By: Jill Pertler
Every mother has a favorite – or so the saying goes. Before becoming a mother myself, I wondered if this were true. A mother’s love is complete and unconditional, but not perfect. How can a mother love all her children equally?
The answer is simple: she can’t.
I am here today to come clean with each of my children. Ahem. Pause. Here goes.
My dearest first-born child: I have something important to tell you.
You suffered through rookie parents who jumped at your slightest hiccup. You ate only food approved by the Baby Bible and never drank from a bottle heated in the microwave. We worried about you getting too attached to your Nukie so we tried to limit your access to it. If it fell on the floor, we pulled out a clean one from our ever-present supply of sanitized Nukies.
You had new toys, new clothes and new parents and somehow survived with graceful resiliency. You were the first, and for that you are my favorite. Do not tell the others, but I have always loved you the best.
My wonderful second-born child: I have something important to tell you.
You entered the world and taught me the only thing better than loving one child is loving two. From you, I learned the true meaning of infinity; my feelings for your sister instantly doubled the moment you were born and I instinctively loved you to there and beyond.
You suffered from the mysterious condition known as colic. You cried every night for hours. Your dad and I rocked and held you. Nothing helped. We tried a Nukie. You batted it away. We picked it up from floor and brushed it off on a clean towel before giving it back, hoping you’d learn to use it. You never did.
When you weren’t distraught, you were joyful in the true sense of the word. You put us through the ringer and came out grinning from ear to ear. You embraced the world and had a curious sense about everything you saw and touched. Your charm won us over.
You are my first son. You showed me adversity makes you stronger, knowledge is power and love knows no bounds. For that, you are my favorite. Do not tell the others, but I have always loved you the best.
My sweet third-born child: I have something important to tell you.
We waited the longest for your arrival; you were a week overdue. I don’t think I would have survived that with the first two, but with you I experienced a newfound tranquility. I understood what was coming and knew you were worth waiting for.
We were patient waiting for you to join us, and you have been patient with us ever since. You suffered through two toddling siblings who made sure your needs didn’t always get met immediately. You had to wait for your milk, but did so with an overriding calmness. You woke from your naps not crying, but cooing, allowing me a moment to catch my breath before lifting you from the crib.
You had hand-me-down clothes, well-worn parents and maybe a Nukie, on a good day, if we could find it.
My third born, you are stuck in the middle. You are a middle child and our middle son. Still, you compare yourself to no one. You are unique and individual and I adore that about you. It makes you my favorite. Do not tell the others, but I have always loved you the best.
My darling fourth-born child: I have something important to tell you.
Like a good child, you arrived on your due date. Quickly. We were at the hospital nine minutes before you entered the world. Even then, you knew you had to act fast if you wanted to gain any attention in our family. You’ve been working your act ever since.
You suffered through a household filled with motion and commotion. We thought about buying you a Nukie, but let your brothers and sister entertain you instead. Your car seat was carted to games and concerts – all in the name of sibling support. This made you grow up faster and become world smart beyond your years. At moments, you are a 16-year-old in a 9-year-old’s body. At other times, you are my baby, lavishing me with hugs and kisses.
You are full of questions and observations. You are rambunctious and contemplative. You love critters and chaos. You are your own worst critic. You are our clown. You are kind and capable.
You joined a busy family and scrambled to find your place, even though we already had one reserved just for you. Sometimes you compare yourself to your siblings and think you may not be good enough. Don’t worry. You are more than good enough. You are perfect in my eyes and for that you are my favorite. Do not tell the others, but I have always loved you the best.
My children: I have shared my secret with you today. Any mother, if she is honest, admits to having a favorite. The same can be said for me. Now you know the truth; you are mine.
Last week’s column: Bickering, A love story 
Jill Pertler, award-winning syndicated columnist and author of “The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication” is collecting fans on Facebook on her Slices of Life page. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>; or visit her website at http://marketing-by-design.home.mchsi.com/. <http://marketing-by-design.home.mchsi.com/>