Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mom and Dad Like You Best!

How many of you have grown up thinking that.  Or, are YOU a parent and do YOU have a favorite?
I have raised five children.  People ask me all the time, "who is your favorite"?  "What" I reply,  "parents don't have favorites.  A parents love is all encompassing and equal."

After I had my first child and found myself pregnant with my second, I'd ask myself, how is it possible to love another child as much as this one.  We all find out love isn't like a piece of pie where you cut it up into slices, where each child gets a part.

Love is like an Ice Cream Sundae.  You just keep adding wonderful toppings till it (your family) becomes a masterpiece.

My children tell me - part teasing, and part reality in THEIR minds- that I have a favorite.  Oh, he's your favorite they say to me. I stand with my fist in the air proclaiming, I have NO favorites.  You are all loved equally.

I, myself, believe that.  However, I will admit each child has brought to my life a DIFFERENT topping for my sundae.

One, an amazing sense of humor.
One, a sense of adventure.
One, (my only daughter) .....a female bond, a strength,  daughters are different.
One a sense of peace.
One, a sense of spirituality.
(that's five right?)

See, different toppings. NOT BETTER.  The love is not different, it has been enriched with THEIR own individuality.

The oldest child accuses the last child of getting it all. He says the youngest has been provided with a silver spoon in his mouth and a gold brick up his butt.  Well sadly he might be accurate to a certain degree.  When a parent has their first child, you are still getting established in life, with your job/career.  You are still learning how this parenting thing works.  By the time a fifth comes along, you generally DO have more money, more resources, and the last is generally the reciprient of that.  The last is LUCKY is all, not loved more.

I am the oldest in my family. One brother and one sister.  I went through a period of feeling a little less loved and appreciated.   I have been a more challenging child than my siblings.  Their list of accomplishments are long. Mine less noteworthy.  But I know, by dang, I am loved.  I may not be the cherry on top of that sundae.  Doesn't matter. I was the nut and some people love nuts. They didn't love me less just because I'd give them an adverse reaction to the nut sometimes.

It's all about building that sundae.  Enjoying each dimension of it, savoring every flavor and texture.

So here's the questioning.  Do you have a favorite..really?  Did you think your parents played favorites?



Becky Andrews said...

Love the each bring their own topping concept. So true. Five. WOW. We have two very different kids that each do have such a unique joy for us. My brothers definitely think I am the favorite - I'm the youngest, only girl. I envy their relationship as siblings. I don't know if I answered the questions :> I don't have a favorite... they both fill my world as a mom in such different, special ways. I have a favorite one that I would go shopping with, a favorite one that loves to get ice cream with ...

Purple Cow said...

I know I'm not their favorite and I'm an only child. How do I know? They keep telling me what a disappointment I am.

As for my kids. I love 'em to distraction and want them to be anything their heart desires. No favoritism. How can I have a favorite when each one is the kid I was...wanting to be loved for what they are!

~DokterKenny said...

Actually in my brother's family there is clearly a favorite. My ex wife and I used to comment on this all the time. His wife was living vicariously through the older girl. She is attractive, intelligent and a cheerleader, and she was clearly treated different than the rest. The younger daughter is like the ugly duckling though. She is is quieter, a little more awkward, doesn't get as good as grades as her older sister, but she is blossoming into a beautiful swan. It is interesting to watch, and whether its real or perceived most of the family agrees Mom is MUCH harder on the younger daughter.

Now I have four children ranging in age from 21 to 8. I love them all and they all have their own personalities. I don't think I would say I love one more than the other. However I can say with all honesty some are less irritating than others at times. Now if you have ever raised teenagers or young adults you know what I am talking about. It's not that you love your child any less, but they are being such a goddamn snit you don't want to be around them, and therefore you are more inclined to spend time with the others and do things for them. I don't think that's wrong that's just human nature. For example I love my oldest son, but he doesn't communicate with me much these days. That might seem like I love another child more, but no its just the nature of our relationship during this phase. It used to be my youngest son was very difficult to deal with because of his Aspergers and anxiety issues. Then there is my second oldest daughter everyone thought was my "Golden Child" because she is sooo much like me in wit, intelligence, humor, etc. However, lately the youngest has blossomed into a great kid who is easy to be with and the youngest girl just give me fits with all her teenage drama. Does it mean I love her less? No I don't it's just that she is more exhausting to be around these days than him, so I am inclined to spend more time with my son. However, to outsiders it might appear I am playing favorites.

All that being said the bottom line is we are humans and we are full of imperfections and frailties. Hell I am amazed we don't eat our young when they become teenagers. I think if we are not broken mentally somehow we are capable of sharing our love for our children with great equanimity. We also are capable of letting that love wax and wane as we experience joy and hurt from our children. I also think sometimes we get caught up in the perceptions others have of our relationships with our children (aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc) and we let that cloud our feelings as well. In then end our relationships with the fruit we have born is oh so very intimate. No one outside of the relationship can truly understand every nuance of the bond between mother/father and child.

binks said...

I do have to say that my son is my favorite.
Of course, there is only one,
so there is that.

I myself was the youngest of five and was lost in the shuffle, definitely NOT the favorite -that was the oldest. Today, he is the most successful of us all.

binks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Between my brothers and sisters....I am the favorite! HAHA Actually I am the black sheep but the life of the party, so they all love me...if they don't I just assume that they do and go with it!

With my kids...I agree with the OTHER Kenny (WTF? Get a new name!) While I love them all equally....sometimes I can't stand one of them, or a gravitate to another. It's all good.

My hardest is my youngest daughter...she is a cheerleader, school spirit, drama, make-up, girlie girl, with too much make-up, a tendency to talk to fast and a penchant for whining. She gets on my nerves REAL QUICK as all of those things annoy the hell out of me.

BUT...I love her...and she NEEDS my love, you can tell.

wendy said...

Hey thanks everyone for your comments. They have been good ones. I gues if you want to use the term "favorite" it actually shifts over the course of raising our children.
Kinda like Kenny #1 said (um incase you missed it Kenny #2 wants you to change your name)
anyway......the child we found sooooo endearing and wonderful when 6 becomes a pain in our ass at age 16. Then they become all wonderful again
The love is the same.....the tolerance sometimes waives.

Jessica said...

Thanks for writing this. I'm pregnant with my second and having a terrible time getting my mind around loving another kid as much as I love my first! This post is encouraging! :)

GoodWill said...

Not a parent myself - but I was the golden child in our family. I have a younger sister who grew up being compared to me. I was treated differently. I was more successful in school, I grew up, put myself though school, got married, etc. My sister struggled, graduated HS but not higher, and continues struggling to find out what she wants to do. My parents *always* compared her to me, and she resented that (rightfully so).

Anonymous said...

You described this perfectly! I couldn't agree more. There are seven kids in the family I grew up in. Our parents tried hard to be fair and equitable in some circumstances, and in others gave according to our needs (and sometimes wants). We were all also expected to learn how to work (no excuses allowed).

I have NEVER heard any of my siblings say that they thought our parents had a favorite. We are all very different, and hence had different needs. There is no doubt we are all loved.

My husband's family is a different story. They are all loved, but one of his siblings is always crying foul. Personally, I think it has more to do with said sibling's behavior, and the reactions it causes. It's sad, as his family is not as closely knit as they could be.

Our kids are also very different, and we try hard to give both what they need (time, attention, privileges, etc) without making the other feel slighted. It is a fine line to walk as a parent.

P.S., sometimes I too feel like the nut in our bunch, but I like it that way. ; )

DCHY said...

I liked the topping concept. I have two girls and my older is just like me in so many ways. Sometimes she TICKS me off bec of that. I know how she thinks and feels - I have been there. I just wish she would trust me and let go. As for my younger, she is just like her mother - stubborn and willful. DRIVES ME NUTS more than my older daughter. GRR! Will wait and see which turns out. Favorites? Nah. LOL

Anjeny said...

Great post, Wendy. You are describing my life right now. I hear this from my kids all the time right now esp. when they seem to think I'm assigning way too much chores for them. My second son, who is literally the middle child, is a very sensitive boy so I have to tread carefully when it comes to this topic. Although, I feel I've paid more attention and shown more affection to him, he seems to be adamant that I favor his older brother more than him.

Luckily, I can now say that their baby sister is my favorite and no one argues with that since she is clearly everyone's favorite too.

I do like how you put it...they are all different topics to your ice-cream...I feel that way with all of my kids(all seven of them) and I know each of them is different so therefore has different needs.

Anjeny said...

Crap...I meant to write "toppings" not "topics".

wendy said...

I forgot to mention, another thing that can get a little dicey is I have 10 grandkids
I KNOW, I am older then all of you, just call me mom
but I KNOW stuff, so there

anyway I have to be very careful on how I treat the grandkids...I think MY kids are more sensitive about that then they are between themselves as siblings.

I don't think...with any parent or grandparent who just REALLY LOVES ever means to make one feel less then the other.

and I think as the kids MATURE they come to understand that.

and if you experienced that as a child.....neglect/less sure you don't let that happen in your own family

me, mom

nitebyrd said...

My kids (girl, boy) each think that I like the other better. It's not that I like one or the other more but I like each one differently. Like you said, "different toppings". I think you have to love/like them equally but differently because they are different. Even if they were the same sex, they are individuals.

Even though they are different, they both can get on my last nerve equally well!

Wendy, TEN grandkids! YIKES! Bet you're using every topping in the shop! ;)

UP said...

I think I was the favorite of my Mother, she won't admit it, but I know it in my heart, and it works for me.

I do not have a favorite, but I do have one that annoys me less!