So my dear friend Heather and I were talking a while back. She had her first baby in March, and during our visiting we were oohing and aahing over her newborn’s every little detail.
Newborns are so precious, aren’t they? Those first months of parenthood (and first few months with each child thereafter) are so special, intimate, and powerful. It was so gratifying to see my dear sister (because that’s what she is to me!) and friend be able to experience those wonderful moments, and it brought back so many memories.
Then she asked me about my four kiddos. She wondered, will she love her second as much as her first? Did I have a “favorite” child? She honestly wanted to know if I loved them differently or all the same, and how it all worked for me.
It was such a great question, a sweet, honest one, and one I wondered so often after I had my first baby. It was so neat to explain to her how I love them all the same, but in their own unique way, and how my relationships with each kid seem to ebb and flow during different parenting seasons. Sometimes they’re at an age where they need mama and become really close, and other times, they seem to take a leap in independence and how interesting it is to notice the differences in each child.
She got me thinking about the love and effort that goes into each relationship, and I was reminded of a woman I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know for a short period of time in my life, but whose life continues to impact those she touched, even after her passing.
My husband’s grandmother Paula was a very special lady. I met her when I married my husband, and got to enjoy visiting with her on several occasions before she passed away a few years later. She was a wonderful, fun grandmother, filled with love, laughter, and a freezer full of homemade cookies. I wasn’t even her granddaughter, and yet there was something so special about every encounter with her. She made me feel so special, like I had always been part of the family.
She made me feel so important, and my husband reminisces that she always made each grandchild feel as if they were her favorite. And I bet they will each tell you, they were her favorite! 😀
I want to possess so many qualities as the mother of my children, but if there was one thing I want my kids to believe, it is that they are each my favorite in their own special way. So the next day, after my conversation with Heather, I came to the conclusion that I did have a favorite child:
the one that was in front of me, right at that moment.
It was kind of a little experiment, and the results were so positive. I woke up and decided that my favorite child was the one I was interacting with at the moment. So when my 4 year old asked me the next morning what we were having for breakfast, instead of answering him casually, I knelt down to his level, looked him in the eyes, and connected with him as if he were my very favorite in all the world.
I saw his eyes light up. He gave me a fierce hug, and I watched him scurry back to his pile of legos. With each child, I tried my best to make them feel loved and favored, and saw their countenance brighten one by one. . . and mine did, too. Wow!
This connection had been missing in my parenting, I’m afraid. I make so many parenting mistakes everyday, but I really want to be a great mama, and I need things like this to help me.
I don’t always remember this, and yes my life is harried and crazy a lot of times, but I DO want to keep up this outlook, this mentality as much as I possibly can.
So if anyone ever asks who my favorite is, my hope is that each of my four children will promptly insist, “I am!”
Because they all are. <3
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