, i’ve often wished i had a better knowledge of my dad’s family life and history, and i regret that i didn’t get a better chance to get to know my grandparents on his side when i was younger. specifically my late grandma, before her passing.

when 23andMe reached out to see if i had any interest in trying out their 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service, i was really excited for two reasons. the first, i had already used their service on my own 4 years ago in april 2014 with josh when we sent in and completed our own DNA kits. at the time, we found the entire test process to be super quick and the site easy to navigate and use as we learned more about our DNA and certain inherited health conditions for us and our future family and the second reason being, i thought this was the perfect opportunity to have my dad complete a DNA kit as well, so we could put together and compare our ancestry composition, and have a good excuse to sit down together, and finally go through photos and videos from his ancestors and hear more about his mom and her upbringing in scotland as an early father’s day celebration.

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when my dad was in town a few weeks ago, josh printed a couple dozen old photographs my dad and uncle sent him from my grandma’s line. i had never seen any of them before! we spent the morning going through all the different people pictured while my dad told us stories. my grandma was born and raised in scotland and didn’t come over to the united states until she married my grandpa and came over in her mid twenties. i loved hearing more about my grandma. she was an amazing poet who had notebooks upon notebooks filled with poems that would come to her in the night. i also realized she had an incredible knack for photography, as many of the photographs we looked through were the sweetest candid photos of her friends and husband, taken by her!

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and i could not believe this photo of my dad with his own father and siblings. do you see that little boy in the far right corner? that’s my dad. or is that samson?! can you believe the resemblance? i can’t believe how much they look alike!

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for those of you who aren’t familiar with 23andMe, their Personal Genetic Service was created to help people better understand their DNA. you order the kit, spit in the tube, and register online. return shipping of the kit is prepaid, and within about 6-8 weeks, you have online access to in-depth reports about your DNA like your ancestry composition. since my dad had just completed his own kit, we were able to connect our accounts and directly compare our ancestry composition and other reports. they also have a DNA Relatives tool so if you choose to, you can discover other DNA relatives who have opted into the tool as well through their service.

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my ancestry composition shows a mix of regions. the broadly northwestern european comes from my dad. it was really fun and informative when my dad and i were able to compare our wellness reports side by side on the 23andMe site and see some of the things my dad and i both have in common. for example, we both are “likely to consume more caffeine,” have “muscle composition common in elite power athletes,” and are “less likely to be an especially deep sleeper.” all of this makes so much sense when i think about it.

in my own wellness reports, i also learned that i am likely to be lactose intolerant, something that josh kindly reminds me of when we are about to order dessert and something that i am in constant denial of! i’m scared to be officially tested because i’d rather just not know. lol.

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after a morning of hearing more about my dad’s scottish roots and heritage, we grabbed lunch together at the spotted pig so i could try some of his favorite food from his upbringing, chicken liver! just kidding! i already told you he doesn’t fancy that dish whatsoever but i was curious to try it.

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i really love my dad so much. he has been struggling with MS the last few years and i’ve never heard him complain about it. he’s such an optimistic person, who is the biggest kid at heart. my childhood memories are filled with him getting on the floor and playing with us for hours. i’m really thankful that he made the time for us. and always put his family first.

thank you to 23andMe for sponsoring this post. visit 23andMe.com/LoveTaza to learn more about their father’s day promotion going on right now!

  1. mary

    your dad looks sooo like Samson!!! amazing!

  2. Claire

    That post! ❤️ Filled with joy and love, such a pleasure to read! Simply loved it!
    You said Samson but i think your dad looks just like a perfect mix between Samson AND Conrad on that picture of him when he was little! It’s amazing.
    Hope your dad is better will get only better and better now!

    All the best from France,
    Claire.

  3. Claire

    That post! ❤️ Filled with joy and love, such a pleasure to read! Simply loved it!
    You said Samson but i think your dad looks just like a perfect mix between Samson AND Conrad on that picture of him when he was little! It’s amazing.
    Hope your dad is better and will get only better and better now!

    All the best from France,
    Claire.

  4. Teresa

    This is so sweet. I love spending time with my parents and finding out a little more about them and myself in the process. I love this!!

  5. Kristen

    Such sweet photos of you and your dad! This makes me want to do this with my dad!!! Thanks Naomi :)

  6. BJ

    wowwww that looks so yum…
    can’t believe how like samson your dad looks….

    WHEN IS THE BIG DUE DATE?

  7. Lore

    wow! the resemblance with samsom is crazy!
    Congratulations for the twins ❤️

  8. Quinn

    Hi there

    Is there a 23andme link with 30% discount for EU customers? The link you provided in your post only works for US citizens…

    I’d really like to purchase a kit for me and my dad!

    Quinn

  9. You dad seems so sweet! I did the Ancestry service last year and it’s pretty amazing what you can find. I loved it.

    Xx – Fernanda

    http://www.blogmeandthecity.com

  10. Sara M.

    Incredible! Your father is now 6, and has changed his name… He is Samson!!! And Beatrice and Madalena look like both of them.

  11. Melanie

    Wow, your dad looks so young!

  12. Mum of two

    Omg. That resemblance! Your dad and Samson are like the same people. I love your style of writing!

  13. ellen patton

    I met your dad at Brody’s baptism; he’s great! And I love your old photos!

  14. Sandy

    I bought 23andme for my son for Christmas, but after reading your post, think this would be really fun to do with MY poppy!

    Best wishes to your dad!!

  15. Chelsea

    Such a great post, Naomi! My dad is also the middle child of five, and he always has mischievous stories to share! And… Oh… My… Goodness… Your dad IS Samson, and Samson IS your dad! That picture is beautiful. It makes me want to pull the film camera out of my closet!

    Happy Tuesday!

    Chelsea

  16. This is such an interesting story about your family, funnily enough I thought your Dad had a Scottish look about him. I think it may be the eyes. Do you know where your grandmother came from in Scotland? I’m Scottish myself and find it so interesting to see how many Scots emigrated to the US over the years. Liver is a bit of an acquired taste but if you ever get the chance you should absolutely try haggis – its nice and spicy and not as gruesome as you may think! Failing that, shortbread is alwaysa great way to toast your Scottish roots! :)

    http://victoriaspongepeasepudding.com/

  17. Jess.

    This is the loveliest example of really getting to know your parents’ stories while we still have them here with us. And that picture of your young dad. :o SO much like Samson. XOX

  18. What a cool post. My mom also has MS so I can relate – it’s difficult to see a parent struggle on a daily basis.

    Where is your pink jacket from? I have been looking for one like that!

  19. Julie

    Oh my gosh that picture of him and his siblings! I thought he was Samson!! They look like twins! Love these old photos :)

  20. Alida

    I must say my first thought was that Conrad looks so much like him. (And a while ago I thought Conrad looks like Josh’s Mom). But yes, like Samson in that photo, also the older brother in the back looks so much like Samson. Chicken liver made right (with cream and maybe some alcohol and red onion) is soo good.

  21. RENATA

    Samson is just like your father!Wow! But the way he smiles with his eyes almosta closed is very Conrad! DNA is incredible! HAHA

  22. Samantha

    Wow!!! Genetics are wild! That looks just like Samson!

  23. Rosie Piech Belinky

    My husband and I completed this! Such a cool thing to know about where you come from. My parents are south side Polish and Irish from Chicago like your dad! That Chicago ethnic culture just makes me happy 💚 you should take a trip there and feature it in your blog. There is amazing food and the architecture is the best in the country 💙

  24. Lynn Alvarez Wardell

    Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful memories and stories. I had the privilege of serving in the same mission with your dad. We were in the same district in Madrid when I first arrived. I have wonderful memories of my own of our time serving together. Also, congratulations on those adorable babies.

  25. Amanda

    Wow, he’s Samson twin! That’s so interesting, isn’t it?? I really want to try this out! My half brother got his results recently and we’ve been curious to compare them to mine. I’ll have to order one soon!

  26. Pearl

    Love reading this so much! It reminds me of my dad.

  27. Kathleen Weiss Boyle

    I went to elementary school with your dad. He was in my older brother’s class, while your aunt was in mine. I can attest to the fact that he has always been funny and so very, very kind.

  28. Shannon

    Love this post sooo much. I bet he is loving being a grandpa!

  29. This is such a cute post and yes, your dad looks identical to Samson! I noticed it right away! A twin just a few “short” years apart ;)

  30. rachel simmons

    i instantly thought of Samson when i saw these photos of you and your Dad! He seems like such a sweetheart! I love this post….heritage is SO fascinating! Ps: That pile of shoestring fries & delicious looking burger is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!

  31. Maelle

    This post is especially meaningful to me, as my mum has been struggling with MS for the past few years, too. I love the way you look up to your dad and acknowledge how brave he is for putting up with this disease.

    xx

  32. magali

    When i first saw the picture i thought: Is it samson so big looking??! omg!!
    My son Lenny looks like my dad too ;) Everybody says it :D

  33. carley

    I love that pic of your dad! It’s like someone plopped samson down right into the photo! The older boy looks like him too!
    I remember seeing a random old ww2 pic of sailors at Pearl Harbour and it was like someone photoshopped my brother into the picture… we have no known american relations that would have been at pearl harbour… its so weird though to see pics like that!!!

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