The following was syndicated from Quora for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at [email protected].
As a parent, do you like one kid more than the others?
“You always liked Daniel more than us! You loved him more and I know it,” my 17-year-old daughter screamed through her tears. Her brother had been dead a week, and this is what she thought.
I felt sick to my stomach.
Holding my head in my hands from my grief, I thought, “This can’t be happening.” On top of everything else, my daughter just told me that she believed she and her brother had not been loved as much as the brother who had just died.
Where did I go wrong? I gave them so much of my life, love, and time while their older brother got less of me because he spent weekends with his father.
Could it be true? Did I love my first son more?
Over the next 6 months, where on my best days I was able to crawl out of bed despite my numbing sadness, I contemplated continually the words my daughter screamed through her broken heart.
I went over as many memories as I could to see if I could attribute her exclamation towards me as true. I was more than confident and more than convinced each child received from me 100 percent of what I had each day. That’s 300 percent. I knew I couldn’t have done any more.
I contemplated continually the words my daughter screamed through her broken heart.
Yet, something was still nagging at me … was she right after all?
I knew when I had first fallen in love. It was when I first saw my firstborn’s face. It was just him and me as we fought our way to survive as a single mother and toddler.
As he grew, I watched him emerge into a limitless boy full of humor and curiosity, and I just loved him so much. His presence filled my life.
But with the births of my next 2 children, I fell in love with them too, each for their wonderful, unique qualities. They both enamored me as they grew into remarkable human beings.
But sometimes, yes, there is that one child that we just “get” more than the others, and it’s because, though unique, they are more similar in their personality to us. It does not mean we love and like them more. There just seems to be more of a connection in understanding them, and I think this is what she sensed. Also, in my grief, I could not stop thinking about him, and she viewed this as liking him more than the others.
My daughter is grown, and now I see how she was pleading through her tears that losing her sibling scared her. She now sees how special she and her brother are to me in ways that she is just learning to understand as she raises her own child — but I have always felt bad that she ever thought such a thing. I frankly don’t think she even remembers saying it … But I do.
Rebecca Baldwin has been a special needs educator for over 20 years. You can read more from Quora below: