The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Dubious Honor Indeed

When I was growing up, my younger sister was the favorite in our family. She was much more like my mom and they got along swimmingly. I was not much like anyone in my family (and in fact, became the butt of an ongoing family joke because I was certain I was adopted for years) and often cast myself in the role of the outspoken rebel loner. Which doesn't usually do much to win favor with your parents. At least it didn't for me. They loved me, don't get me wrong. They just thought I was a handful and didn't quite understand me. It wasn't as if we were at each others' throats or anything. It certainly wasn't a contest.

Now, I'm not sure how much I think it affects anything to bear the coveted honor of "favorite". Probably a puppet-dictatorship at best. I mean, I don't think I would have cared overly if I had been (in my youth), though that could be sour grapes. But I don't think so. And, I'm not sure how it may have changed who I became as an adult. Emotionally, I want to say "not at all", but intellectually, I keep thinking it would have had to on some level. So, I'm not sure how big a deal it is to be the favorite at all.

It's not that my younger sister got more or better 'stuff' than I did, just that my Mom chose to spend more time with my sister. And, as I said, they had more in common and I was really okay with it. I had enough self-confidence that I wasn't insulted. (It's possible, that it could have had something to do with me wanting a Johnny Adventure Elephant Gun when I was 7 and spending more time riding bike and playing kickball, than wearing dresses and playing dolls. I'm not sure, though.)

My mother will tell you she never had a favorite. That she loved me and my sister just the same. My sister will howl with laughter at that. So will I. We both know. My mom did a lousy job hiding it.

I hope I've done a better one. I've tried not to have a favorite. I really have. And I adore each of my children individually. They are such different people and each of them has qualities that I find both endearing and intriguing. To not have any one of them in my life would be a tragedy of epic proportions, but, I suppose if I'm being honest, I may have fallen slightly short of my intent, here.

Because my youngest still requires so much "hands on" time right now, I suspect my older two girls would tell you that the "baby" is my favorite. I hope they would. That would mean that I've done a good job not making it obvious. The "baby" is my ex's favorite. She was the one that almost didn't make it and she sucked him in emotionally so much harder than the other two did. She's also his last chance for redemption as a parent. I love her dearly and would be lost without her. She can crack me up so easily.

But, she's not my favorite.

My middle daughter, like the baby, looks so much like my ex. But she has so much more of my personality. She's tenderhearted and generous. She's the one who keeps the order when I'm not around. And she's completely capable. She shares my love of cooking and I enjoy spending time putzing around the kitchen with her. She's so curious and always has questions about politics and religion and the world around her. And she greatly respects my opinions on most everything. The fact that I'm her "hero" doesn't make me feel bad, either.

But, she's not my favorite either. (Though, Highlander has made her his.)

I fell in love with my firstborn the moment I saw her. And while I've done the same thing with the other two, it was different the first time. She is the only one that had the common decency to come out looking like me. I mean, I'm the one puking my guts out for months, killing myself to birth them. The least they could do is LOOK like me. My oldest does. She rolls her eyes when it happens, but every time we are around family, someone always remarks about how much she looks like me when I was her age. And there are some aspects of our personality that are the same, but not alot.

She's so much more artistic than I could have ever hoped to be. We share a love of singing. Luckily, she does it so much better than I do. She's temperamental and has a sharp tongue when she wants to. She looks at the world with eyes that I used to have. Eyes that remind her that just because she may be seeing something one way, it doesn't mean that it can't change. That the potential isn't there. I still try to do that, but I've become more jaded and I realize that I have a much harder time doing it than I used to.

And so, she's my (undercover) favorite. Though, it's not like she gets some kind of bonus for it.

I'm pretty sure I treat each of them equally. Doling out rewards and punishments evenly, and appropriately, for all my girls. Believe me, you don't have to twist my arm to get me to spend time with them individually, either. They may be different people, but they're all loads of fun!!

Now, when they've asked...and they have...I give the standard "I don't have a favorite." line. Or "Chocolate Chip is my favorite. Get me a bowl, will you?". But I'm curious how some of you have handled it. Or if you even admit it to yourself, if you do have a favorite.

I would never tell my oldest that she's my favorite. Certainly, never tell her sisters that. In fact, I think Highlander is the only person I've ever told. I can trust you guys, though.

Can't I?

You wouldn't tell?


Blogger Highlander said...

Er... I have no favorites. That's official.

However, when you say 'favorites', I think it's important to understand that you don't mean you love any one of the kids more (or less) than the others. It may just be that there is one that you see more of yourself in. I suppose that's how I feel about SuperDependable Teen... but I don't love her any more than SuperAdorable Kid or Super Drama Teen... in fact, I couldn't possibly love anyone any more than I love you and the Super Kids. I just... see more of me in one of them, I guess. Strange though that is.

4/18/2006 1:57 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Definitely, Highlander (even though you're copping out...;)

I love them all the same and couldn't love any one of them anymore than I do already. It is definitely that I feel more similarity (which has some good things and some bad that come with that package)with one of my girls(btw, I wonder if me being the oldest in my family ties into this, too).

4/18/2006 3:50 PM  
Blogger FindingHeart said...

I was the third child and only boy. My oldest sister thinks I was the notso-closeted favorite, but I say it was just that I was the most behaved. :) Maybe her skipping out at night to drive 50 minutes to Houston, getting kicked out of college, smok'en dope, having sex on the beach, cuss'en at the parents, and hitting parents caused the parents to treat her just a bit differently. Ha! Anyway, being the third, I have few pictures of me as a baby, maybe one roll of film and got no academic encouragement. I swore not to do that to mine, and I regret I have. Her webpage is just not as nice as big brother's. It's unintentional, but it happens.

Have fun with the beautiful daughters. :)

4/18/2006 11:54 PM  
Blogger Carmichael said...

i found your post really interesting, because everyone assumes that my youngest is my favorite, because he, like your youngest, demands the most of my attention right now....and of course because i have relaxed as a parent over the years, everyone accuses me (gently or not so gently) of letting him "get away with murder"...i don't think that's true, i think i've just learned better how to pick my battles....

but anyone who knows me very well knows that if i do have a favorite, it's my "mongoose", my middle child. i admire his humor, his sense of self, his "happy to be who he is"...and in his case, i don't think i see so much of myself in him as so much of how i wish i had been at his age, and to some degree, how i wish i was now.

4/19/2006 8:15 AM  
Blogger Julia said...

It's easy for me. Only having one, she is my favorite.

I was sure my sister was the favorite in my family. She did everything right, and I never seemed to measure up. Plus, I was a bad kid.

Until she eloped at 18. I danced around for weeks knowing that the "good" kid had screwed up royally.

And you have 3 beautiful girls. Enjoy them.

4/19/2006 8:55 AM  
Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

My two brothers and I have been dancing around this for years. My parents bent over backwards to make everything equal and they still do. I thought we were all three loved equally, until my older brother (egged on by his ex) exploded all over my dad for not giving him as much as me and my younger brother. When objectively reviewed, (Can I truly be objective? I don't know) my older brother made certain choices in his life NOT to make money and NOT to pursue his dreams. And my dad was crushed with guilt.

All I truly know about this is that I know parents try as hard as they can. An at a certain age, it's up to you.

4/19/2006 11:15 AM  

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