The Favorite Child
There’s a running joke in my family that my son is my favorite child. Of course, I don’t play favorites. Well, maybe I’m lying––just a little. The truth is I love them both equally, but my relationship with each of them is different. After all, no two relationships are the same. I have lots of close friends whom I turn to for various reasons depending on what’s happening in my life. For example, I might call one of my besties to discuss family concerns, another I call when I’m looking for a light-hearted conversation, and a few others are great when I need a laugh. They all serve a purpose, and on some level, they’re all a reflection of me and how I identify myself.
But why my family thinks I favor my son is another story, a story I’ve told myself about what happens when a boy grows up and gets married. One day, in the future, he might fall in love with someone and want to spend the rest of his life with that person. When this happens, it will be my turn to take a step back. I will no longer be the number one lady in his world. It’s only natural for his spouse to replace me—because, let’s face it, if he’s choosing his momma over his partner, his marriage will probably suffer.
The well-known quote, “A son is a son till he takes a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life,” has been ringing in my ear since I the day I gave birth to my boy. It’s also the underlying reason why it may seem as though I favor him. To my detriment, I’ve managed to convince myself that I’m on borrowed time with my son and my role in his life will ultimately change––as it should.
My daughter makes me feel as though she’ll always have my back, no matter what. Along with mothering her, and of course, setting boundaries, I also consider her my perfect best friend. We share a lot in common: a similar sense of humor, hobbies, taste in food, and political views. Don’t get me wrong, like most mothers and daughters, we have our battles, but overall, we get along well and enjoy spending time together. And for that I am blessed.
Inside my children are two beautiful souls. If I only gave birth to boys, or only had girls, or non-binary offspring—I’d be grateful, no matter what. Mothering is one of the roles I came here to do. I have other important roles to play, but raising my children and creating an infinite, healthy bond with them takes precedence. Whatever their personalities, I need to honor who they are and continue to do what comes naturally to me: love and support them with all my heart.
Writing this blog has made me realize that holding on to this story about raising my son on this notion of borrowed time is wrong and that rather than focusing on how our relationship may or may not change in the future, I should instead be thankful for what I have right now: a teenage boy who likes to hang out and talk to me.
Humans are meant to grow at every stage, from our first breath to our last. The same evolution applies to our connections with one another. Placing value on every single relationship I have with friends and family members in the present moment will bring me greater joy than concerning myself with what will happen in the future––because only tomorrow knows what tomorrow will bring. So, from now on, this is the new and improved story I’ll tell myself: that every relationship I have today is precious, and that’s what makes each one of them special.