Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Favorite

This is my daughter, Aryn.

She's the one on the right. The lady on the left is the local "weather specialist." She's not a real meteorologist. She's a dinosaur. Been around since the days of dry erase weather boards. When they had to draw isobars and storm fronts by hand and simulate their movement by swaying in front of the camera and flopping their arms. I imagine she made swooshing sounds.

And always with that damn smile.

You'll notice my daughter is not really smiling. Even though she'd just won second place at the Johnny Appleseed Festival Apple Dessert Baking Contest. That weather lady was one of the judges. And my daughter? She's not convinced the weather lady is the real deal. See that skeptical glance? The almost smirk? She's not sporting that weary look because she'd stayed up until the wee hours of the morning slaving over the filling for her Dutch Apple Pie Cones. Oh, No! Behind that glare, she's calling bullsh*t.

Just one of the reasons why Aryn is my favorite kid.

There are other reasons:

1) She's the only one of my kids that will go see the movie that I want to see, even though it isn't rated G. Recently, we sat through Avatar, munching on buttered popcorn with caramel-flavored powder sprinkled on top, sipping a five gallon Mr. Pibb made complete with a shot of vanilla, and then talked afterward about how it most definitely was NOT Dances with Wolves: Redux, like everyone claimed.

2) She knows what Redux means.

3) She also knows what loquacious means; a wellspring of trivial chatter, she never fails to make me laugh.

4) Her creativity knows no bounds. Like me, she is often in the midst of a plethora (another favorite word of hers) of projects, and doesn't know what to do with herself if she has to clean up her mess.

5) She's a voracious reader. It's not unusual to find her holed up in her own special corner of Barnes & Noble, our favorite hangout, with a pile of books around her, many of them long and mostly finished before I'm ready to leave. I've never been a particularly fast reader, so I envy her a tiny bit.

6) She hasn't given up on asking questions. Unlike most kids who think they have it all figured out really early in life and so avoid staring at the grays of life, she probes deeper. She's the only one of my kids who will routinely engage me in discussions about God. Or the lack thereof. For Aryn, the pursuit of knowledge is a never-ending journey worth taking, with signposts of occasional wisdom leaning on the roadside.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. She is close to my heart, parallels my own personality in ways both delightful and frightening, and at this point in her life needs a father who is also a friend.

Now, I have four kids.

Aryn is not the oldest, and she's not the youngest. She's right there in the (sort of) middle, older than the little ones still in elementary school, yet younger than the sophomore in high school.

The little guys think I'm cool, especially when I take them to the roller skating rink or play the PS2 with them. They really dig me if I remember to bring home barbecue Pringles or Yu-Gi-Oh cards.

And the oldest thinks I'm an alright chauffeur for him and his girlfriend. He was my favorite once. When we played Dungeons & Dragons together. When I could still beat him at almost any game we popped into whatever console we owned at the time. But somewhere along the line, I became his father. The one who complains too loudly about his grades, or the amount of time he's spending on the phone.

Time for a cleansing breath . . .

Do I love each of my kids? Without a doubt. Would I step in front of a train or take a bullet for any one of them? In a heartbeat, and without batting an eyelid. Do I spent quality time with each of them? Moments where we hop in the car, or in my recliner, and just do stuff? Stuff they will remember tomorrow morning? Or when they're older and writing blogs about me? Stuff that is sometimes nothing at all?

I believe so.

Will Aryn always be my favorite? I can't answer that with any sort of certainty. Hormones are about to hit. But for now? She still likes to be with me. I don't embarrass her too badly. I see myself in her. In her eyes. The shape of her face. That pensive look she gets. Some people say she zones out a lot. But that's not zoning. That's digging. Trying to make it all make some sort of sense when that hardly seems possible.

She needs to be my favorite. And perhaps I need to be her favorite as well . . .

Brian

aka The Cheek of God

aka Tysdaddy

18 comments:

SciFi Dad said...

My kids are too young right now for me to identify a favourite, but I can see it happening.

What's weird is that I always expected I'd get along better with a daughter since most of my friends are female, but I think I'm getting along better with my son.

singedwingangel said...

You know I think deep down as parents there are moments when one of our children hits that spot for us. When we see so much more in them for whatever reason. I have had moments like this with each of my children. Not saying I love one less or another more but simply I love them equally if differently, just as they are all different in temperment and personality.

Kelly (conversemomma) said...

I have no favorite, but my children do. Jack favors me. Mollly, her daddy. I love them equally but differently. This is something I never would have understood until I was a mother.

This was lovely.

I like a girl who has a strong bullshit detector. That will serve her well.

Dad Who Writes said...

I battle with this because the elder (6yo boy) is so damn difficult whilst his 2yo little sister is winsomely manipulative little charmer. Dudelet argues, debates, reads, talks in polysyllables and gets extra reading from his teacher (we're lucky with that). He's always been 'challenging'. Perhaps he's my favourite then, even though he might not realise. Because he definitely needs it and I need not to let him down.

Mountain Gal said...

LOL, loved the description of the T.V. relic. Your daughter's expression says a lot. I've got to respect a kid who can spot a phony, or recognize BS when they hear it. ;-)

I don't have a favorite child, but I do have certain preferences in terms of the activities I enjoy with each and vice versa.

Our 15 yr old daughter is the one who likes to watch the foreign, or black & white, or Hitchcock movie with me that no one else wants to watch. She'll debate politics, discuss history, literature, music and scientific theory, and will eat "girl food" with me. (...and hormones have not been much of a factor in the 3-4 yrs since they hit)

Our 9 year old son also shares my love of reading. Although he reads independently well above grade level, he still wants me to read a chapter or two of the book du jour to him each night. He is very observant and curious, and often blows me away with his insight. We enjoy skiing, and acting silly together.

There are some things we both prefer for him to do with his dad (i.e. skeet shooting, archery, baseball - he doesn't like my wimpy throws???). Oh, and shopping....he just wrote a hilarious school paper comparing (mocking?) mom vs. dad's approach to shoe/clothes shopping for him.

Homer and Queen said...

My hubby is the Disneyland Dad so all the kids favor him. Except when they are sick...then I am the queen. I am equally mean to all of them though, so no favorites here!

Just Jules said...

I think there is a reason for each connection we have. I am interested in seeing how these connections change and then eventually change when they go out on their own. good post, this was fun.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Okay this was such a sweet surprise of a blog post. I absolutely love the way you write and wrap up everything at the end to make you end up thinking about your words.

Love it.

I also have a favorite... the one that seems to get me and I get them and we have fun together. But I feel it also might just be age or a phase...

Loved loved loved this post.

Your daughter is so cute and I love that... "BS" face! lol!

Anjeny said...

I agree with Shelle...this is such a refreshing and interesting post. You've put such thought provoking thoughts into it. Your daughter is a real cutie...it's really great how she relates to you on a more intelligent level. And of course, I love kids who like to read...I'm still trying to get any, at least one would be absolutely wonderful, to find an interest in reading so we can curl up in a corner somewhere to read and discuss the book..oh well.

I enjoyed this post tremendously. I've always found that my favorite stage about my kids are when they were babies...of course I love babies, can't get enough of them..love everything about them. And now even though they sass me a lot, I find I also like the teen stages, I seem to be having more fun with my teens now than when they were younger.

slouchy said...

Nice post. Honest. Real.

tysdaddy said...

@ SciFi - It's probably the age. The stuff little boys play with are much for fun for dads as well . . .

@singedwingangel - For my kids, that stage seems to be the middle school years. It's such a time of transition, and it's an honor to help them navigate, and then set them free . . .

@Kelly - Thanks for taking the time to stop by, my friend. As for the kids having their favorites, my youngest son is very enamored with mom right now. Always has been.

@DadWhoWrites - Thanks for your comment. You've gotten to the heart of what my post is about; sometimes, certain kids just NEED us more than the others, and it's an honor to be there for them during those times . . .

@Mountain Girl - Good news about the hormones thing. She's already showing signs . . . gets frustrated with no reasonable explanation, very moody, etc. I imagine I'll come through it alright. And your oldest daughter sounds like the perfect buddy for Aryn . . .

@Homer - Yeah, my wife often laments how she's the favorite only when the kids are sick. Very common occurrence, I'm guessing. I've never been to Disney Land though . . .

@Jules - Thanks, my dear. I'm sure things will continue to evolve and change, and it's a ride I am looking forward to . . .

@Shelle - Thanks. Ages and Stages. That's the title of my book . . .

@Anjeny - Why would you kids want to hang inside and read?! You live in Hawaii!! ;-) Hang in there . . .

@slouchy - Thank you for taking the time to stop in and read my post. Your thoughtfulness is inspiring . . .

Ginny said...

A woman I knew grew up as one of 16 kids. When someone asked her mother who her favorite was, she answered, without hesitation, "My favorite was always whoever needed me most at the time.". And I think that may have been a very politic way of saying what you've said. Having a connection with a kid, having common interests, neither of those precludes love for other kids. But just like people outside our own little nuclear families, we can't expect to "click" with everyone, all the time, biology be damned.

Well written, and kudos for writing it.

ZenMom said...

I enjoy different things about my sons' personalities. I wonder if, as they get older, I will have a "favorite". It's hard to imagine right now. I think it more likely that I'll continue to love specific things about each of them more or less, if that makes sense.

SAHD PDX said...

I have two kids and at different times I prefer one over the other. Also reading this was like a SAT prep study guide, some great words in there.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

I have trouble getting to grips with this. I understand people who are more or less nicer to be in the company of at any given time, but it's a strong word to use and commit to history - favourite.

Though well written, as always.

tysdaddy said...

@Ginny - That's me . . . always politically incorrect! That was a smart woman. Thanks for stopping by . . .

@ZenMom - Each day, there are specific things about each child that I am drawn to. And I look forward each day to finding out what those things will be, for they are so busy changing and growing up . . .

@SAHD PDX - Fortunately, I never had to take the SAT. We did the ACT in my HS. But my daughter? She's sweating the test already!

@Xbox - Thanks to you as well for stopping by. Favorite is a loaded word. Would I ever use it in front of my kids? Hardly. (There's a reason this post ended up here and not on my regular blog.) But in this case, I think it fits for this moment in time, and this particular kid. Things will change. And tomorrow I'll get on better with one of the other ones. But each day, they are mine, and I love them all.

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