Tuesday, October 4, 2011


"Why Mom Liked You Best" was the cover story in last week's Time Magazine. I thought the article wasn't as good as it could have been, but the topic was fascinating.

Acknowledging favoritism is not something most parents do -- not most good parents, anyway. But I think most kids have their suspicions. There were times I thought I was the favorite and other times I thought Amanda was. Accusing your parents of playing favorites is a childhood rite of passage, like suspecting (but not really) that you're secretly adopted.

My parents always denied it, of course. And I don't think I spent much time belaboring the point because I believed their protests; there certainly was no pattern of favoritism toward either one of us. If anything, my family notoriously spends too much energy trying to treat everyone fairly, with scrupulously equivalent gifts, etc. Also, my parents' standard response (that they loved us in different ways, but equal amounts) made sense to me -- after all, I couldn't have picked a favorite parent.

But I have this one great friend who always tells it like it is. So when she admitted to having a favorite child, that threw me for a loop. And then, a few years later, another friend admitted the same thing! I couldn't wait to find out for myself.

The expression "child of my heart" has caught my ear in several of Lee Smith's short stories. I think this speaks to what my friends meant. Parents love all their children, but maybe, somehow, one or another is especially endeared.

Or maybe not. I don't know yet. And when I do, I won't put it in writing.


Kylie said...

So funny, Mark and I just saw this article and had this discussion! I can honestly say I love them differently but equally!! No favorites!!!! I hate the very idea of it! I won't judge but i do not subscribe.

Jason said...

I have wanted to read this article. Jason has accused me of favoring one of our girls, and at first I was astonished that he would say that and I denied it. I have to work hard to show them both love equally.