We had such a laugh in my kitchen this morning.
I asked my boys: “Who’s going to make their mommy a cup of coffee?”
To which the dad replied: ” Why don’t you ask your favourite?”
I was stumped.
This is a joke in my family because I’m always telling each of my boys, “You’re my favourite” privately and, more often than not, in front of or within earshot of the others. They don’t take me seriously.
The joke is that I couldn’t answer the question because I don’t have a favourite. I love all my boys equally, I realised. Sometimes I like one more than the other, of course, but I’ve always prayed that I’d never have to choose which of them to rescue from a burning building first!
A wise woman I knew a long time ago told me that “you love the child who needs you the most”. I’ve found that to be true. When they need you, you respond with extra attention, extra help, extra time – whatever it takes.
And sometimes, that can be a problem. Many of us have issues because of perceived inequalities in the way our parents treated us in relation to our other siblings. I certainly don’t mean that our perceptions do not reflect reality. It might be that you were treated differently because you were a girl. Your birth order might be responsible. As the eldest, you might have had to be the responsible one. You might have been the baby in the family, resented by your siblings because you were “spoilt”… Or maybe the middle child, neither here nor there…But that’s another story.
What amazes me is the limitless amount of love we have inside of us. I was so afraid that one of my twins would feel less loved than the other, that I think I doubled up on love for both of them! It seems that the heart is elastic – it gets bigger and can adjust to whatever amount of love you want to hold in it. It’s literally a muscle, and like other muscle tissue becomes stronger with use and stretches to include new people, new passions – whatever you love…
What matters, though, is while you might feel all this love for people, you might not be giving them the extra attention, the extra help, the extra time they need or want from you. They want too much. The give-and-take balance of love becomes more about their taking than your giving. Love then becomes more of an obligation and you feel resentful of their demands. I am guilty of this.
This lockdown has been a blessing for me in that it has rescued me from social obligations. I am “legally” allowed to stay at home and do nothing! I marvel at people who are fighting the restrictions and are desperate to get out. To a certain extent, it has allowed me to focus on those who are really important to me. I see my mother and speak to my close friends. I am spending more time with my husband and my children. I am doing things I love because I want to, not because I have to.
I am spending a lot of time with ME. Doing heart yoga to strengthen that muscle! I’m the favourite at the moment.
Love and light