November 19, 2011

My Favorite Child

I went to dinner with some girlfriends last week.  And along with the food and drinks, we chatted.  I know, hard to believe.  And there were no children, so we chatted.  I say that again because I am still reveling in the experience.  I love uninterrupted conversation with friends I usually share choppy sentences and bursts of “Stop it.  I’m on the phone.”  It’s deliciously gratifying.  And for days afterward, I feel those remnants of adulthood, adorning my daily activities with a different kind of confidence.  Deeeelicious.fav

But the reason I brought this up is one friend mentioned an article in the Times or was it Time magazine or maybe Good Times?  Anyway, the article said all parents love one child the most.

  And I take license here to artistically express what I heard, because I haven’t actually READ the article.  That would mean I would be more educated about it, and I don’t want to be right now.  Still, it made for interesting conversation.  My friend told us that, based on personality type, general likability or personalities complementing one parents’ more than another, there is favoritism.  It was a foregone conclusion.  All parents have favorites.  

I had to think for a moment.  You should always consider new arguments or ideologies, even if at first you don’t agree.  And I love to dig down deep and see if I can surprise myself.  But I found I couldn’t pick a favorite.  Sure I like one child’s ability to make me laugh like a hyena at any moment of the day.   And I definitely love my other child’s ability to make me feel like no one in the world before him or after him has ever loved me more unconditionally.  I love the way one child makes me feel so successful and amazing at parenting.  And I love that my other child makes me understand the universe at a deeper level than at any other time in my life.  But for the life of me, I couldn’t choose one I liked over the other. 

My 7 year old had asked me two nights before which one of them (he and his brother) I liked to talk with MOST before bed.  I told him neither.  He grabbed my arm and said, “You can tell me, mom.  I won’t tell anyone.  But seriously, which one of us do you like to talk to more?” 

I genuinely told him, “I wouldn’t tell you if I did, son.  But I don’t.  I like talking to you both of you for different reasons.”  I went on to tell him why I loved to talk to him.  I told him every reason that we would always be best friends-no matter what…  no matter how many other best friends we had.  I told him why HE was so special to me.  That seemed to sooth his need to be the most special person in that moment.  He was. 

But back at dinner, I asked my friend if she liked one child more than the other.  She paused, and I laughed aloud so that my insides were reverberating.  She DID think she had a favorite!  I loved it!  Maybe it was true more than I thought?  Ooooh, I love things like that.  It’s like one of those secret thingys that you don’t know if it’s right to talk about.  She told me you always love all your children, but you might “like” one more than another.  I bought it.  And I still say I don’t know if I could pick one child over the other, but it’s rationally valid.  And probably there’s no harm in it.  Isn’t that life?  Don’t we always prefer one person over the other for everything?  Maybe it’s my sense of fairness in the universe that won’t allow me to choose my own favorite child.  I remember worrying that I would like one child over the next before having children and deciding only to have one child for a very long time. 

My husband’s mother told me once that one day you like one child the best and the next day you love another child the best.  I thought that was a wise and beautiful answer. 

Anyway, I’m not sure where that leaves anything else in the world.  But I do so love discussion like that.  Which of your children is your favorite?  Is “love” different than “like”?  Is it something better left untouched?  Please weigh in on our Incredibly Average Advice today! Click the link next to this post!