Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Am I Your Favorite?
So we all know the correct answer to this right?
I used to think so but as with all things in this tell all culture - the rule on this one is bending.
Maybe you had the grandparent that secretly whispered in each of their grandchildren's ear - "You know you're my favorite."
Maybe you still think it was just you they said it to. Maybe you felt sure that your sibling was the favorite and you resent them for it. Maybe you 'knew' you were the favored one and reigned smugly in your knowledge.
Either way - I think the party line for parents, up until this point, has been - "I love you both the same."
Why have we now decided to shatter that illusion? I say illusion because I don't think we can love them just the same.
We may love them equally but surely the things about them that make them individuals we feel differently about.
I have always chosen to tell my girls what it is about them that I love because the standard response never felt authentic to me when I was a kid. The nine year old pleads with me to give her the edge because she was first. I feed her the line guaranteed to make her crazy "It's not possible for mommy to love one of you more - when you are a mom, you'll understand."
Perhaps her need for re-assurance comes from the fact that parent's are now publicly stating their preference. In an attempt not to judge - I can see how they get there. My sweet, cute, funny three year old is more appealing than a sassy, rude nine year old at several times during the day. Does it mean I favor the three year old in my affections - ask me ten times a day and you might get a different answer each time. If the nine year old asks she will get the same answer every time. In my view no good can come from allowing one child to feel favored over another - a large amount of harm can though.
I was once told a story by a mom who decided to make sure her son felt equally loved after his baby brother arrived. She fretted he might mistake all the extra care and attention a newborn needs as a sign his sibling was now favored. She snuggle up to him and sweetly told him that she loved him every bit as much as his brother. He burst into tears and sobbed "But I thought you loved me more!" Never prod where the ego may be reigning.
My point is this - in this increasing culture of speaking our deepest secrets - some things are never to be told.